The Sound of the Next Generation — by Guest Blogger Adam Burns

     Playing music in front of an audience is a uniquely empowering experience. When I started the Beat Harvest music education program, I was very keen that live performance should be part of my students learning process. When I talked to my friends about performing in student recitals, they described emotions ranging from anxiety to absolute dread. These are not emotions that I associate with live performance and they’re certainly not what I want my students’ experience to be. So, I set out to create a different kind of student performance, something more like the gigs that my friends and I enjoy every weekend. Specifically, I wanted to emphasize the community building nature of live music.
     Each year, I host two live shows for my students. The students choose what they want to play and then I help them prepare for the show. While some choose to perform alone, most get together with their friends and family to form small bands. This is where our live shows differ from traditional recitals. When you play in a band, you are part of something bigger. Something that wouldn’t exist without you and your friends. Something you built from scratch by hitting bits of wood and metal with your bare hands.    Making music with your friends is a fantastic feeling.
     Crucially, Beat Harvest live shows are as engaging for the audience as they are thrilling for the performers. The first events were attended by supportive friends and relatives of the students. Over time, our reputation has spread and I see more and more people at the shows who come just to hear something new and mingle with friends and family. Isn’t that what live music is all about?
     The next Beat Harvest live show is on Satruday, April 13th, from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Mariposa Arts Park. Admission is free to the public. To find out more about the Beat Harvest music education program, visit
Adam Burns is a musician singer/songwriter, music educator, and member of the band Bootstrap Circus (