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After school program takes students off streets and into studio

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A new after school music program has given students a positive place to showcase their talent in South Lawndale. (WLS)

A new after school music program has given students a positive place to showcase their talent in South Lawndale.

The program, called Beats and Bars, was started by Rafael Navarro to give students a creative outlet and alternative option to the streets while creating a bond between the students.

At the Multicultural Academy of Scholarship at Little Village High School, a small room has been transformed into a music studio for the students to go and make music every day.

"It's kind of just showing them that you can be educated, you can be from the inner city, you can be talented, you can be creative, you can be yourself," Navarro said. "Just giving them that outlet has been my main focus with the program."

Before getting a degree in behavioral science, Navarro was a full time musician. His passion for music paired with his background in education helped him create a successful program where students learn about song writing, audio recording and production.

"The main thing for me was to teach them how to write lyrics and how to record themselves and the fact that can create music in their bedrooms," said Navarro.

Kenneth Clair, one of several students in the program, said it has become more than a creative outlet for him.

"It gave me a lot of structure and a work ethic," Clair said. "When I come here it makes me think I have to have this done, you can't miss your shot."

For Jabari Taylor, Beats and Bars is a needed alternative.

"It's like basically another home, we could be out there in the streets with the other guys...but I'm in here making music," said Taylor.

Beats and Bars plans to release an album next month. To check out the Beats and Bars YouTube channel, click here.
Related Topics:
societymusicChicago - North Lawndale
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