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By Mike Ferrians
The Times 

Music Studio Receives an Upgrade

Music Studio Receives an Upgrade Move over, Beethoven


November 18, 2021

Music Studio Receives an Upgrade

Move over, Beethoven

The older you get, the faster time flies. And I’m a firm believer in the notion that whatever you’re doing now is just training for what you will be doing later, especially if you have no idea what that is. It’s just that I don’t remember anything going by faster than the last ten months. I feel younger all the time.

The independent music and sound studio I joined in January became an official program of Walla Walla YMCA in September. My partner in crime, Rodney Outlaw, accepted the position of Youth Engagement Director at Walla Walla’s YMCA. This allows him to work on youth outreach while bringing the music studio under that umbrella of the Y. Since the YMCA is the largest corporate non-profit in the USA (and corporations love their branding), this change necessitated a name change for the studio: what was Walla Walla Music Organization is now “Y-Tunes.”

Outlaw’s change of post necessitated my shift to the supervisor of Y-Tunes under Outlaw’s direction. As a result, I am part of an expanding team of program workers and coordinators who are building a more effective and diverse menu of programs aimed at the overall growth, development, and well-being of our community’s young people.

This is exciting stuff since I don’t enjoy acting my age anyway. I am more challenged, more inspired, and much goofier when I hang around young people.

Our middle and high school students are in the process of writing and mixing original instrumental compositions as a choreography resource for the Walla Walla Dance Co (WWDCo), with whom we will be sharing the GESA Powerhouse Theater stage for a December 17 concert. There you will see and hear both live student performances and audio mixes danced to by WWDCo students. Visual arts will be projected during performances for what will be a fun community art show for the holidays.

Although community recording projects for the Touchet Valley have been on hold due to the pandemic situation, we continue to teach Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) classes for College Place school district. We have been asked to be the music program for Lincoln High School this year. Students are now learning about music theory and notation.

Meanwhile, Outlaw has been reaching out to the homeschooling community, which significantly increased during the pandemic. We have begun discussions with homeschool parents, offering daytime classes and activities for children of all ages and backgrounds in music, fitness, culinary arts, computer lab, and gaming. You will soon begin to see these programs featured at Meanwhile, you are encouraged to call the YMCA for information on registering for winter classes starting in January. The studio program remains free of charge to local youth, but there are enrollment limits.

In the studio, we aim to help empower youth to learn and grow in marketable skills – exploring, crafting, recording, arranging, editing, mixing, performing their own music, and collaborating with others. Why? Because music, apart from being amazingly groovy, is key to brain development and growth. And because music is an honorable occupation. And because young people need belonging, guidance, opportunity, and a voice. And because healing for the world won’t come from politics or medicine, it will come from the artists, poets, music-makers, and dancers of the world.

If I do say so, myself.


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