On Nov. 13, Dr. John Bass, director of the Mike Curb Institute for Music, and a select group of Rhodes students will give a presentation titled “How Memphis Students Changed Music and the World” to the students of Grahamwood Elementary. The presentation will be an interactive look at how local students have gone on to do great things in the music industry and impact American culture.
Part of the mission of the Curb Institute is research, preservation, and promotion of music history, but another goal is to foster the next generation of Memphis musicians. Thus, by teaching students of Memphis’ rich musical history, the hope is that they will be inspired to study music as well.
As with most projects headed by the Curb Institute, the presentation is primarily designed by Rhodes students. Bass set the parameters for the project and then granted the students creative freedom to adapt it as they saw fit. Each student was able to choose a different piece to perform, give a brief history, and convey what Memphis music means to the particular artist being featured.
Matt Hicks ’15, one of the presenters, believes the project will give him “a chance to share one of the things [he] loves most about Memphis, the music, with the next generation of Memphians.” Hicks hopes that “through programs like this, Rhodes can continue to be an active voice in the preservation and presentation of Memphis’ musical heritage.”
Bass also hopes that this presentation will be the first of many and serve as a prototype for what may later become a permanent function of the Curb Institute. “Through our work, we have learned about the great things that former Memphis students have accomplished,” he says, “and by showing this to current students we hope to inspire and empower them to follow their passions and strive for the same greatness.”