Sony Music Group has unveiled plans for the global expansion of its annual Beyond The Instrument initiative.
Now in its third year, the programme will include academic activations in the US and UK throughout February, providing international resources and access to music professionals and creatives.
Since its launch, Beyond The Instrument has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of instruments, equipment, software and curriculums as well as provided mentoring. It is on target to support nearly 10,000 students over the course of five years.
This year, Sony Music Group will work with non-profit partners Notes For Notes and Fender Play Foundation to bring music education to students through programmes that put instruments and learning tools directly in the classroom.
The programme will launch for the first time in the UK on Thursday, February 9, at Harris Academy Greenwich, a school in south east London, prior to the BRIT Awards. Joined by Sony Music artist and BRITs nominee Cat Burns, the students will participate in an active discussion about Burns’ career.
Fender Play Foundation will provide educational workshops and core music and sound equipment to participating students and teachers at Harris Academy. This partnership is the Foundation’s first in the UK.
On Wednesday, February 1 – ahead of the 65th Annual Grammy Awards – Beyond The Instrument will launch in Los Angeles, California at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles – Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse. Together with Sony Music artists, songwriters and composers, Boys & Girls Clubs youth members will join a discussion with KayCyy, Dixson, Adam Lukas (Bleeding Fingers Music) and James Everingham (Bleeding Fingers Music).
In addition, non-profit organisation Notes For Notes, with the support of SMG, will also open its largest recording studio in LA at the clubhouse providing club members with year-round free access to explore, create and record music. With access to guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ and production gear, as well as headphones and microphones donated by Sony Electronics, the digital recording studio for aspiring young artists will work alongside a producer to develop their skills as artists, producers, engineers and film/TV composers.
Developing opportunities to support under-resourced communities is part of the company’s overall global giving strategy
“It’s a privilege to continue Sony Music Group’s Beyond The Instrument programme this year and to partner with first-class community partners, artists and songwriters to inspire and enhance music education programmes,” said Towalame Austin, executive vice president, philanthropy and social impact, Sony Music Group. “Developing opportunities to support under-resourced communities – now to also include the UK – is part of the company’s overall global giving strategy and I look forward to seeing what these students create in the future and on their paths to becoming incredible music professionals.”
"We are so thrilled to be expanding in Los Angeles in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA,” said Phil Gilley, Notes for Notes co-founder/CEO. “This studio marks our 26th and first in partnership with a major music company, Sony Music Group, who have proven with their support how dedicated they are to developing the next generation of artists."
“Through the Fender Play Foundation, we've seen firsthand how providing access to instruments and music education can truly transform lives,” said Aarash Darroodi, FMIC EVP, general counsel and president for Fender Play Foundation. “We're thrilled to join forces with Sony Music Group to further our mission and give even more young people the opportunity to learn and express themselves through music, fostering connection and community around the world.”
Launched in 2021, the Beyond The Instrument programme grant aims to accelerate equity and access to cutting-edge music technology education for students in high-need schools, located in historically excluded communities.
To date, the programme has been active in California, Tennessee and Florida. The 2022-2023 programme is designed to collaborate with community partners, artists, and songwriters to enhance music education programmes on a global scale.