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Sacramento’s Dept. of Sound introduces Summer of Sound, a new virtual learning model for music production

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to push schools to not return this month, the reality of social distancing and learning is becoming a hot-button political issue. Considering virtual learning is now becoming more widely adopted, it seems that dance music’s technologically savvy generation has always been perfect for this format. ill.GatesProducer Dojo is one example of how successful online music production programs can be.

On March 27, San Francisco music education nonprofit Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) kicked off its first week of online-only programming. During a “Virtual Hang” video call, its community of women and gender non-conforming producers and audio engineers shared tips for staying productive in isolation. The program was aimed at producers is isolation who wanted to use their time in quarantine to be productive. The concept was widely popular in its first week, with more than 300 people from across the country tuned in to four total online sessions held by WAM, including a vinyl DJing workshop and “Home Studio 101” class.

Now, WAM’s founder and executive director, Terri Winston, is planning many more courses, in addition to a suite of interactive learning materials. The folks from Sacramento’s Dept. of Sound has taken the successful WAM model of the introductory program that provides the basics of music and podcast production and turned it into a special summertime treat called Summer of Sound. Through the use of online webinars, pre-recorded lessons, students learn the essentials of beat making, song structure and composition, audio recording, instrumentation & arrangement, podcast production, the music business, and more. 

“It’s not about competing with others. It’s about collaborating to get more people playing music,” Winston says. “It’ll have a long-term benefit on our businesses and brands: The more people play guitar, the more guitars you’re going to sell in the future.”

Thanks to a technology partnership with Soundtrap, A Spotify Company, they are able to adapt their in-person afterschool program and offer the entire series online. The Dept. of Sound is hoping that by bringing these classes online, music education will continue long into the future, even as we adapt to the changing landscape this summer and fall.

The company is also giving away an Epiphone guitar every day through its YouTube channel, part of its #HomeMadeMusic video series.

Learn more about the Dept. of Sound’s Summer of Sound Program here.