Nonprofit to offer music workshops for Aberdeen youth

An Olympia songwriting program is starting a new workshop in Aberdeen this fall for youth looking to develop their rapping and singing abilities.

The Bridge Music Project is a nonprofit that works to help at-risk youth in Olympia through songwriting workshops that focus on hip-hop and rap music, but also include students interested in spoken word, poetry and instrumental music.

Starting in November, the Bridge will host its first Aberdeen-based workshop — an eight-week program at the Garage: Music and Arts Center in the Shoppes at Riverside.

Bobby Williams, director of the Bridge and a rapper himself, said the workshops help promote positive values in the youth they serve.

“We’re teaching how you can use music and writing as coping tools,” he said. “The workshops promote values like self-confidence, collaboration and dedication. We’re trying to get those pro-social values across, that this is something that will transfer to the different parts of your life.”

The students will work with Williams and other experienced rappers and singers once a week to write their own hip-hop songs with original beats they make, and get to record in a professional studio and perform a show by the end of the workshop.

Even though the program has been used to help at-risk youth in the past, Williams emphasized that anyone with an interest in music can sign up.

Anyone ages 14 to 21 can enroll for the free workshop online at www.bridgemusicproject.org/join-now, and Williams said there’s no set limit yet on how many students he can take. The applications also ask what the students’ favorite musicians are, and what they hope to accomplish during the eight-week program. He added that there would be a phone interview as part of the application.

The class is currently scheduled for Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Garage, and anyone with questions can email Williams at bobby@bridgemusicproject.org.