Spotify creates recording studio at Kealing Middle School

SXSW is over, but its influence remains. Digital music service Spotify donated equipment and furniture from its Spotify House to create a recording studio for some lucky, East Austin students.

8th grader Yeshuah Brown has found his passion.

"I'll pick a song that I like listening to and I'll chop it up rework it the way I like it,” Brown said.

He's involved in the music production program at Kealing Middle School.

The program, which is the only one like it in the country, caught the attention of digital music service Spotify. As principal Kenisha Coburn explains, it wasn't just what the kids are doing that peaked the company's interest, but also why they doing it.

"All students come into music production in the same place regardless of race, regardless of economics,” Coburn said. “Most students don't have a push system at their house. So even if you have been playing a musical instrument your whole life, this is new to you. So we can all come in to the same place and learn together."

Spotify chose to partner with the campus in developing a recording studio. They would also donate items used in the Spotify House set up at SXSW.

DPR Construction, Rebuilding Together Austin and Acoustic Spaces converted an English classroom into a music lab with three recording suites.

It's much different from when music production teacher Ara Eissler started the class three years ago with home depot buckets and drum sticks.

"We can record their guitars. We can record their vocals. They can finish a song and then they can come in here and mix and master it and make the final polish putting it out on the internet, to streaming services whatever they want to do with it,” said Eissler.

Dozens of volunteers helped move the items during spring break to have the space ready by Monday. Even the students and principal played a role.

"We hauled furniture. I painted this table,” said Coburn.

"This table, I remember seeing it at the Spotify House,” said Brown. "To know that I brought something here that I thought was unreachable was cool to see."

What he thought was unreachable is now within reach.

"It's inspiring. It's kind of why we do what we do,” said Coburn. "Having all of these people who are gifted in some way and are so passionate about what they do take this amount of time and put this amount of resources into doing something because they believe in my kids, and they believe in who we are as a campus, there's nothing better than that."

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