Teens Aspiring to Music Careers Receive Real World Experience and Advice from Pros Thanks to Partnership Between Grammy Foundation®, Best Buy and Chicago City of Learning

cid:image005.jpg@01D13406.816F7AF0CHICAGO, IL – (ENEWSPF)–December 21, 2015.  A dream for many, working with the best in the music business became a reality for 39 local high school students on Saturday, December 5, at Best Buy GRAMMY Camp® – Weekend, powered by Chicago City of Learning, held on DePaul University’s Loop Campus. Side-by-side with GRAMMY Foundation® professionals whose clientele include artists like Beyonce’, Jason Mraz, Jay Z, Madonna, Pink, and Usher, the teens developed industry skills while taking advantage of this rare opportunity to receive free, expert training in Songwriting, Electronic Music Production or Video Production.

“It’s a great experience that could change your life – and your future,” said 12th grader Joelle Israel of Rogers Park, who attended Chicago’s premier camp last year, earned a full scholarship to GRAMMY Foundation’s weeklong, residential camp in Los Angeles over the summer, and returned to Chicago’s second camp to absorb more tips of the trade.

Applicants came from high schools citywide, as well as after school programs, such as those offered by the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy and other Chicago City of Learning partner organizations like Donda’s House, GlobalGirl Media, Beyond the Bell, McGaw YMCA, After School Matters, Chicago Urban League, IMPACT Family Center, Metropolitan Family Services and UCAN’s FamilyWorks.

Professional participants who flew in from Miami and Los Angeles included: Greg “Stryke” Chin, recording artist, producer, author, music technologist, GRAMMY Foundation® Board member, and electronic music production faculty member; Abby Linne, cinematographer, operator, music photographer, and video production faculty member; and Christopher Sampson, vice dean, professor of songwriting, and founding director of the popular music program at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

“You will be challenged today, and I look forward to seeing how you meet and overcome those obstacles,” Sampson told attendees upon their arrival. “Our goal is to create a spark in you that will last days and years to come.”

Eight hours later, during the camp closing, students like Alejandra Ibanez, a 10th grader from Garfield Ridge, confirmed his prediction. “I tried something new today and learned from it,” she said. “It was hard, but very fun. I feel inspired to follow my dreams and never give up.”

Not only did participants leave with a greater sense of how they can develop a strategy that will increase their chances at having a successful career in music, but they also earned a digital badge, which shows the skills they achieved and is stored at in portfolios that can be shared with teachers, college admissions officers or prospective employers.

Dr. Nichole Pinkard, founder of the Digital Youth Network at DePaul University, which coordinates Chicago City of Learning (CCOL), thanked Best Buy and GRAMMY Foundation for their partnership. “This free opportunity puts young Chicagoans interested in the music business on a pathway toward their ideal career. That’s what CCOL is all about.”

While the GRAMMY Foundation influences the lives of young people by opening the windows of opportunity that music can provide for their futures, Best Buy’s Teen Tech Centers are all about showing youth of today the wonders of technology. Chicago City of Learning (CCOL), of which Best Buy is the lead corporate sponsor, joins together learning opportunities for young people in a way that allows them to think about, pursue, and develop their interests, leading to what they can ultimately become.

The participants of this camp will have the chance to apply for a full scholarship to the summer residential GRAMMY Camp program. Anyone interested in an immersive music industry summer experience is encouraged to apply to GRAMMY Camp at before the March 31, 2016 deadline.

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1988 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy®, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. In recognition of the significant role of teachers in shaping their students’ musical experiences, the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy have partnered to present the Music Educator Award™. Open to current U.S. music teachers in kindergarten through college, the Music Educator Award will be given out during GRAMMY® Week 2016. For more information about our music education programs, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, please like “GRAMMY in the Schools” on Facebook, follow @GRAMMYFdn on Twitter and join @GRAMMYFdn on Instagram.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:  BBY) is the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, offering advice, service and convenience — all at competitive prices — to the consumers who visit its websites and stores more than 1.5 billion times each year. In the United States, more than 70 percent of Americans are within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store and is among the largest ecommerce retailers in the United States. Additionally, the company operates businesses in Canada and Mexico. Altogether, Best Buy employs more than 140,000 people and earns annual revenues of more than $40 billion.

Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) is a citywide, year-round program that sees all of Chicago as a classroom — with endless opportunities to learn new skills, discover passions and build pathways to further education and careers. Digital badges offered through CCOL recognize learning across programs in the initiative — whether at a park, museum, library, or on-line course — giving learners a digital portfolio that communicates the skills they have developed. CCOL is led by the City of Chicago and Digital Youth Network at DePaul University, and is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more information, visit, email [email protected] or call 312.822.0505.