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At our 20th Anniversary Gala last fall, Steve Aoki and DJ Khaled announced the creation of our Music Technology Grant. The pilot program supports recording and production – including DJ’ing, beat making, songwriting, and audio engineering – to develop students’ creative and technical talents. The pilot will also provide professional development support for teachers, provided by Consortium for Innovation and Transformation in Music Education at Arizona State University.

Save The Music provides program support, including professional development, monitoring, research & measurement to grantee schools for a 10-year period. The J Dilla Music Tech Grant also includes 45 hours of professional development per semester with Arizona State University’s (@ASU) Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (@ASUHIDA), School of Music, and Music Education Program (@ASUMusicEd). This includes a semester of support from the Consortium for Innovation and Transformation in Music Education in answering questions and developing resources for teachers. Thank you to Dr. Evan Tobias (@etobias_musiced) for helping us create the curriculum.

Since the announcement, the response from artists, industry, and brand partners has been incredibly positive, and so we’re happy to announce the delivery of the first four grants to the schools in the pilot program:

South Philadelphia High School, Philadelphia, PA, sponsored by Toyota

Hialeah Senior High School, Miami, FL sponsored by Burger King

High School for Public Service, Brooklyn, NY sponsored by IOMAXIS

Barringer High School, Newark, NJ, sponsored by Amazon and local corporate and foundation supporters

Music technology grant program

“I’m thrilled that this grant has become a reality through Save The Music,” said Steve Aoki. “Programs like this are very personal and important to me, there is so much value in being able to give kids the tools and technology they need to transform and progress the future of music. I’m eager to see what this next generation can do and am proud to be able to help open doors in support of the new wave of music innovators and legends.”

VH1 Save The Music 20th Anniversary

“I’m proud to be part of the music technology program with VH1 to give students the best music education there is,” said DJ Khaled. “We are opening doors for the new generation of kids and for future of music. That’s a major key!”

20th Anniversary Celebration

“With over 20 years of restoring music programs in public schools, VH1 Save The Music continues to drive toward equal access to music education for students all across the country. The Music Technology Grant uses a tech-focused approach to open new paths to equity and help kids develop the creativity and confidence they need to navigate the world,” said Henry Donahue, STM Executive Director.

The pilot program would not have been possible without the generous contributions from STM’s brand partners including Amazon, Burger King, Toyota, and IOMAXIS. Additionally, each grant is supported by contributions from electronic music industry leaders, with technology acquisition supported by Beatport and its Beats in School campaign. Contributing partners include Ableton, Akai, Izotope, M-Audio, MOOG, Novation, Pioneer DJ, Reverb.com, Roland, Serato, Shure Incorporated, Soundtrap, SUBPAC, and Taylor Guitars.

“As the worldwide hub for electronic music, Beatport has long supported the growth of the independent creator ecosystem. We are thrilled to work with VH1 Save The Music and our generous technology partners on the Music Technology Grant. We look forward to continuing our support of the talented young creators in these schools and beyond,” said Robb McDaniels, CEO of Beatport.

The grant was renamed after J Dilla. J Dilla is to rhythm what John Coltrane is to harmony and Louis Armstrong is to melody. He is the first and only hip-hop producer ever to influence and affect the way traditional musicians play their instruments. By combining straight and swung elements in his productions, J Dilla cultivated sonic landscapes that explored the conflict between the two, and the new and exciting emotional reactions generated by this innovative approach. An inspiration to a whole new generation of young beat makers, musicians, and artists – in the words of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: “J Dilla is the producer’s producer’s producer.” That’s why we were excited to launch the J Dilla Music Tech Grant focused on delivering the future of music learning through innovative tech tools and curriculum. J Dilla ultimately, directly or indirectly, inspired everyone doing it now so this grant is to honor his legacy and inspire the next generation of music icons.