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H2O Digital Arts is a mobile digital music & video production program that teaches youth the skills needed to create and publish original songs working with a resident artist mentor. It is a project-based program where participants work collaboratively to execute a sequence of tasks that bring their creative ideas together in a tangible product that can be experienced by the community. H2O Digital Arts aims to make music education accessible to youth that may not otherwise have the opportunity by bringing a self-contained mobile studio setup to a site to facilitate the experience. What makes our program unique is that our programming partners do not need to invest in a studio to have a studio experience. We bring everything needed to facilitate the program. All we need is a quiet classroom, table, chairs, and access to an electrical outlet! We provide the computer, the digital instruments, microphones, cameras, and software to execute a high-quality production starring the students, giving them a platform for creative expression and the opportunity to build positive relationships with their peers through a shared achievement. H2O Digital Arts experience has 6 phases, Music Fundamentals, Digital Beat Production, Listening & Songwriting Session, Studio Recording, Video Shoot, and Final Presentation.


Participants will be introduced to basic music symbols, terminology, and concepts including but not limited to, the staff, treble clef, bass clef, the music alphabet, duration, tempo, scale, chords, and rhythm. Participants will be introduced to the note array on a piano and beat pad, perform hands-on drills to test their ability to play on tempo to a metronome. Participants will learn to repeat rhythmic and melodic patterns, which is the foundational skill on which they will build musical sequences that lead to song creation. Participants will learn how to use digital production software, how to access instrument sounds and initialize recording sequences.


Participants will build upon their foundational skills in music to create a catalog of different compositions in the mobile music studio. Participants will be working collaboratively to decide what musical motifs they would like to explore with assistance from the artist-in-residence. Participants will explore different sounds to find the ones that fit their vision of the sound their music will embody. Once the participants have completed a satisfactory catalog of compositions for variety, they will move on to the next phase of the program, which is to listen, critique and evaluate what they have made.


Participants will have a listening session where they will review all the music they produced and conduct a feedback session, where they will work to narrow down the scope of their focus for the project. The participants will vote as a group which tracks will make the cut for their final project. Once the final track has been selected, they will then move on to brainstorming ideas for a song concept and how they will approach the songwriting process. The artist in residence will help the students develop a strategy for writing lyrics and task the participants to work in small groups to develop the song structure. Participants will delegate tasks and take on lead roles by learning and practicing their parts in the song to audition and be selected to record in the studio to begin laying vocals.


Participants at this point will have rehearsed, been auditioned, and prepped to begin vocal recording. The artist-in-residence will be their studio engineer and vocal coach to guide the participants through the process of finding their true voice when delivering their lyrics on the microphone. Participants will learn to fine tune the technical aspects of vocal recording, focusing on strengthening their vocal tone, diction, and emotion to give the best experience and clarity for the listeners. During this process, participants will learn to use recording software and how to navigate the transport functions and basic editing skills to arrange the sequence of events from the beginning of the song to the end. Participants will learn the repetitive nature of recording, doing multiple takes to get things ‘just right,’ receiving supportive critiques on how to improve for optimal quality. Once the song has been completed, the participants will move on to the video making phase of their project.


Now that the song has been completed, the focus will then shift toward how the participants will create a visual representation of the song they have recorded. This will involve a planning session, where the participants will plan out their scenes, including locations and action sequences. The students will also have the option of utilizing a green screen for certain projects to wider expand their creative visions. The artist-in-residence will assist them in executing their performances and coach them how to be comfortable on camera to deliver a dynamic performance that will be engaging to the audience. Participants will again do many takes of the same performance sequences and fine tune their delivery. Support roles will be key during this process, as the lead performers will have co-stars that will appear in scenes with them to provide background movements and dancing sequences, if needed. Once filming wraps, the footage will then be reviewed and prepared for post-production.


The final phase of the project is the debut presentation of their music video project! The participants will have viewing party/session where they will recap their experience in H2O Digital Arts. The artist-in-residence will conduct a feedback session where the students will be able to recall and communicate what they did in each phase of the program, what tasks they took on, what challenged them, and what they enjoyed the most about the experience. The viewing party can be as simple or elaborate as situations can accommodate (party favors, food, drinks, and snacks), but having their video shown on a big screen always makes a great impact, as the students will be able to show everyone what they accomplished in a way where everyone will take notice. Following the video presentation there will be the option available to publicly publish the video to the internet and social media at the discretion of the agency. Students can also download the final song to take with them on their personal devices.

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