Music Grant

Whites Creek Student Musicians Demonstrate Impact of Hometown Music Tech Grant
Posted on 05/09/2023

There was excitement and a few nerves Monday morning as students in Jonathan Curri’s music production class at Whites Creek High School welcomed guests from the Save the Music Foundation, music industry leaders and MNPS leadership. On the agenda: showcasing equipment and plans for a recording studio made possible by the Hometown Music Tech grant while also fielding questions from students and sharing student-produced compositions.

At the end of the two-hour session, guests left impressed with the students’ talent and knowledge of music composition as well as the leadership and encouragement available to them at Whites Creek. Trisha Yearwood and students at Whites Creek High School

“The collaboration and camaraderie between students are really awesome to see,” Curri said. “Students now have access to professional tools they would be using out in the music industry, and they are really excited about this program.”

Among the special guests were Grammy-winning artist Trisha Yearwood; Leslie Fram, senior vice president of Music Strategy for CMT and a Save the Music Foundation board member; and Cindy Mabe, CEO and chair of Universal Music Group Nashville. They were joined by Save the Music representatives, MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle and other school and district leaders.

Yearwood, Fram and Mabe all shared their experiences and the paths they took to entering – and being successful in – different aspects of the music industry. Each offered encouragement and advice for pursuing a career in music, whether as a performer, composer or business executive, and encouraged students to listen to their inner voice about what is right for them, work hard and be willing to ask questions. Students in turn shared some of their work, including compositions for performance, video games and movie soundtracks.

“Anyone who believes in you is your champion,” Mabe told students. “Music comes from our roots and our cultures. Make music that speaks to you.”

Yearwood told students to listen to their gut, that even though they are young, they know what is right for them.

“You want it so badly,” she cautioned. “You may be tempted to listen to what others tell you to record, how to look, what to wear, but even when you are young, you know what feels right for you and what feels wrong. Listen to that.”

None of the three had access to the programs available to these students, and they encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity. Fram shared that her love of music began with listening to her radio, which in turn led her to wondering how radio worked and eventually to an internship and career that began in radio.

“There was nothing like this at my high school,” she said. “You are 10 steps ahead of everyone else.”


“I love that you can create anything”

Students also shared their excitement over the program and creating their own compositions.

“Music is a big part of me,” shared Janiyah, a 10th grader at Whites Creek. “I love that you can create anything – pieces you never thought you could.” Whites Creek music class

Her classmate, Briah, who also was selected to share her original composition, echoed her excitement.

“I love how creative you can be,” Briah said.

The Hometown Music Tech grant began in 2020 and is funded by an annual Hometown to Hometown fundraiser that brings Nashville’s songwriting and producing community together for a night of music to benefit new high school music technology programs nationwide. Each event recognizes “Champions of the Year” for their dedication to music education.

This year’s Hometown to Hometown event will be held in June, when Yearwood and Fram will be honored. Mabe will be honored at Save The Music’s “Music Saves” event in Los Angeles in November this year.

Dr. Battle said the financial and personal support of Save the Music and its members has had a tremendous impact over the years.

“We can’t do this alone,” she said. “It takes strategic partnerships and strong mentors to help our students see their futures. We are so fortunate to be in Nashville and to have these strong partnerships, and we are fortunate to have these special guests here today to visit our students.”

Save the Music has been supporting music education programs in Nashville since 1999. More than 50 schools have received grants from Save The Music, including instruments, supplies and music technology equipmentMusic class group shot at Whites Creek that ensure students in Music City have opportunity and equitable access to participate in music education programs from elementary through high school.
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