History

My Voice Music teaches youth ages 5-17 to write, record, and perform original songs. Our vision is that all youth have the opportunity to find and share their artistic voice. MVM was born in a mental health treatment center and our artistic mission is tightly enmeshed with a social mission. Though many of our programs are now open to the public at MVM Studios, through our Outreach Programs we place special emphasis on working with youth in treatment centers, foster care, and alternative schools.

Today, MVM reaches about 1,500 youth each year through outreach programs (held on-site at partner agencies), and at MVM Studios where we host rock camps, ensemble groups, individual lessons, advanced music mentorships with professional musicians, and youth leadership development opportunities. Youth learn from accomplished local musicians and annually share their songs in over 20 performances across Portland and on compilation CDs.

Outreach Programs Established in 2008:

In 2008, My Voice Music was founded to bring hands-on music instruction to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. To do this work, MVM established relationships with organizations throughout Portland that serve youth experiencing mental health and behavioral challenges; youth living in foster care, residential treatment, detention centers, or who are homeless; and youth facing other major challenges. My Voice Music established a robust set of Outreach Programs that bring music as a way to help youth cope, heal and thrive through writing, recording and performing original songs.  Some of our outreach partners include(d) Albertina Kerr Centers, Morrison Child and Family, Trillium Family Centers, Open Meadow, Friends of the Children, Mt. Scott Learning Center, Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center, Youth Villages, and p:ear.

MVM Studios & Public Programs Established in 2014:

In October 2014, we moved into our first dedicated program space, MVM Studios. MVM Studios is a youth centered performance space and recording studio that is open to the public. At MVM Studios youth can learn to play instruments and write songs; record their music; attend mixing and engineering classes; perform at open mic nights, songwriting circles, and rock camps; join our artist mentorship programs where students have the opportunity to become Student Teachers, as well as, take their musicianship to it’s highest level through our partnership with Berklee School of Music’s, City Music Network.

At MVM Studios, we are committed to providing all youth with opportunities in music. The Play It Forward Scholarship model is our way of making sure that happens. Our Play It Forward scholarship system means that when you pay for a lesson, you help someone else get a lesson. If you can’t afford classes or studio fees, call us anyway.

Organizational Milestones:

My Voice Music has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon Afterschool Coalition, and many other prestigious organizations working to advance the arts throughout the nation and Oregon.

My Voice Music has been awarded:

  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant Recipient (2016)
  • Leadership Award, National Afterschool Association (2014)
  • Faces of Change, OregonASK (2012)
  • Skidmore Prize, Willamette Week (2011)
  • Inspiring the Next Generation, City of Portland (2009)

Learn more at our Recognition page.

Other exciting milestones include MVM youth performing on stage with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters at the Rose Garden, and with Bibi McGill (Guitarist and Music Director for Beyoncé), writing and recording songs with major Portland bands including Red Fang and Ages and Ages, and facilitating the writing and recording of thousands of original songs by MVM youth!

For more information about why and how MVM was started, click the following link for a Q&A with founder, Ian Mouser that explains MVM’s origins, our goals and has some great quotes from families:  A Q&A with Ian Mouser after being awarded the Skidmore Prize.

Program Model

 

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