VH1 Battle for the Bands Winners 2012

We are huuuge supporters of efforts to improve music education in our schools.   Our site’s founder, Ron Worthy, took instrumental music throughout elementary school and junior high school and later in college.   Music education is vital in our schools as it keeps the pipeline of musicians coming when we need it most.  In addition, music education provides a needed positive diversion for kids who are often lured into poor decisions because they lack options.  Kudos to VH1 for their effort. Enjoy these submissions which won in various categories:

The Battle for the Bands winners are:

Best Original Music Video and winner of your very own Pop Up Video to be premiered on VH1.com:

Team Name: Cody Chops
City: Littleton, CO
Why is music education important to you?
I have been performing since I was eight years old with my family bluegrass band. Since then I have been in several rock and blues bands. Starting my freshman year of high school, I joined choir. My director has taught me how to perform professionally, sing correctly without hurting my vocal chords, notice those around me with an open mind, and to have dedication with everything I do. No only that, but my Recording Arts
teacher, Ron Gordon, has taught me how to mix and master music, record sessions at a professional level and timely manner, mic instruments to get a full and natural sound, and how to set up and take down recording sessions. With all that I’ve learned from my high school music teachers, I am now ready to jump in to the industry, either as a performer or a recording engineer.

How did your video come together?
The director of this video, Drew Byerly, has been my close friend for about 12 years. When I noticed this opportunity, I imediately called him and showed him the requirements. From there, we met several times to plot out the video, arrange dates, shoot the footage, and edit it.

What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was that there were only two of us. Drew’s production team was unable to attend due to various auditions and other projects

Best Spoken Word Video and winner of a Taylor Acoustic Guitar:

Team Name: The “Music Is Important To Me Because…” Project
City: Niwot, Colorado
Why is music education important to you?
Music education important to me because I’ve personally experienced the impact that it can have on young adults. Core subjects like math, English, history, and science are all very important, but a curriculum is simply not complete without music. Having choir and band classes relieve my stress which helps me focus in my other classes. Music education has allowed me to develop leadership and networking skills through roles including section leader in choir, student director of the school musical and captain of the marching band’s color guard. Music hasn’t just helped me academically. Throughout high school, it has also helped me deal with difficult family situations and personal issues including depression and anxiety. I am able to cope with anything life throws at me because of the values and confidence I’ve gained from music education.

How did your video come together?
The goal of my video is to show how many people are positively affected by music and music education. I went straight to the source and asked people at my high school to finish the statement “Music is important to me because…”. Initially, I made an event on Facebook and invited a lot people simply to raise awareness about what I was trying to do. I brought my camera and a manila envelope filled with printer paper and black markers to school and presented my idea to my classes. Everyone was excited about the concept and was eager for their voice to be heard. Over the course of two days, I took photos during lunch, in the hall, and during class. I was astonished at the sheer number of replies, ranging from simply “It brightens my day” to the heart wrenching answer of “It saved my life”. Then, I spent an entire weekend editing the video, focusing on the order of the photos and making the transitions fit with the song to create the most impact. Once I uploaded the finished product to Facebook so those involved could see what they had helped create, it went viral. I had people telling me that they were incredibly touched (several even confessed to tearing up) and that the video really communicated to them just how important music is in schools. Mission: accomplished.

What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I faced in making my video was simply getting the word out and explaining myself clearly. I had to communicate the exact format in which I wanted people to write their answers. I was also concerned that the people I asked to participate who weren’t involved in music wouldn’t see the project or music education itself as valid and worth their time. Fortunately, I was proved wrong, and people (even my math teacher) had a reason as to why music was important to them.

Best Parody Video and winner of tickets to a concert in your area:

LMS Contemporary Youth Orchestra

Team Name: LMS Contemporary Youth Orchestra
City: Lennox, CA

Why is music education important to you?
I am the music teacher at Lennox Middle School, and while we come from one of the more impoverished areas of Southern California, music is one of the few places where the language you speak at home, how long you have been in this country, or how much money you have don’t matter. It’s the place where every feels needed and welcome. Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, we have seen our numbers and resources consistently diminish. The goals of our LMS Contemporary Youth Orchestra are to apply our skills and resources to various social issues and gain support for our very unique music program through advocacy.

How did your video come together?
Through group discussion, the theme of bullying was chosen. Because of its raw energy and aggressive nature, we then chose the song, “Killing in the Name Of,” by Rage Against the Machine as our sort of template. After several brainstorming and songwriting sessions, we recorded all the music and vocals live. Next, we discussed the look and theme of our video, then scouted locations around campus. Finally, we shot and edited the video in one day. It was a fun process that we will cherish forever.
What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was the songwriting. We wanted to capture the emotion of bullying, but always refer to “us’ and “we,” to indicate that victims are not alone, and we are all part of the solution.
Rock Star Prize and winner of the opening slot at Lollapalooza:

Team Name: Point To Infinity
City: Houston, TX
Why is music education important to you?
Music education is important to me because it gives students a chance to get away from the stress of school and freely express themselves. Also, music education helps students learn about the music that they play, whether it be orchestra, band, or choir, and understand how hard famous musical artists work to rise to the top. Also, students can receive many scholarships from music-related things and being committed to any fine arts program for four years looks good on their resume when applying for college.

How did your video come together?
This past summer, me and three musically talented friends decided to create a band called, Point To Infinity. We’ve played at shows before, but this was our first time playing at The Satellite Room. This song is one of our favorite songs and a fan favorite. Our good friend and photographer, Steve Hebert recorded this video of us playing our song, Twitterpated.

What was the biggest challenge?
We wanted to start this band before the summer, but because of school we never had time to get together and practice. Now, we are all seniors and we have more time to get together regularly to practice our music which are all original songs. Though, our biggest challenge, I would say, is finding shows to play. Since we don’t have a manager or an agent it is hard to arrange shows where we can play.

Scholarship Recipients:

Team Name: Music’s Awesome
City: Santa Rosa, California
Why is music education important to you?
Music education is important to us on a variety of levels. As stated in our music video, “MUSIC’S AWESOME!” Music has been an important part of each of our lives. Music really does stimulate many aspects of your mind such as coordination, memorization, and even on some level your capacity for knowledge. It boggles my mind that people are tearing music out of the school system, for me it has always been apart of my education and I am now going off to college to pursue musical theater which, in fact, also has a bit of music in it. Music has always been there for me, it’s there when I’m sad, when I’m happy, and when I;m half asleep making my morning commute to school. Music is all around us in our everyday lives so, why is it being taken out schools?

How did your video come together?
Funny story actually, I was surfing the web looking for some scholarships online when I stumbled upon this project. I did a bit of research found the requirements and signed myself up. The next day I saw my friend Barry at school and asked if he’d give me a hand. He was more than happy to help! Then I told him we could win $1,000 scholarship money. He was happy before, now he was pumped. We wrote the song originally just with the piano, but we felt it wasn’t quite full enough. That’s when Gabe was added into the mix, he’s one of the best violin players I know and we knew this would be a good addition. We added other various instruments such as a melodica, guitar, and a couple drums. We asked our friends Jordan and Vivienne if they’d like to help us out in the video process. We wanted it to give off more of a school vibe by having a couple people walking around.

What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was getting everyone together. We all have very busy schedules with school and various rehearsals. Actually, all of us are in a show together right now! We were eventually able to catch a break though. Barry, Gabe and I, who are all in a show being put on by Santa Rosa High School, were able to get out of two after school rehearsals so we were able to film it all then! There a couple speed bumps, but all in all it turned quite well. I’m proud of what we’ve done and hope everyone enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it!
GRAND PRIZE WINNER and recipient of $5,000 grant to save music education in your school:

Team Name: Sodasia Thompson, Joe Pastore
City: Bay Shore, NY
Why is music education important to you?
Music education is so important to us because it opens up an entirely new lifestyle. Because music is about more than JUST the sound. it’s about the words, the movement and the feeling and effort which help us as kids, teens and adults, express ourselves in a healthy way that can also help others. Our teachers show us what exactly it means to be a “musician” and they truly care about us and our music. Without them and without music ed, life would be boring and probably a lot more violent. There is absolutely no way that taking away music ed from schools could be a positive thing at ALL, and every adult who has a say in a decision like that should realize just how important music is to us and the world. it is a necessity, just like the food we eat or the air we breathe. Music is life.

How did your video come together?
The song itself was written actually a little while before we both heard about the contest. I (sodasia thompson), wrote this song because my music teacher had one day asked me to think about life without music. and the day after, i had the whole song. I saw this contest advertisement on TV and immediately called my classmate who excells in multimedia and said, “WE HAVE TO DO THIS”. Our music teacher knew that we would do something great together and helped us the entire way through.

What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for us was definitely editing the video and putting it all together. there was a lot of time and hard work spent on making it perfect and really making it a part o the song itself. the music came really easily because when you’re passionate about something, and everybody is, you make time for it always and it literally becomes the flow of ones own emotions rather than making words rhyme or fit together. overall we had so much fun with this project and we really appreciate the opportunity to tell the world why music should never be taken from us.

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