The power of hip-hop and music to help develop young minds is well-documented, and one group of high schoolers got the ultimate practical demonstration of that concept this week. Hip-hop legend Wyclef Jean joined Toyota and VH1 Save The Music Foundation to present a $50,000 Music Technology Grant to South Philadelphia High School Wednesday at school-wide assembly the included a music workshop and jam session. The school also received a visit from the Philadelphia 76ers Dunk Squad, who hyped up the crowd at the assembly before Wyclef was introduced.
Wyclef also brought along a pair of artists that he has been working with, Jazzy Amra and Jeremy Torres, for a short performance before the workshop. The workshop found Wyclef teaching the students how to make beats using some of the equipment that had been donated as part of the grant. The donation from Toyota to the Save The Music Foundation is part of a program to teach kids music production and songwriting skills, not only as a creative outlet but as a possible path to creative careers in the music industry.
Jean told the assembled students: “At the end of the day, my mom told me if you stay focused and positive and do what you want to do, it’s going to happen. Don’t forget, we don’t do this because it’s easy, we do this because it’s hard and to show them we can overcome where we came from.” The Save The Music program is geared toward making that goal a reality, donating musical instruments to schools and funding their music programs since 1997.