Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Akkademiks....ROCK!

The idea for The Akkademiks was born of necessity. Back in the summer of 2003, a student in the Achieve Program, a program of academic support for students with learning disabilities at SIUC, was having a difficult time studying for his finals. I noticed that the student, like so many of us, had no problems listening to music and memorizing lyrics. I suggested that we should take his study guide and set it to music, or maybe make it into a song.

"If I did this," I asked him, "Would you give it a try?" He thought it couldn't hurt.

That first song made the difference for him, and set me on a path to write educational music. I have learned, through experience, some basic "rules" about writing educational music for adults. In order for college students to want to listen to "educational" music, it must be good music first; it must stand alone as a good song. Only then can the educational content be conveyed. If the song is too obvious in its instruction or too "kiddie" and unsophisticated in its form, then there would be no way that a person in college would waste his or her time with it.

Not long after this, I entered the business plan I developed for this idea, which I tentatively called "Music Notes," in a contest called the Southern Angels Small Business Plan contest, and won a small cash prize for the idea. After that, I dove headlong into developing an album of material which students would enjoy listening to and would help them learn a difficult subject.

The first subject I focused on was Introductory Geology, because many students in the Achieve Program take Geology as part of their science requirement at SIUC. This work resulted in the album, "The Akkademiks....ROCK!"

In the works: Musical study guides for Introductory Psychology, Contemporary Mathematics, Sociology, and Introductory Biology.