Music and community have always been sources of hope and inspiration during trying times, and this is especially so for those who dedicate their time to the craft of music production. Stax Music Academy knows that the unprecedented circumstances of 2020 have brought about uncertainty in their students’ lives, but they are launching a campaign to ensure that their passion for music—and access to music education—continues, uninterrupted.
Starting today, Stax Music Academy is raising $50,000 to pay tuition for its students and families that continue to suffer the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. And to celebrate the launch of the campaign, T-Mobile has agreed to match every donation made this week, up to $5,000.
“No matter what is going on in my personal or home life or what I am having to deal with emotionally, as long as I am making music, learning music, practicing music, or playing and performing music, I am so much happier and not so worried about all those other things,” said Johnathon Lee, longtime Stax Music Academy student and now alumnus.
Because most Stax students come from economically challenged neighborhoods, their families have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, causing many to doubt whether they’ll be able to continue participating or not. The #MusicMustContinue campaign is raising $50,000 to close the tuition gap so that no child has to give up their chance this year to receive an intensive music education designed to prepare them for music scholarships to college and jobs in the music business.
Each year, it costs Stax Music Academy $9,000 per student to provide the teachers, instruments, instruction, wellness services and leadership training that make this program so exceptional. No student ever pays more than $1,000, and 80% of students pay as little as $200 thanks to need-based scholarships provided by Stax Music Academy.
This scholarship opportunity will reach far beyond the assistance and instruction that these 5th-12th grade students receive this academic year. Thanks to this financial aid, plus the training and the support they receive from Stax Music Academy, these students are not only set up for collegiate success, but they go on to spread the rich legacy of Stax Records and its artists who created “The Memphis Sound” that has been at the center of many moments throughout history—encouraging perseverance, tenacity, and artistry be used as tools to rise up amidst periods of doubt.
“No matter what is going on in my personal or home life or what I am having to deal with emotionally, as long as I am making music, learning music, practicing music, or playing and performing music, I am so much happier and not so worried about all those other things.
Learning to play and perform music helps a child succeed in their academic work and improves their social and emotional learning. At a time when kids need this creative outlet more than ever, schools are having to cancel arts programs, delay school bands and other extracurricular programs. Stax Music Academy is responding to this situation by taking some of its music instruction online and making it available for free to students throughout Shelby County regardless of what school they attend. After all, the music must continue.