Berklee City Music Boston: Understanding the Social-Emotional Needs of Youth

This post is part of a series about the workshop presentations delivered at the ACT Skills Summit.

Berklee City Music Boston serves about 70 youth from Boston through their summer programs, the Summer Employment Program and the Summer Performance Program. City Music Boston Director Misael Martinez and his “dream team” of staff presented Berklee’s strategies to “dive deep into the social emotional component of the students’ learning,” and to provide support systems as students embark on their own journey to learn and develop.

The main theme of City Music Boston’s presentation at the ACT Summit on June 5th in their Thrive breakout session was that students should have the space and opportunity to make their own decisions, process their own experiences, and make their own change. City Music Boston works to ensure that students have the support systems and infrastructure they need to do that.

There are three strategies that Berklee has used in order to do this:

  1. Provide access and choices

City Music Boston’s Summer Performance Program accepts youth through an application and audition process. Berklee works hard to maintain a “family-like vibe” on audition day to help youth feel comfortable. For youth who do not get in, Berklee helps find other resources and/or learning opportunities.

  1. Introduce role models

It is important to Berklee to ensure youth have positive role models within the program.

  1. Build community

City Music Boston’s Summer Employment Program focuses on providing youth with opportunities to affect change within their communities through music. Youth are split into ensembles that work as a team to perform and open dialogue with other youth programs in Boston.

Attendees of City Music Boston’s breakout session were provided with an opportunity to reflect on how they can implement these strategies in their own programs.

Materials from all of the workshops at the ACT Skills Summit can be found here.