Ceasar Valenzuela

Notes for Notes, a local non-profit music education organization, is opening another set of studio doors – and expanding opportunities in music production for Santa Barbara youths – with a new facility scheduled to open at the downtown Boys and Girls Club in early October of this year.

The Music Box’s drop-in music recording studio first opened at the Twelve35 Teen Center in March of 2007 through a partnership with Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department. The second location at the Boys and Girls Club will make the Music Box available to a broader age range, as well as provide a larger space, which will be able to accommodate roughly three times the musicians the current location can hold. The project is largely made possible by support from the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation’s Education Outreach Program and the Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club.

There is plenty of creative talent bottled up inside the youths of Santa Barbara, but a lot of teens don’t have the exposure or the means to get involved in music making. That’s where Notes for Notes fills the educational void – by providing a positive and productive place for teens to spend their afternoons. “Three hours in the center is three hours that they aren’t out getting into trouble,” said Philip Gilley, the organization’s co-founder and executive director. “And the bottom line is that they are cranking out a lot of great music from the Music Box.”

Luis Hernandez

As mentors in the Big Brother program, guitarists Philip Gilley and Daniel DeAngelis realized the power music had to connect them with their Little Brothers. Without access to a drum set of their own, Gilley and his Little Brother found themselves practicing on the demo set in a music shop. This sparked the idea for DeAngelis and Gilley to establish a place where kids would be able to bang around on a drum set or experiment with turntable equipment.

The pair then embarked on the project of founding the music mentorship program Notes for Notes, which led to the opening of the Music Box, a friendly environment that hosts music production and collaborations between local celebrities and local youths. “First and foremost, the center teaches a passion for music,” said Gilley. The Music Box goes through stacks of CDs so that proud teens can take the work they produce home to share with friends and family.

But the programs offered at the Music Box emanate further than the four walls of the recording studio. With the rise of gang violence in the community, Gilley and DeAngelis find an even bigger purpose in their work. “In the 16 months since we opened the Music Box, I’ve witnessed major positive developments in the personal responsibility, social skills, and work ethic of the kids who participate,” said DeAngelis, fellow co-founder and program director.

The Music Box builds relationships through music so that kids can walk off the street and into the recording studio. “Since opening the first Music Box at 1235, we’ve had a steady stream of kids come in off the street, and literally just jump into writing, performing, and recording their own songs,” explained Gilley. Now that the program is growing and expanding to this new location, Gilley and DeAngelis hope to bring music education to even more students in Santa Barbara.


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