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Television Fri Dec 18 2009

CounterPoint: Music and Life for Teens

Chicago native Morris Brent has always had music on his mind; with over 15 years as a music professional, he has written songs, managed artists, and has even fronted his own band. He has now added to his passion for "music and life" by creating CounterPoint, a positive outlet for teens who are interested in pursuing a career in music. When it comes to providing positive opportunities for teens, Brent gets "the point."

Tell us about CounterPoint.
The CounterPoint Music and Life Workshop is an eight week program that is also an after-school arts program for kids who are interested in pursuing music. It is designed to bring out the positive aspects of music as it relates to life.


What are the criteria to join?
Only one: They must be passionate about music. Once they're in the program, they are required to improve in at least one of three key areas--attendance, grades, or behavior.

Why did you decide to create the program?
There are kids who want to be hip-hop artists, DJs, poets, singers, etc. I noticed that there really isn't a specific platform for this in high schools today; to be involved with music, you have to basically be either in the choir or in the band.

So arts programs in schools have pretty much remained the same?
Where arts programs in schools are concerned, we really haven't kept up with the times. I was a band major so I know this is true. Things are different now. When I was in school, the band teacher was always the musical role model; today, rappers have that title.

You mention the negative influence of certain aspects of urban culture--that there is a correlation between negative images and hip hop music. Explain.
There is a correlation and hip hop has a hold on our youth. Of course, hip hop can be a positive force; for instance, it was influential in getting Obama elected. Unfortunately, kids are not always sold on those positive aspects of the music. Many artists are doing remarkable things, but that simply isn't being sold to kids. Anyone who says they don't see the correlation between negative music and its influence on youth isn't being honest. But I want to counter this negativity--to show kids that they can appreciate it, but not be so negatively influenced by it.

CounterPoint will be featured on ABC7 Chicago's "Heart and Soul" television program this weekend. What will we see in the piece?
You'll see kids in the classroom taking instruction with lessons in imaging, creative integrity through lyrics, etc. The piece will also show me introducing the kids to the "real world" by letting them interact with established, working musicians.

It is a good thing to show kids the "softer" side of music, especially since we are so inundated with the "harder" side.
Exactly. I am doing this because they just don't see enough of the positive aspects. We keep pushing positivism to them, but you can't just tell them, you have to show them. I also bring in mentors for them who share an equal passion for music.

Thank you, Morris. We'll be watching.
Thank you.

The CounterPoint Music & Life program is based in suburban Round Lake, Illinois but its message is also spread throughout Chicago's inner city. Catch CounterPoint on ABC7's "Heart and Soul" show when it airs Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6pm and again on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 12pm. For more information about the program, visit the website or call 847.456.9700.

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LDW / December 21, 2009 10:45 AM

Great show, ABC7! Looking forward to future episodes!

Doc / December 22, 2009 3:25 PM

Great article! This is definitely needed for the kids today! It helps to unlock their inner talents as well as keep them into positive activities.

C. Wayde Bryant / January 2, 2010 1:29 AM

Morris, this was really pleasnat and inspiring to read. I hate I missed the show, perhaps I can still view it once I visit the website.

I agree with aeverything you said, the youth of today not excluding the adults need to be exposed to the positive side of the music industry and not just what is portrayed as what is known as the life of the "bling...bling". It's alright to make a little money and having success, but it comes with a price and hard work. Or else the outcome has a great potential to become very short lived.

Hey keep up the great work and I look forward to collaborating with you someday soon!

C. Wayde Bryant
Producer/Song writer/Vocal & Keyboardist band member of RefleXions

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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