Save the Music Launches First-Ever Electronic Music Grant Named After Legendary Producer J Dilla

MTV and Save the Music—a non-profit organization that has launched over 2,000 music programs within schools across the country—today announced a first-of-its-kind program supporting electronic music production to develop students’ creative and technical talents and reflect how modern music is being made today.

The grant, which was developed in partnership with Pharrell Williams’ creative collective i am OTHER and Arizona State University (ASU), is named the J Dilla Music Tech Grant after the legendary producer who worked with De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Erykah Badu, among others, and whose revolutionary approach to making beats continues to inspire artists more than a decade after his death. The program’s innovative combination of music technology and a forward-looking curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of electronic music creation, recording and production, bringing out each student’s inner creativity, talent, and confidence.

Beginning next month, seven high schools across the country will participate in the multi-year initiative. The schools include:

  • Barringer HS, Newark, NJ
  • High School for Public Service, Brooklyn, NY
  • South Philadelphia HS, Philadelphia, PA
  • Hialeah Senior HS, Miami, FL.
  • Arts High School, Newark, NJ
  • McDonogh 35, New Orleans, LA
  • Belmont HS, Los Angeles, CA

“This expanded focus into electronic music technology was driven by listening to the needs of the community and realizing where we could make the most impact on kids,” said Henry Donahue, Executive Director of Save the Music. “After 20 years of providing students and teachers with more than $50 million of band and string instruments, we have now added mixers, turntables, and drum machines to accurately and equitably reflect the music ecosystem today.”

“DJs with turntables and producers with MIDI controllers and state-of-the-art technology are the vanguard of new music makers today—across all musical genres,” said Amy Doyle, General Manager of MTV, and Board Co-chair of Save the Music. “The J Dilla Music Technology Grant underscores MTV and Save the Music’s commitment to cultivating the future creators, providing them with cutting edge tools and innovative instruction to enable them to participate in the future of music.”

“With the J Dilla Music Tech Grant we are deepening our collective efforts to broaden access to the highest quality music education and thinking equitably about the communities we serve to build and expand the pedagogy and curricula that foster young people’s skills, creativity, and expression,” said Evan Tobias, Associate Professor of Music Education at Arizona State University and head of the Consortium for Innovation and Transformation in Music Education.