MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Starting Monday, Stax Music Academy (SMA) is expanding its virtual practice classes to all students across Memphis.
SMA has been holding virtual classes with academy students since Monday, from music lessons to theory, and ensemble practices. The academy will put sample music lessons on their website starting Monday so that all students can practice.
The school’s Executive Director Pat Mitchell Worley says music is the heartbeat of The Bluff City, and the pandemic is no match.
“Memphis music won’t stop,” she told WMC Action News 5 via Skype. “Whether it be the professionals or the professional musicians in training, music education will not stop because music can’t stop.”
As part of the school’s partnership with Justin Timberlake and Levi’s, the academy launched a weekly songwriting challenge to academy students. This week, the challenge was to talk about the impact of the pandemic.
White Station High Senior Kennedy Ray won this week’s challenge, with her song “Every Little Thing.”
She can be seen in three videos on one screen playing the keyboard, violin and singing. Some of the lyrics of her song demonstrate her feelings of hope amid the despair, “People are dying, people are crying, unsure of the next day. But the sun is still shining, and deep down, I know I can find a way.”
While all the Stax students have their instruments at home, Mitchell Worley says even students across Memphis who did not bring their instruments home can participate.
“It’s amazing how young people use their phones the same way we use laptops,” she explained. “When we did a survey with the students back in February, everyone had a phone and they had access to the internet through their phone. Most of them, even the ones with laptops, are using their phones for lessons.”
Next week’s singing challenge is for students to write a song about staying inside.