The Stax Music Academy inspires young people and enhances their academic, cognitive, performance, and leadership skills by utilizing music with an intense focus on the rich legacy and tradition of Stax Records.
Stax Music Academy exists to nurture and present the next generation of great Soul Communicators from the greater Soulsville region, holistically equipping them to excel and to impact the world through the universal language of music.
Memphis has given the world some of its most memorable melodies. But whether it’s blues, gospel, rock-and-roll, or R&B, the one thing Memphis music has always had is plenty of is soul.
At Stax Music Academy (SMA), a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, we are helping instill soul in the next generation of Memphis artists. SMA is an after school and summer music institute located adjacent to the home of the legendary ’60s-’70s soul record label Stax Records, now the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Founded in 2000, SMA exists to continue the legacy of Stax by nurturing the musicians of tomorrow.
Stax Music Academy students take classes in music theory, preparing them to read music with proficiency, read and perform all twelve major and minor scales, and apply harmonic analysis to a musical selection. Students are required to participate in moderated juries at the end of each semester that tests both their performance acumen and their western theoretical grasp of music. Students learn the art of storytelling and composition to create their own music plus music business to assure each young artist understands how to make a living in music. Success is defined individually for each student,
Our programs teach more than notes, however. Stax Music Academy helps students enhance their character by teaching skills in leadership, teamwork, and discipline. The end goal is to prepare graduates for post-primary success regardless of path, whether it be attending college or entering the music workforce.
Since its founding, Stax Music Academy has graduated more than 4,000 students. Since 2008, every high school senior has been accepted to a college or university, many on full scholarships. Academy alumni can be heard around the world, teaching, performing, recording, and more at the highest levels of the music industry.