Empowering the Youth with Music

Students enjoying a music class at Department of Sound. Photo courtesy of Department of Sound.


Sacramento natives John Hamilton and Tyler Garnett launched Department Of Sound in 2019, believing everyone should have access to music education and its benefits. Access to audio and music should be a community utility, they said, rather than a luxury.

Music drives the heart and soul of this organization, and its programs allow youths to benefit both personally and professionally. Since its launch, the nonprofit has worked to empower youth through education and by providing resources that help to create a platform for self-expression and personal development.

Through its free workshops, the nonprofit hopes to inspire the next generation of artists and help their hometown of Sacramento become the next big music hub. The nonprofit has already reached over 400 students and have another 3000+ enrolled in programs starting this Fall/Winter.

The organization had been deep into planning its Music Producer Academy Series – an eight-week intensive music production and podcasting program workshop – when it was shuttered in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Undaunted, the nonprofit quickly restructured its game plan and reshaped its program from in-person sessions to an entirely digital classroom.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation came on to support the nonprofit’s Music Producer Academy Series in early 2020. That helped the organization pivot and arrange the exclusively online program for music education, including instructor-led classes, additional lab time and seminar panels, all taking place on video conferencing platform Zoom.

By bringing these classes online, Department of Sound was determined to continue the music-centric education, offering a fun, creative and therapeutic platform in a time of uncertainty.

“This pandemic has been rough for young people. When schools and other community-driven activities shut down in March, we understood that as an organization, we immediately had a much larger responsibility within our community,” said John Hamilton, founder and executive director of Department of Sound.

He added, “We had to make some major changes and through the support of organizations such as the Blavatnik Family Foundation, we have these new online programs where we are enrolling new students every day. By taking our classes online, we are now able to bring in more students to the fold and we project the growth will continue.”