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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:58 pm | Fair 56º


MusicBox Ready to Rock at Santa Barbara West Boys & Girls Club

The studio will provide a place for youths to learn, play and record music — for free

Notes for Notes of Santa Barbara is giving youths a chance to learn, play and record music in a world-class facility with Thursday’s opening of its new MusicBox inside the Santa Barbara West Boys & Girls Club, 602 W. Anapamu St.

“It will keep them away from gangs and off the streets, and provide a positive place for kids to come hang and learn something new,” program director Taylor Hurtado said. “If I was a kid and this was available, this is where I would’ve spent all my time.”

The club will act as a safe and creative space for youths to hang out, jam and learn the intricacies of music-making and the industry — for free.

“Sometimes kids don’t always learn how to play an instrument in class, and you are not going to learn without picking it up and having a jam session,” said Magda Arroyo, director of the Santa Barbara West Boys & Girls Club.

The facility will feature drums, guitars, turn tables, mixers and a full recording studio. The equipment was donated — some from famous musicians, such as an amplifier from the Foo Fighters and a mixer from Depeche Mode.

“It’s an amazing thing for these kids to be a huge fan of Jack Johnson and stare at his poster in here, and one day he just happens to be here and all he wants to do is sit down with them and play music,” Hurtado said. “That would’ve changed my life in an instant.”

Hurtado, a 22-year-old professional musician, will teach youths how to play, as well as other guests who will visit throughout the year, such as members of the Steve Miller Band, Alan Parsons and the singers of Green Day and 311.

“We will take any one of the youth and show them how to play instruments, like the bass, drums, how to do stuff like scratch and mix and record everything,” Hurtado said.

Notes for Notes uses the universal language of music to direct underprivileged youths into activities that benefit themselves and their community, according to its Web site.

“I want people to realistically know that there is a place and positive environment where you can be creative,” Hurtado said. “Anyone can come in here and hang out; they don’t even have to play instrument.”

There are now three studios in Santa Barbara, one at the Boys & Girls Club East and the other at the Teen Center. The newest MusicBox was funded through donations from various organizations and the Community Development Block Grant.

“I want to pass on my knowledge; it’s the most ideal use of my time, my dream job,” Hurtado said. “To help these children is an amazing thing and has impacted me in the most wonderful way.”

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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