Boston’s Berklee College of Music has taken inspiration from the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and created two events that epitomize the spirit of mentoring and community engagement. As we mentioned on our blog when we highlighted Amy Kurland’s influence on musicians at the Bluebird Cafe, aspiring musicians and songwriters are able to perform to audiences that often include movers and shakers in the music industry. Thus begins a connection between those looking to break into the music industry and musicians who have already done so. This connection is very much like the relationship between mentors and mentees. Berklee has taken that concept and built upon it with two unique music mentoring programs.

berklee-music

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Berklee in the Round is an event that takes place the first Tuesday of the month during its school sessions. Students, alumni, faculty and special guests gather to perform songs and connect with each other. Among the group, one chair is set aside for that week’s special mystery guest. The guest might be a touring performer, a local songwriter, or an industry insider! This mixer brings together people with different musical backgrounds, which fosters community and provides opportunities for all.

It’s true that you are never too young to begin the mentorshop process! Boston’s elementary school students will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of songwriting when the Berklee College of Music hosts a songwriting clinic, on January 27, 2014 at Cafe 939 in Boston. Not only will they write a song, these mentored students will also perform their song!

Are you interested in learning more about music mentoring programs? Over My Shoulder Foundation has some excellent information to get you started!

 

music-industry

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The music industry offers those who succeed in it a fulfilling, exciting and creative career! It is, however, a notoriously challenging business to get started in. The environment and network is vast, which can be overwhelming for someone just starting out. How do you go about finding a good mentor? There are methods and approaches that you can use to find someone who is willing and is a good fit for you and your goals.

It’s important to lay the groundwork by preparing yourself with information. Doing research is easier than ever these days, and it should not be a problem to get familiar with who’s who in the music industry. Read trade publications to get a feel for how the industry cogs turn. Consider traveling to music havens like Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City or Austin, to more easily connect with people in the know.

Your research should lead you to people — and therein lies the real key! Get out there and meet artists, producers and promoters who have established music careers. Be polite and direct in conveying your interest in the music world, and desire to find a mentor. You’ll meet a slew of insiders at conventions, so attend some. South by Southwest, in Austin, is an especially accessible event for non-professionals who endeavor to meet old pros.

Participate in events that help get your name out and foster connections. The Bluebird Café story featured on our blog is an excellent example of the type of things that help budding musicians launch their music careers.

Don’t give up. Keep the lines of communication open and nurture the connections you’ve made. Stay up to date on music mentoring programs through our Over My Shoulder blog. You never know who might be the perfect mentor to help you learn how to get a start in this rewarding field.

 

Wouldn’t you like to kick off your new year on a positive note, and learn about a concept that creates winners all the way around? January is National Mentoring Month, which means it is the perfect opportunity to learn about how mentoring works and how you can join this significant movement. The 2014 National Mentoring Summit, produced by MENTOR, takes place in Arlington, Virginia on January 30 and 31, 2014.

mentoring-works

Source: YouthBuild NMA via Pinterest

According to David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, 1 in 3 young people are reaching the age of 19 without having a mentor. However, those that do have mentors are proven to strive for and reach college, have higher self-esteem and make more positive decisions. This is exactly why MENTOR was started 20 years ago and has gone from 300,000 young people in mentoring programs to 4.5 million!

Whether or not you’re able to attend the Summit, you can take advantage of National Mentoring Month to educate yourself about mentoring and how it works in different environments. Music is fertile ground for mentoring, as we at Over My Shoulder Foundation believe. One of the core aspects of the field of music is collaboration. How often do you hear a musician cite his or her fellow musician influences? Recognizing that fact, it follows that mentoring and musicians fit together like fingers and piano keys.

David believes that mentoring is a very powerful tool and one that every young person should benefit from. We welcome you to learn more about becoming a mentor or mentee! Try to attend the 2014 National Mentoring Summit. Please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation to learn how you can get involved in Designing the Next Generation, and for what you’ll gain when you embark on this rewarding path.

 

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What do social change and music have in common? Much more than might be readily apparent. The mentors at the Atlanta Music Project are proving that they can be intricately and exquisitely related. They know that all children have a budding musician inside of them. When they access the music, kids gain an invaluable creative outlet. In order to nurture their musical muse, they must practice regularly — something which helps develop discipline — and, the joy they get from performing contributes to positive self-esteem, which is so important to cement early in life.

Positive self-esteem, discipline and creativity all help kids become motivated and happy adults. And that’s where social change comes in. In their raised awareness, these adults will be able to compassionately bring about change that benefits our communities.

The Atlanta Music Project is committed to giving underserved young people the opportunity to make music and more with its music mentoring programs. First, they provide students with a musical instrument. Then, AMP enlists world-class professional musicians to be their teachers. Finally, they offer opportunities for performances, after students have put in their time and energy to learn their parts. It’s mentoring at its best!

Students learn from accomplished musicians like Ismail Akbar, a cellist from Atlanta who has studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has played Carnegie Hall. Mr. Akbar has recorded with Take 6, Wycliffe Gordon, and Neil Sedaka among others. Aspiring violinists might receive lessons from Teaching Artist Yulmarys Zambrano, an accomplished musician who teaches in public school systems, and privately.

We, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, congratulate the Atlanta Music Project for its far sightedness and engagement in helping young people achieve their potential in such an enriching way! Learn more about this and other music mentoring programs.

 

shamrock-foundation

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Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? We’re starting the year off in a positive way, by providing opportunities for mentors to relate what they have gained and what they have given. National Mentoring Month is also a cue for those who are curious about learning what mentoring truly is. There are several events this month that will highlight some interesting mentoring opportunities.

The Boston Celtics’ Shamrock Foundation will generously share more than 100 tickets for the January 29 Boston Celtics game with a group of mentors and mentees. During that Boston Celtics game, one lucky mentee will wear the title “Official Ballkid” for the evening! For the past several years, the Celtics’ program, “Heroes Among Us” has honored individuals who have given to their community. All in all, this basketball club is an energetic supporter of mentoring!

We at the Over My Shoulder Foundation appreciate the value of people who share their experience and knowledge with young people. John F. Fish, head of Suffolk Construction, is someone who has both mentored young people and set an example for his peers of paying it forward. Amy Kurland and the story of the Bluebird Cafe is another excellent example of how mentoring relationships can provide lasting benefits.

We invite you to share your talents with someone who is as passionate about your chosen path or career as you are! The benefits to both mentor and mentee are innumerable. Please visit our website or contact me, Dawn Carroll, to learn more about the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

 

suffolk-construction

Source: nokhoog_buchachon via Freedigitalphotos.net

Under the leadership of John F. Fish, Suffolk Construction Company Inc. has achieved many positive distinctions. It is the largest builder in New England, earns two billion dollars per year in revenue, and is one of the country’s most successful building contracting companies. At the same time he has grown the company, Mr. Fish has, through his own example, instilled the values of mentorship and engagement in his company.

Someone who guides a company so successfully certainly learns much along the way, and Mr. Fish has chosen to pass on his experience and wisdom in the form of mentoring. Suffolk’s own Red & Blue Foundation supports groups that seek to better individuals and society, through support of mentoring programs for youth, education, the arts and healthcare.

Mr. Fish and Suffolk Construction recently reached out to young people in a pragmatic and motivational way, through the Youth Mentoring Partnership program. The company partnered with Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and YouthBuild Boston to give technical-vocational students the opportunity to be mentored on-site with Suffolk, and with other leaders in the subcontracting field. This unique symbiosis gave students a head start in the job market, while allowing company representatives to spot talented individuals early on. Truly a win-win situation!

We congratulate and thank Suffolk Construction for supporting Over My Shoulder Foundation’s first annual Designing the Next Generation Extravaganza, which took place on June 18, 2012. This inspiring event brought together speakers from many backgrounds, who shared personal stories of their own mentoring experiences.

John F. Fish’s commitment to mentoring programs for youth has had a positive effect on the lives of many mentees, and he has been a shining example within his own company. You, too, can make a difference in a young person’s life! To learn how, please visit our website for the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

 

john-varvatos

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On behalf of the Over My Shoulder Foundation Project, I would like to introduce you to Mentorology, which is the art of mentoring. Mentoring in music and design is the creative launching pad for the OMSF mission!  When we meet a person that has the same vision that we have in our own design careers, the art of mentoring instinctively teaches us to engage and ask, “How can I help this person to become a high performer?” We should think about the possibilities and advancements that this person could make in his or her career and then offer guidance and advice along the way.

A great example of Mentorology can be seen on NBC’s newest reality competition series “Fashion Star,” in which contestants compete to earn the next biggest name in the fashion industry. What we love about the show is that the contestants are mentored throughout the experience by fashion moguls Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and most recently John Varvatos. Throughout his career, Varvatos has served as Head of Menswear Design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands and even launched his own clothing line. The addition of Varvatos as a mentor on “Fashion Star” provides contestants with a more diverse look at the fashion industry.

These famous mentors not only impact the lives of the contestants that they are working directly with, but also the viewers as they offer some powerful advice that anyone with aspirations in the industry could benefit from. Another aspect that makes this show so unique is that the winner of each episode has the opportunity to sell his or her designs to viewers through the show’s retail partners: Macy’s, Sacks Fifth Avenue, and H&M.

Contact us at OMSF for more success stories with famous mentors. Or, if you want to make a difference with our non-profit organization but are not sure how to help, consider making a donation.

 

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Source: DIE TRIBUTE VON PANEM via Pinterest

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly surrounded by mentoring relationships. For example, the company you work for may have its own employee mentoring program. If you happen to watch reality competition series on TV such as The Voice, you will see that the participants are receiving valuable mentoring advice from singers with lengthy and successful careers in the industry and that the celebrity mentors are moved by the experience as well.

Think about some of your favorite movies and the relationships that played out in those films. In the cult classic The Karate Kid, the focus of the story is an adult mentoring a troubled youth.

To elaborate on the topic of movie mentors, everyone is talking about The Hunger Games and the most recent release of Catching Fire. In the fantasy world that takes place in this series of stories, teens are made to face off in a truly life-changing competition. Each participant, otherwise known as a “tribute” from his or her district, is paired with a mentor that is often older and experienced with the Hunger Games competition, and this mentoring relationship proves to be instrumental in how the competition turns out.

Our goal at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to raise the awareness of Mentorology and the positive impact that it can make in the lives of others, whether cross-generationally or cross-culturally. Considering the size of the audience that has seen the films mentioned above, you can see that movie mentors can play a powerful role in reinforcing the benefits and impacts of strong mentoring relationships.

For more about the concept of Mentorology, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. If you want to help this cause, become a mentor or donate to our organization!