About Music

Have you ever wanted to play drums, perform on stage, make beats on a beat machine, DJ, and most importantly make music? Youth Art Exchange offers two different music classes. Take one or both!

Music Production

The youth musicians in the digital music program use Abelton Live and MIDI to create their own digital soundscapes, remix tracks, or score a film. A lot of our young music producers also take or collaborate with the percussion program and other young musicians to create new sounds. In collaboration with SFJAZZ, our young producers have access to the digital lab, performance space at SFJAZZ, and renowned digital artists. Our young producers have performed at SOMArts, SFJAZZ, SF Beautiful, and tons of community events. They have also performed with the SFJAZZ High School All Stars.

In addition to our after school program, for the 2017–18 school year, YAX is leading an in-school Music Production class at Leadership High School.

Traditional Percussion

Percussion explores musical traditions reflective of the African Diaspora and Latin America including Cuban Bomba y Plena, Brazilian Bloco, Haitian Percussion, and more. The percussion program strives to preserve cultural traditions by passing on traditional rhythms and music on to young musicians. Our young musicians work with master percussionists throughout the year, including our in-school program at Leadership High School and in our stipended summer internship program in collaboration with SFJAZZ. Our youth musicians have performed live at SFJAZZ, SOMArts, Galería de la Raza, the Mission 24th Street BART station, Incline Gallery, Asterisk Gallery, Adobe Books, and the Stern Grove Festival.

Every Summer SFJAZZ Education partners with Youth Art Exchange to present the Beats on the Corner project, with the aim to preserve culture and heritage in the Mission District through percussive traditions.
Each week students will work with a different SFJAZZ teaching artist to study and create music that reflects what they have learned each week. The project culminates in several performances throughout SF to showcase the students work with the instructors.

Notable Projects

  • Digibeats final performance at SFJAZZ, 2016
  • Digibeats final performance at SFJAZZ, 2015
  • Beats on the Corner public performance series, 2016
  • Beats on the Corner public performance series, 2015
  • Beats on the Corner public performance series, 24th Street BART + Galería de La Raza, 2014
  • Digital Music/DigiBeats with SFJAZZ at Children’s Creativity Museum, 2014
  • Traditional Percussion/Music Production at SFJAZZ Henderson Lab, 2014
  • Traditional Percussion/Music Production at Asterisk Gallery, 2013
  • Traditional Percussion/Music Production at Eric Quezada Center, 2013
  • Traditional Percussion/Music Production at Stern Grove Festival, 2012

Project Gallery

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Alfie Macias | Digibeats + Traditional Percussion

Alfie teaches Afro-Brazilian drumming and percussion ensemble. He has studied and performed with noted percussionists, Gamo Paz and Jorge Alabe from Brazil, and locally with Carlos Aceituno, Zeke Neally and Kwaku Dady as well as ensembles including Aguas de Bahia and Fogo Na Roupa. He is an accomplished salsa dance instructor and also teaches with Loco Bloco, the San Francisco Arts Education Project and Project Avary, a summer arts camp for at-risk youth. Alfie has been the musical director of both Loco Bloco & is the musical director of the dance company Sambaxé. He and his drumming students regularly collaborate with Sambaxé. Alfie has been with Youth Art Exchange for six years.



Key Partners