The Music Resource Center offers a unique after-school program

Tucked away in East Walnut Hills, on Woodburn Ave, lives a non-profit determined to offer kids an after-school program like no other.

When Karen D’Agostino stopped for a quick trip at an art store in Over-the-Rhine, she came away with more than just supplies: She had an idea that would later touch many lives. After seeing a large number of kids just hanging out on the streets, she thought about how there seemed to be many programs for sporty kids or academic kids, but what about the kids in-between? After contacting the executive director of the Charlottesville location and a few years of planning, The Music Resource Center—Cincinnati came to be.

The Music Resource Center operates under a mission to “inspire teenagers in a culturally diverse and musically focused setting to elevate lifetime and academic achievement.” Their mission, coupled with their belief that music has the power to unite, led them to build a space where middle and high school kids (specifically grades 7th–12th) can come learn, be inspired, and create. And with the wide array of classes offered, inspiration is surely always around the corner.
For only two dollars a month kids can become members at the MRC and do everything from standard vocal and instrumental lessons to more in-depth classes like a writing class about the poetry of hip-hop.
           
One of Wally Hart’s classes, for instance, is a rap class where the kids gather to work on their own projects and then sit in a master class with a guest speaker that guides them in a specialized area of focus.

“I think what we do here is pretty innovative,” he says. “You don’t find places that are offering these kinds of hip-hop teachings. You know, these students might not fit in with certain groups at school, but they come here and get to know one another and just relax.”

After moving back from Texas three years ago, Hart practically manifested the MRC into his life. He says The Music Resource Center is the “kind of place [I] always envisioned. I thought something like this would be a great place for kids and then I actually found this place and I thought, ‘Oh! This is what I’ve been looking for.’”

If The Music Resource Center is also the place you’ve been looking for, you can attend a class Monday through Friday from 2–6 p.m., which includes snacks and dinner every night, plus pizza Fridays.

The MRC has a wide range of genre lovers, so if hip-hop isn’t for you, don’t be turned away. If you aren’t sure what you love, that’s okay, too. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re about to continue into a degree program at CCM, Hart says, “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or not being good right away. Nobody is good at what they’re doing until they’re good. Everyone starts out at the same place. Be patient and not afraid to get it wrong.”

Read more articles by Amy Briana Counts.

Amy Briana Counts is an aspiring young writer in Cincinnati. When she's not writing you can find her climbing rocks, traveling out west, and being "mom" to her cats, Fred and George.
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