Local Musicians Teach Staten Island Teens How to Record Songs

By Nicholas Rizzi on March 6, 2014 9:41am 

 Local musicians Nani Ferreira-Matthews, Thomas Bones and Phoebe Blues will host a series of workshops for Staten Island teens teaching them how to write and record their own songs.
Local musicians Nani Ferreira-Matthews, Thomas Bones and Phoebe Blues will host a series of workshops for Staten Island teens teaching them how to write and record their own songs.
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Photo courtesy of Nani Ferreira-Matthews

ST. GEORGE — A new workshop will let Staten Island teens tryout on a mixing board.

A trio of local musicians will run the Staten Island Music Workshop starting this month, teaching teens how to write and record their own songs and release them online.

"It's going to be very all inclusive, recording and songwriting," said Nani Ferreira-Mathews, one of the organizers of the workshops.

"It's really open to anyone. You don't need to have music experience."

The eight-week workshop will spilt the estimated 10-15 students into four groups and teach them how to arrange a song starting with drums, bass and harmony.

The students will then learn how to record each part of a song, overdub it and finalize the track on a mobile studio they'll set up at the Deep Tanks recording space in St. George.

"We're going to break it up into how you would record a song," Ferreira-Matthews said. "Do the drums first, the harmony and melody and then the overdubbing."

At the end, the group will host a free event at the space to showcase the songs to the community and the finished track will be uploaded to Bandcamp and potentially iTunes, depending on the number of songs they produce, Ferreira-Matthews said.

The workshop was dreamed up by Ferreira-Matthews, Thomas Bones and Phoebe Blues. They wanted to do music workshops in the borough and decided to come together and showcase their specific expertise — songwriting, recording and lyrics.

"It kind of turned into this based on our interests," Ferreira-Matthews said. "It's fulfilling all of our desires, with community involvement."

Aside from songwriting and using the equipment, workshops will also go over tools and programs teens could use to make home recordings.

The workshop was funded partially by a grant from Staten Island Arts. It chose Staten Island teens because it's an underserved community in the borough, Ferreira-Matthews said

Few, if any, schools offer experience behind a mixing board and the only way teens can pursue music engineering is in college or outside courses, which are costly, Ferreira-Matthews said.

"It's a really nice thing to give the community before they go into the 'real world,'" she said. "They'll know if they're interested in recording before they spend thousands of dollars to see if they're interested."

The workshops will be on a sliding scale tuition from $35 to $50, but Ferreira-Matthews said they'd be able to give free admittance to some.

The first workshop will start on March 15 and they will run every Saturday until May 3. If it goes well, the trio plans to continue them and open them up to other people who want to learn how to record.

"We got a lot of responses from people who are not in high school, even a high school teacher tried to get in," she said.

"It has the potential to be a very successful program. After we're done with teenagers, we'd love to open it up to other demographics."

Interested students can register for the workshops by visting the group's website and can email simusicworkshops@gmail.com for more information or questions.

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