The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (“Lennon Bus”) was founded in 1998 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization “committed to reaching youth through music and video”. While corporately based in New York City, the mission of the organization is carried out through a traveling bus, an audio and video recording studio on wheels. With the very newest technology and gear, the Bus continues to be dedicated to providing young people with tours of the studios and participation in free songwriting and multimedia production workshops. With the assistance of three on-board engineers, students learn how to write, perform, and record original songs, plus produce and shoot music videos or documentaries, completing a broadcast-quality production in a single visit.
The Bus is highly adaptable how to tender beef, designed to provide students, their schools and communities with performances, demonstrations, remote recordings, and studio sessions customized for their needs, levels of experience and interest. The Bus travels the country visiting schools, musical and technology conferences and events, and partners with newspapers and other media to host Battles of the Bands with the national winner selected online. The Bus is also able to produce live multi-camera video productions streamed to the web in real-time. All projects created on board are available for viewing on lennonbus.org, YouTube, and Facebook.
The Bus travels from coast to coast, making stops at K-12 schools, universities, Boys and Girls Clubs, concerts, trade shows, music festivals and more. At most stops the staff conducts free tours while providing an opportunity for a group of youths to record an original song and video. Each stop typically culminates in a community celebration and screening of the music and video just produced on the Bus. At some of its school visits, the Bus organizes a Battle of the Bands where students can engage in a friendly competition and the winning band may receive prizes. The Bus has also co-produced a course with the Digital Media Academy that is offered at several universities each summer, called “Come Together: Music and Video Production.” Requests for the Bus to stop at schools and communities across the U.S. are accepted at any time, but the high volume of requests that the staff receives results in the unfortunate reality that not all requests can be accommodated. Nevertheless, the Bus and its staff strive to reach as many people as possible in order to further music education.
The Bus’ interior is divided into three separate studio environments that can be opened to create one large studio. The front studio is an audio and video production room. The rear studio offers recording and mixing, as well as an iso booth for acoustic recordings, and a Chromatte (green screen) booth. Featuring Apple audio and video solutions, the studios are powered by Apple computers. Yamaha instruments including guitars, keyboards, and drums are included.
The Lennon Bus is connected to the professional recording industry. Recording artists, including will.i.am, Natasha Bedingfield and Justin Timberlake have recorded on the Bus and participated in outreach programs. In addition to isolated recording sessions, the Bus has accompanied headlining artists, such as The Black Eyed Peas, on their concert tours, allowing these artists to continue working on their records while they are on the road. Participants like Black Eyed Peas guitarist George Pajon and musical director Printz Board find time to inspire and be inspired.
In 2006, Edutopia, The George Lucas Educational Foundation, featured the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus on Edutopia.org. Edutopia’s video, “Making the Dreams of Young Musical Artists a Reality”, and article, “Rock and Roll into Town: Students Make Tracks in a Recording Studio on Wheels”, follow the bus’ progress and interviews executive director, Brian Rothschild. The article and video also showcase student musical progress from the bus’ instrumental and digital resources.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is made possible by Yoko Ono Lennon and the following sponsors and contributors:
Canon U.S.A., Inc., Apple, Inc., Juniper Networks, Other World Computing, Yamaha, Securematics, Neutrik, Line 6, The NAMM Foundation
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, SESAC, Digital Media Academy, Audio-Technica, Genelec, Sonnet Technologies, Focusrite, Avid, SSL, NewTek, TodoCast, IP Access, Reflecmedia online football shirts, Viprinet, Baker & McKenzie, Litepanels, Clear-Com, Anton/Bauer, AJA, Copperpeace, Applied Acoustics Systems, Mobile Roadie, McDSP, Native Instruments, IK Multimedia, Noise Industries, iZotope, Mad Mimi, Ableton, Mackie, Guitar Player, Bass Player, Electronic Musician, Keyboard Magazine, SKB, and LiveU.