The Story Behind the Make A Joyful Noize Curriculum
Soul Science Lab is a growing Brooklyn-based company of artists, educators, and youth advocates that specialize in music and multimedia production, live performance, and arts education. They are dedicated to creating a celebrated body of work and cultivating the next generation of iconic artists. Co-founders Chen Lo (emcee, songwriter, and creative director) and Asante Amin (multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer) share their story on finding creative purpose during a pandemic.
August 2020: no matter your profession, you likely spent many hours on a computer or smart device due to the pandemic. As the co-founders of Soul Science Lab, we were no different. A year rich with promise – full of in-person touring, educational workshops, and performances – all came to a screeching halt. We had to figure out how to pivot if we were to remain committed to our musical and social mission. Prior to the pandemic, we were commissioned by Carnegie Hall to create Make A Joyful Noize, a one-time live performance of original songs that focused on joy through a musical and visual presentation. Due to COVID-19, this show became indefinitely postponed as 2020 progressed. Our minds raced as we asked ourselves, “How can Make a Joyful Noize still exist in a virtual context?” Our charge, after all, is to support young people to center joy and purpose in their creativity. It was needed now more than ever! After some reflection, a new vision emerged. We re-imagined the project as a digital offering complete with a visual album, documentary, and curriculum that would teach the technical skills needed for songwriting and music production.
“I do a Hamilton/hip-hop unit with my 8th graders which results in them writing a final piece on their own. Seeing Soul Science Lab’s curriculum and how they scaffold that project, I think that I can make changes to my unit to make it even more engaging for my students!” – Erin Bonner
“I am excited to be vulnerable with my students and I hope to connect to the musical heritage of our community and help the students be deliberate about creating the school community they desire.” – Robin Lavinder, Lee M. Waid Elementary School, Rocky Mount, VA
While a live event would have been epic, we also felt passionate about the opportunity to create a musical legacy. How could students record their creations so they could keep them forever? We searched for effective tools that could complement and enhance this curriculum and Soundtrap for Education became the easy frontrunner. The Soundtrap studio is accessible to musicians and creators to execute basic audio production and easily complete assignments. The studio also maximizes collaboration with its built-in collaboration feature, which is a key component of the Make a Joyful Noize curriculum. Not only could students easily work with each other, but teachers could assess student progress and provide real-time feedback. A partnership between Soundtrap and Soul Science Lab was born! We’re excited to work together to provide cutting-edge music creation resources for students and educators.
About Make A Joyful Noize (MAJN) Curriculum & Workbook
Soul Science Lab, Carnegie Hall, and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) collaborated to produce the Make a Joyful Noize Curriculum. This free music production and songwriting course is based on their Carnegie Hall commissioned project of the same name. MAJN is a music and multimedia celebration of Black Joy as a healing force of transformation. Soul Science Lab artists Chen Lo and Asante Amin give students a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of their musical world. In the MAJN learning experience, students are asked to analyze different ways musical artists respond to the world around them. Then, students use that as a catalyst to explore what brings them joy in their culture and creative process. Students engage with Soul Science Lab’s music, lyrics, and inspiration, but will also be challenged to forge their own identities as creators. The MAJN curriculum includes 10 video tutorials that:
- use songs from MAJN to teach songwriting and music production skills
- explore themes of identity, culture, joy, empathy, resilience, and collaboration
- use Soundtrap’s online production tools
Learn more in the newly released The Make A Joyful Noize Workbook and join us on October 5, 2021, for a community-driven workshop.