You don’t need us to tell you that Boston’s ripe with big sounds. The swarm of college breeding grounds helps (cough, Berklee, cough), but even more than that, it comes from the venues, booking agents, and concertgoers who break their backs applauding the indie rock, psych, folk, jazz, and metal acts springing alive each month.
Since there’s already turducken on the table and apple crisp in the fridge, put down the pecan pie and put that money towards Boston’s musical appetite. Bowery Boston and Crossroads Presents work hard booking the big name acts of the Paradise and the Sinclair. Boston Hassle, Illegally Blind, and Show Mom Collective book the Middle East Upstairs and the DIY spaces struggling to stay afloat. By buying tickets to shows, you help support their sleepless nights spent billing shows, getting bands the money they need, and making sure the event goes so smoothly that you forget someone did all the organizing in the first place.
As important as that is, there are a few organizations that take priority, especially if we want our children to understand not only the worth of music, but their role in keeping it alive. The least we can do is give the next generation a chance of their own, starting with the opportunity and option to play music themselves.
In the past five years, Girls Rock Campaign Boston has served over 500 girls ages 8 to 17 during its summer programming, created an after-school program, and built an inspiring community of female mentors that double as role models. There’s nothing that builds an inner drive like your first pair of drumsticks—especially when you get them for free. Give the gift of a feminist summer camp experience that leads to a future starlet’s breakout. It’s a Sleater-Kinney factory with extra helpings of East Coast pride and the Raincoats-style oomf.
ZUMIX may be the loudest nonprofit you’ve never heard of if you only cross over to Eastie to catch a flight out of here. Ever since 1991, ZUMIX has fostered a natural afterschool environment where self-expression, confidence, and community come together for a support system many students can’t find elsewhere. Any donation keeps the organization able to maintain its in-house recording studio, prep students for the college application process, or expand their musical horizons so they can secretly pump MF Doom or Tame Impala through their headphones when they leave at 8 pm after an evening of judgement-free jamming.
You absorb knowledge at your quickest rate when young. That’s why toddlers, kids, and teens are eligible to sign up for classes at their local YMCA. Over the last few months in particular, the YMCA has upped its programs to include stronger music education programs that stretch beyond socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural lines. YMCA is set on bridging whatever gap keeps kids from pursuing their dreams, especially if it comes down to balancing a life of basketball and bass or swimming and trying out ukulele for the first time.
Did we miss out on your favorite local non-profit? Let us know! We want to know about more music education systems our city has to offer, so give us a ring (or a sing… song).