The Hitmakers

The Hitmakers

At North Miami Senior High School, a talented crew of music producers is on the rise. They’re called The Hitmakers, and under the leadership of mentor Wyatt Meagher, they’re learning how to create original beats that are sure to be the next big thing.   “These guys have been making new beats almost every class for a little while now,” Wyatt said. “The beats all start with drums loops for the most part. Then they build on and morph their ideas, and add in other instruments.”   The students, who are juniors and seniors at North Miami, have learned to use Ableton Live software to create their beats. “Ableton Live is a DAW (digital audio workstation) that is used to record and produce music, and also for live performances,” explained Wyatt. “Some of the biggest names in the industry rely on it for their live shows, like Drake, Kanye and Daft Punk. It’s one of the most used softwares in the industry.”   Wyatt created a video to celebrate his students’ accomplishments over the past semester. In the video, you can see the students using equipment called Push to produce their beats. “Ableton also makes Push, which are the controllers with all the buttons and lights that you see the kids using [in the video],” Wyatt said. “This is an instrument/controller that allows you to have an enormous amount of functionality, without even having to touch the computer.”   With professional industry software and equipment at their fingertips, The Hitmakers are well on their way to a successful path in music production. Harvey (“Lamination”), Sarah (“Dyenamine”), Darlens (“DBO Beats”),...
2018 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report on Guitars Over Guns Guitars Over Guns Organization is grateful for the tremendous individual and institutional support during 2018. Founded in 2008 by Dr. Chad Bernstein, Guitars Over Guns has employed over 60 professional artists and musicians to provide positive outlets of expression for over 3,000 students throughout under-resourced neighborhoods in Miami and Chicago, establishing its reputation as a leader in arts education and mentorship. By providing high-quality music instruction, community-based performance opportunities, and meaningful relationships between professional musicians and youth, Guitars Over Guns is on a mission to cultivate the next generation of empowered students, artists, and local leaders. Highlights of the 2017 – 2018 school year Led by 40 professional musician mentors, Guitars Over Guns provided mentorship for more than 700 youth in 24 unique programs at 16 school and community sites during the 2017 – 2018 school year. Affirming its commitment to community engagement as well as building camaraderie and teamwork among students, the youth bands performed in 80 community performances, 60 in Miami and 20 in Chicago. For the second year, Miami held a graduation at Marlins Park on May 29, 2018 featuring live performances with hundreds of youth, mentors, and beloved family members celebrating their accomplishments. New Partnerships The Children’s Trust in Miami awarded Guitars Over Guns with its first million-dollar grant ($1.5M total; $300,000/year for five years). Social Venture Partners (SVP) Miami welcomed the organization as a Member of their 2017 Investee Cohort, awarding them with $100,000 plus pro-bono expert support from SVP’s partners over a 3-year period. Repair the World (RTW) began providing coordination as well as ongoing support...
Off to the Races

Off to the Races

Every Wednesday evening, something special takes place. Our newest music crew, the Guitars Over Guns A Cappella Ensemble, gathers for rehearsal. Launched on January 9th by mentor Michelle Forman, the A Cappella Ensemble offers students a space where their vocal talents can shine. “I wanted to offer a next-level opportunity and a platform for advanced vocalists to explore their potential in ways they do not get to explore in a regular Guitars Over Guns session,” Michelle said. The A Cappella program is geared toward advanced and experienced vocalists who wish to further their vocal development in a more structured, focused and professional environment, all while building a repertoire of performance-ready tunes. Ranging across ages and backgrounds, the group includes students currently enrolled in our after-school programs at North Miami and Georgia Jones-Ayers middle schools, as well as our alumni who now attend North Miami and Miami Northwestern high schools. Additionally, Michelle looks forward to welcoming members from outside of the Guitars Over Guns program. For our alumni joining this ensemble, the opportunity is extra meaningful. “Some of these kids have been with me and with Guitars Over Guns for four years or more. Britney has been with us for over seven years,” Michelle stated. “Having them by my side as we embark on a brand-new journey together is a testament to the impact our organization has had on our kids.” The group may be brand-new, but they have big aspirations. First up? Just a little gig called… the Miami Marathon. After heading to the starting line on January 27th to perform the Star Spangled Banner, it’s off to the...
Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Our students at Citrus Grove Middle School gave their Guitars Over Guns experience the Hollywood treatment when they filmed, directed and starred in their very own documentary movie!  The 30 students wanted to show the world a behind-the-scenes peek at their day-to-day experiences in our program at Citrus Grove, from the first day of the 2018-19 school year through the end of their first semester. From interviews and vox pops, to snippets of live performances, to scenes of a fun birthday celebration and a very special music “karate belt” ceremony, the students captured the excitement, challenges and humor of life as a middle school musician. Shoutout to mentors Zander Ambrose, Kim Cameron, Alejandro Elizondo, Leo Mayorga and Russ Speigel for letting these kids’ creativity take them to Hollywood and back! Did somebody say Oscar buzz? Watch Citrus Grove: THE MOVIE – Parts I & II...