In an era when the survival of arts programs in public schools is under constant threat, promoting music education can be an uphill battle. With finite resources and exploding class sizes, educators across the country have learned to get creative in their quest to provide students with access to the tools they need.
For Richard Soos’ after-school technology program at Anne Darling elementary school in San Jose, Calif., getting creative meant introducing his group of musically inclined students to the Internet by helping them record their music and post it on MP3.com at www.mp3.com/schoolkids. After creating and selling three CDs of music performed by the group of third- to fifth-grade students and generating more than $400 through MP3.com’s Payback for Playback program, the Anne Darling technology club recently received an Internet Innovator Award from National Semiconductor Corp. The award provided $10,000 to Soos and $20,000 to Anne Darling Elementary School in recognition of the project.
“The kids love the technology,” Soos said. “They learned how to create sound files, which were then translated into MP3 files. They also learned how to upload their files from school to MP3.com’s computers in San Diego. They learned that they could do this anywhere in the world, from home, from the public library, from Mom and Dad’s work. They also love the fan mail they receive. They actually screamed in joy for five minutes the first time we got a note that their music would be played on an MP3.com Station!”
In an effort to give life to more success stories like the Anne Darling technology club, MP3.com introduced the Spirit 2000 program in January. A fund-raising program that unites technology and education, Spirit 2000 (www.mp3.com/spirit2000) is designed to help raise funds for extracurricular school programs by empowering students from music, drama and journalism departments to create, record and promote their school spirit and sell it on and offline. MP3.com provides all the necessary resources for schools to participate in the program, including online lesson plans and a custom web page for each school. Additionally, MP3.com assists in the marketing, promotion, manufacturing and distribution of finished multimedia CDs within the campaign.
“We created the Spirit 2000 campaign to inspire and support exactly the kind of innovation and resourcefulness shown by the students in the Anne Darling technology club,” said Chris Montgomery, vice president of channel development at MP3.com. “Spirit 2000 allows schools and other non-profit organizations to utilize our technology infrastructure to learn how to market and sell their work on the Internet while raising valuable funds for worthwhile activities.”