Open Tone Music

Providing kids with opportunities in the arts

Young Souls Jazz Band

In our region’s most underserved communities, cutbacks in school budgets have left thousands of youth without the music and art programming that is vital to their success.

Open Tone Music, a subsidiary of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, fills this gap by giving kids in those neighborhoods opportunities in music, art and performance. Open Tone also partners with the region’s many exceptional arts organizations to impact young lives.

Since its founding in 2010, Open Tone has been a launching pad for young people to begin exploring the world of music. Our programs are rooted in the understanding that no one organization can meet the needs of an entire community; we channel resources to pockets of the region that are most in need while partnering with other organizations to achieve our goals.

We focus on music education, art and performance, which in turn, encourages a strong work ethic, self-esteem, and respect for self and others among our students. This focus has led to a culture of mentorship – a culture that will impact the lives of young people now and in the future.

Open Tone makes music accessible, bringing people together in powerful and dynamic ways. We provide kids with music/arts education and performance opportunities. We partner with like-minded organizations. We teach the business side of music and the arts.

How we reach the community

Research shows improved speech, reading and higher graduation rates for students participating in arts education. However, our young people can only reap these benefits if they have access. This is why Open Tone Music works tirelessly to make music accessible to the community.

Here are some examples of our work:

  • Open Tone Music Academy: This afterschool and Saturday music program uses music as a tool to teach work ethic, self-esteem and respect for individuals and their community. OTMA is the year-round educational component of our Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival initiative. Students can learn musical instruments and vocals.
  • Rubber City Jazz and Blues Festival: This annual event showcases Akron’s world-class musicians and artists with free and open to the public performances in multiple venues throughout downtown Akron. The festival includes mostly local artists and draws thousands each year.
  • Internships: We partner with the University of Akron to secure internships for our Akron music education programming.
  • Unique opportunities: In addition to getting access to music education, kids in Open Tone programs have had the chance to perform in Detroit, Chicago and at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Smokey Robinson.
  • More access: Through collaborations with Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Akron Public Schools, Open Tone Music uses music education and performance as tools to build work ethic, self- esteem and respect for self and community.
  • Caribbean Arts Camp — Amistad: In this program, kids in Cleveland learn about and play the music of the Caribbean. American music is deeply rooted in the African diaspora that flows through the Caribbean. Knowledge of these cultural relationships deepens our students understanding of themselves and their communities.