WILMINGTON — Passim, a music community support group from Cambridge, recently awarded over $40,000 to 24 musicians through its Iguana Music Fund. Rockabye Beats, a music school started in Wilmington, was among those selected.
Rockabye Beats is owned by former Wilmington resident Marcos Valles and his business partner Shon Gordon. The duo performs regularly in town.
Their educational musical performances have been featured at the library. During COVID, their live sessions have included three socially-distanced children’s programs at Yentile Farm Recreation Area and Zoom sessions.
The grant they received was used to produce a children’s musical education video, “Colors.” Other videos are planned. “Colors” is available on their You Tube channel among a large collection of children’s educational and fun features.
They wanted to do a video series that focuses on introducing children to music and also to Spanish. To that end, they sprinkle in a Spanish word or phrases throughout their work.
“We try to make it silly and fun,” explained Gordon.
Abby Altman, Passim Club Manager, explained that the grants are awarded by a panel of judges.
“They are folks involved in the music industry who prefer to remain low-key and anonymous; musicians, managers, label company representatives and such.”
Altman felt Valles and Gordon had a strong application because of the nature of their project.
“While individual awards are good, there is a widespread impact with their type of project.”
The Rockabye Beats project directly supports the organization’s mission because it is reaching out to groups of children and promoting music in their lives as well as supporting Valles’ and Gordon’s music endeavor.
Rockabye Beats started in 2016 when Valles wanted to create a class for children. Gordon joined on as good fit for the plan, as well as an enthusiast partner, since he had studied music education at Berklee. They were operating in Wilmington until they had to expand and find a larger studio. They are now in Newton.
Like most things, Rockaway Beats was impacted by COVID-19. They are presenting classes online now via Zoom four days a week. The classes are an introduction to music, singing, and even dancing. They play music games where students learn to recognize pitch and sound. Their target audience is mostly preschool children.
Valles explains the students learn more than just music.
“They are learning social cues, learning to be patient, and they are learning about a classroom setting even before they go to school.”
He added, “There is a lot of confidence building, too.”
Children are asked if they want to sing on their own.
“Something easy like maybe Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; give them a chance to do a solo.”
To learn more about Rockabye Beats and see their videos, visit www.rockabyebeats.com or their Facebook page and YouTube Channel. You can also learn more about Passim and supporting music grants at www.passim.org/iguana.