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Studio on the Go is a program based out of Flint, Mich., that teaches kids the fundamentals of songwriting and music production. The idea is to not imitate the stuff you hear on the radio, but to write your own songs — and the songs the kids write are not your typical bubblegum pop. There are a few ground rules, of course: You've got to keep it positive, and no swearing.
The project is the brainchild of longtime Flint music producer Pharlon Randle. These days, Randle has a handful of guys working for him: The group puts on several workshops each day in schools and community centers. The kids get attention from the adult instructors because, Randle says, "They don't have a lot of that one-on-one positive male attention to push them in the right direction to do something great."
Many of the kids use their time at Studio on the Go as an escape from the trouble in their daily lives. But the supportive atmosphere also helps foster individual growth by building the children's confidence and public-speaking skills.
"I wasn't confident with my words. I was not good at speaking like now. I was kind of a shy person," says Khalil Taylor, 15, who's adopted the stage name Real Deal. "So now, when I feel like I want to express something, I can just put it out there with no hesitation. [I'm] more confident with my stuff."