seasonal Program OVERVIEW
The STOP Program consists of twice-weekly workshops held over an 8-week period, culminating in a compilation album and live community performance. Program participants shape their personal experiences into Original Songs and Music Videos under the guidance of STOP staff and peer mentors who have graduated the program. First, participants are instructed in lyrical composition and song structure, learning how to write verses and hooks. Next, STOP explains the basics of music video production and storyboard outlines. Finally, we train participants on the essential aspects of public performance, including emotion and stage presence. For each meeting, STOP provides healthful meals and transportation support to all program participants. Ongoing feedback obtained from participants allows us to tailor future programs to address current community concerns and improve access to our services.
Once the participants have been determined, a Program Orientation is held to cover the program goals, schedule, materials, and expectations. Parents are encouraged to attend the orientation session. Next, there will be a Studio Orientation where participants explore the professional recording studio, meet the producers and engineers, and learn how to find and select instrumental beats.
pHASE 1: SONGWRITING
STOP staff will guide participants to brainstorm and select a theme for their original song. They will also be instructed in lyrical composition and song structure, learning how to write verses and hooks. STOP strongly discourages the use of profanity and strictly prohibits any lyrical content that glorifies violence, promotes substance use, or degrades women. Lyrics will be reviewed and approved before they can be recorded at the studio.
PHASE 2: Recording
Participants record their lyrics at the STOP professional recording studio. They will be coached individually about how to make their song sound like that of a professional recording artist by adding depth and layers with multiple vocal tracks. Their songs are recorded, mixed, and mastered by our experienced staff.
Phase 3: VIDeo production
Participants are taught the basics of music video production and learn how to create storyboards for the outline of their music videos. Once scene locations have been determined, footage will be shot in the community. STOP staff will direct and edit an original music video for each of the participants’ songs.
PHASE 4: performinG
Participants are trained in the essential aspects of public performance, including emotion, stage presence, and image. They will be shown tools to stay grounded and channel their nerves. STOP peer mentors give advice and supportive feedback. A rehearsal of their live performance will be completed.
Phase 5: GRADUATION
A public performance and graduation ceremony are held to showcase the hard work of the participants. The participants will perform their original songs live and all their music videos will be shown. Refreshments are provided and compilation albums will be available for a small donation.
Campus enrichment Program
Marin Oaks High School: In March 2019, STOP built a permanent professional recording studio on the Marin Oaks campus in Novato. Under the supervision of STOP staff (teaching artists), students learn the basics of music production and creating beats, song-writing and lyrical composition, and music video story-boarding and video editing. They train on professional equipment using industry-standard software, creating a completely original song and polished music video over the semester. Students earn elective credits toward graduation for participating in the STOP Campus Enrichment Program. At the end of each semester, STOP holds a live community concert to showcase their original songs and music videos.
Restorative Justice Program
Marin County Youth Court: STOP is partnered with Marin County Youth Court as an alternative sentencing option. Instead of serving time in juvenile hall, youth co-design a Restorative Plan, which includes the option to receive one-on-one mentorship from STOP staff or complete our standard 8-week program. This partnership recognizes the rehabilitative and therapeutic value of creative self-expression.