At A Place Called Home, we firmly believe that experiences in the arts teach children to cultivate creativity, collaborate, invent, and innovate with peers. Additionally, arts education has a major impact on cognitive development and social engagement. Through the exploration of art in its many forms, our youth gain access to beauty through their own creations and through those of their peers, teachers, and role models.
Our Arts & Creative Expression department covers a range of disciplines, including dance, fine art, digital art, theater, and music. We recently sat down with our Music Programs Senior Lead, Joaquin Pacheco, who was eager to share the details of our Music Education and Audio Recording & Technology programs.
Would you share some of your background with APCH?
Joaquin: I've been at A Place Called Home for just over eight years. Previously, I was a music technology technician at a premiere four-year college, where I oversaw computer systems and five recording studios.
While working in higher education, I consistently saw myself in the young people I would interact with. Young people who were a little lost and needed some help. Those experiences resonated with me. I remember needing help when I was their age.
I felt a need — and still do — to share everything I've learned in education, higher education, and my musical work. That’s what inspired me to join the team at A Place Called Home. But now, I’m not just fixing technological issues. I’m working with young people to create music.
Would you share a little about your Audio Recording & Technology and Music Education Programs?
Joaquin: Both live in the music department. The Audio Recording & Technology Program provides a full 360 experience of the industry: from recording, producing, and performing, to being a booking agent or tour manager. The program is designed for specialized instruction, but no one is forced to learn just one discipline. Rather, it’s designed to expose members to resources, access points, and pathways that can potentially support the discovery and fulfillment of their passion.
It’s about experience — especially for our younger kids. We want them to know that music is fun. As they get older, if they decide to stick with it, we give them more options. But we hold them to their choices. If music is their passion, when they get into high school, we provide them with every resource we can, whether that's performance opportunities, recording opportunities, internships, or externships. Right now, we're partnering with House of Blues Music Forward Foundation to create a series of masterclasses about jobs in the industry for our middle school through college-aged members.
The Music Education Program is a robust program hyper-focused on academics. We believe a young person doing good work in their academics will help dictate future success in their career. And we also know music has the empowering potential to expand and enhance the learning process. Our music department has been a Berklee College of Music partner for over 18 years. We're part of the Berklee Student Music Network, which spans 47 sites across the country. A Place Called Home is the founding site.
Every year, we provide full-ride scholarships to send two to five students to Boston for the Berklee five-week summer intensive. The program is fully immersive, giving students a preview of what it's like to be a Berklee College student.Our partnership with Berklee has impacted so many lives. We cherish the special relationship. It’s a huge blessing.
In addition, our Music Education Program provides training with a variety of instruments: violin, guitar, ukulele, piano, saxophone, bass, flute, and clarinet. We also have a drum circle class. And we’ll continue to expand in the future.
What about the impact these programs are making? Are there stories that come to mind you could share?
Joaquin: One young lady comes to mind immediately. When she first came to A Place Called Home, all she wanted to do was become a star. To travel the world writing songs and performing. And the truth is, she really was a prolific songwriter, but we were worried. She was young and didn’t seem interested in academics at all. Or at least, not as much as she was interested in becoming a performing artist. But through our programs, she had the freedom to explore her passion for music while receiving the academic support she needed.
And as she transitioned to college — she’s going to college! — she changed her trajectory entirely, focusing on musical therapy so that she can one day help people as a therapist! That just blew my mind. I'm so proud of her.
Tell us about the album you produce every year
Joaquin: Every year we cut an album of pop and contemporary music performed by our youth. It’s a powerful representation of who each individual is and their beauty and uniqueness. Essentially, a group of members who have been identified as serious creatives come together and work hard at every facet of production. I’m there as well, but more as a mentor or guide. The album is very much their project. The whole experience is intended to help them better connect and socialize with others in a dynamic, collaborative setting.
When the album is done, these kids have such enormous pride in themselves and in one another. You can see their confidence. And they’ve made meaningful connections and friendships that will last them a lifetime.
It’s powerful — and the music is unbelievable.
The programs at APCH are FREE to our members and made possible by the generous support of institutional funders, individual donors and corporate partners. To find out more about the array of arts and creative expression opportunities we provide at A Place Called Home start here.