Although Seven Mile now offers arts and computer science lessons along with music, it was originally founded as a music enrichment-focused organization. Seven Mile Music was founded in the 2013-2014 school year by Sam Saunders, a piano major at the University of Michigan. Sam started this program in direct response to the harsh cuts to music and arts education funding in the Detroit Public School system with the belief that every student should have access to music education. The members of Seven Mile Music believe that music plays a key role in development, and that having the opportunity to creatively express oneself is essential to children of all ages.
Since the program’s inception, Seven Mile Music has reached hundreds of children in the Detroit area and continues to grow. We travel weekly to Mission: City in Brightmoor each semester with over 50 University of Michigan volunteer student teachers. Alongside our trips to the Brightmoor community, we have begun teaching at the Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men during their “8th Hour,” which provides non-academic enrichment programs to 9th graders. Each summer, we run a full-time music and art camp (link BAC page) with professional music educators.
Additionally, through our listening exercises we intend to connect our students to the styles and sounds that grew out of their environment. Metro Detroit has been an unending stream of new music since its Motown heyday and we seek to educate our students on this rich local history.
When Seven Mile Music began operations, we were only able to offer students a limited selection of instruments. Since our inception, we have continued to expand the organization and our instrument library. Through continual fundraising and private instrument donations, our instrument instruction now encompasses:
- Electric Bass Guitar
For younger students that aren’t able to get their hands around a guitar, form a proper embouchure, or are just not ready to begin learning a particular instrument, we now offer listening lessons. We lead our youngest children in active listening exercises with the goal of exposing them to new genres of music while also introducing terms like ‘beat’ and ‘rhythm’. Through exposure to genres like ‘Jazz’ or ‘Samba,’ we begin to show the students that different styles of music can demonstrate new ideas and evoke multiple feelings.