The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition was geared up to provide after-school music education this spring to middle schoolers in the Des Moines metro before social distancing measures changed those plans. Now, the DMMC is moving classes online and offering them for free to 6th- 12th grade students across the state.
Over the next seven to eight weeks, local music industry professionals will be leading classes in two different genres: hip-hop and rock. These classes will include a virtual classroom element housed on Edmodo.com and live video conferencing via Zoom.
The Hip-Hop 101 class will meet on Wednesdays at 3:45 p.m. beginning on April 15.
Dom Russell, a musician and rapper from Des Moines, will lead students in virtual instruction, alongside fellow hip-hop artist Courtnei “Colo Chanel” Caldwell and Anthony Maldonado, a professional music engineer.
“In Hip-Hop 101, we’re learning about the culture of hip-hop. We’re learning about production and history. A big thing that we’re going to do is learn beat creation. We’re going to be using some online drum apps for the kids to get used to, and then they can use those drum beats to start writing over. The hip-hop professionals and the teachers will be helping the students with creation,” Mayland said.
Rock Band 101
The Rock Band 101 class will meet on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. with the first class meeting on April 20.
Mayland will be teaming up with Ryan Stier of Des Moines band Extravision and other guest artists to educate students on music history and other elements of rock bands. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about different instruments that make up a band, including guitar, bass, drums, piano and synthesizers.
“We will probably have an instrument of the week, giving small assignments. And you don’t necessarily have to have instruments at home. At some point, we’re going to make that available, just not right now [during the outbreak],” Mayland said.
How to register
To sign up for the free classes, students will first need to make a profile on Edmodo.com and enter the secure class code listed on www.desmoinesmc.com/education.
Live video conferencing through Zoom is available through Zoom's website or their desktop or mobile app. Even if a student is unable to access video conferencing, they are still invited to participate in the free class.
“Through Zoom, we can have an even better one-on-one with the students who want to learn music. But if they don’t have Zoom or don’t have that capability, they’re still going to be in the class discussion. They can still comment and share their music, sharing files, creating beats, learning different instruments. So just because someone doesn’t have Zoom, they’re not going to miss out on some great content,” Mayland explained.
Parents are also invited to sign into the class to monitor the content or get a feel for what’s going on in their children’s virtual music education.
“I’ve always said that band practice happens when the band gets together. You’ve got to work on your own parts at home. So this is a great way to encourage practice and introduce new instruments to students,” Mayland said. “Give them some music and some tools to create.”
Questions about DMMC’s new online music classes can be directed to program coordinator Jordan Mayland. Email him here.