Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, who started playing music at age 4, is working with Tulane University to create a corps of musician-mentors who will guide the next generation of New Orleans musical artists.
High school performers must audition to participate in the free after-school program at Tulane. Some students who join the academy may not aspire to attend college, but organizers hope bringing them on campus will change their minds. “They will see they can be part of the Tulane community,” McBride says.
The Trombone Shorty Academy's purpose is to teach young musicians the rich musical traditions of the region. Starting with gospel, traditional jazz and early brass band music, students will study rhythm and blues, soul and “SupaFunkRock,” Trombone Shorty's unique style of New Orleans music.
Andrews also foresees the academy as a place that empowers youth to choose music as a career. That means teaching music fundamentals and business acumen. Once students learn to write music, McBride says, they can learn to copyright a song.
Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.