The High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), a Minnesota-founded charter school, plans to open its Los Angeles campus in Hawthorne, California on Thursday (September 6).
Dr. Jennifer Murphy, Program Director for Centinela Media Arts Academy in Hawthorne, announced Friday (August 31) that HSRA / Studio 4 will blend their curriculum, faculty and unique recording arts program with the Centinela Media Arts Academy, which is a part of the Centinela Valley Union School District, to form the High School for Recording Arts, Los Angeles.
“[The] High School for Recording Arts is the first school in the U.S. to incorporate pop-culture — specifically hip-hop — into its curriculum,” said HSRA’s Program Director, Bryan Rossi, of the school’s importance. “We use experiential learning to connect core subjects like English, science, social studies and math, by relating them to the music business.
“With the benefit of the small class format, students of HSRA LA will get individualized instruction, while they gain mastery in all areas of the music business, including engineering and production, graphic design, copy writing, marketing, artistic performance, contract negotiation, manufacturing, publishing, licensing, and more.”
The school will house Studio-4, the school’s in-house state-of-the-art 48-track recording studio; a professional music production faculty to train and mentor students; and a pre-production area, rehearsal space, and performance stage.
Phil Winden, studio director for Studio 4, recently relocated to California from Minnesota to jump start the program. “It is our educational philosophy that all students, irrespective of their economic or social background, have access to state of the art equipment to learn from that will best prepare them for an increasingly competitive global work environment,” Winden said.
Additionally, HSRA L.A. will serve as headquarters for the student-operated record label, Another Level Records, which also produces The Fo-Show, a 30-minute radio show that currently airs weekly on top rated Twin Cities radio station, B-96 FM. Like their MN counterpart, the students at HSRA L.A. can look forward to producing their own radio show; guest lectures from music industry execs and celebrities; trips abroad and fund-raising and marketing projects.
HSRA’s flagship school located in St. Paul, Minnesota was founded 10 years ago by former Warner Bros. / Paisley Park recording artist, David “T.C.” Ellis. In 1998, Ellis took several young men who had dropped out of school who were hanging out at his studio, wanted to record their music, learn more about the recording industry and opened the HSRA to 9-12 grade at-risk teens.
“As a troubled teen in the Twin Cities, it was the love and intervention from my family and other adults that saved me from a life of crime,” said Ellis. “I had to give these kids a second chance like I was give… I knew I could get through to them if I could demonstrate that education and hard work would be imperative in achieving their music industry aspirations. The bonus is that these kids are so talented. I know I have found my life’s work, and I feel truly blessed.”
According to the HSRA, over 70% of the students who have attended their program over the past nine years have graduated. They are also a grant recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.