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November Nonprofit of the Month: Today’s Future Sound


Oaklandish is pleased to present Today’s Future Sound as our featured Nonprofit of the Month! Today’s Future Sound (TFS) teaches music production, beat making, and DJ’ing to youth and the general public in Oakland, the San Francisco Bay Area, and beyond. It is through the use of music production and media arts that TFS works to empower youth as artists and community members, while simultaneously fostering their well-being as individuals. Services are offered during the school day, after school, and in a variety of community settings.

TFS started about a year and a half ago when Dr. Elliot Gann and Ben Durazzo began collaborating to teach production in elementary and middle schools in Oakland and Berkeley. Dr. Gann had previously done his dissertation on Oakland-based organization Beats, Rhymes and Life (BRL Inc.), studying the efficacy of rap therapy and decided to apply his clinical psychology training and passion for hip hop and music production in school settings. Through music production, beat making, and DJ instruction, TFS establishes relationships with individual students, teachers, school staff, and students’ families in other to help support students. Additionally, TFS uses its workshops to teach youth media literary skills, and to illustrate core curriculum and STEM concepts as an alternative to traditional teaching methods. Currently, TFS has three main components: mental health/wellness, education, and arts/music.

In the next month, TFS will be taking on several projects to continue to grow and expand their services and settings. Recent projects include:

–       Beginning to teach five days a week in OUSD elementary schools across East and West Oakland.

–       Presenting at the Hip Hop Education 2013 Think Tank in New York City on their work and hip hop pedagogy.

–       Beginning to teach underserved, newly immigrated, and homeless youth in Canada.

–       Continuing their pro bono, Beats4Lunch Music Production Program (which has been ongoing for over a year and half) at West Oakland Middle School.

Be sure to join TFS and Oaklandish at our downtown shop (1444 Broadway) on Sunday, November 17th for a live beat making and DJ’ing workshop from 12 – 4pm. 10% of proceeds from the downtown store on this day will go directly to TFS to support their continued work in Oakland.



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