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Social Justice Through Music


With generous support from California Humanities For All, Foster City Library & local musicians.

Digital Monkey School Foundation and the Foster City Library present Social Justice Through Music, a five-session weekly series. These workshops for middle school and high school musicians offer an opportunity for students to reflect on present-day social justice issues and give it form via individual expression. By the end of the series, young musicians will gain an understanding of the power and capacity of music as a cultural force. Then, they will convey their mastery of musical techniques and perform their own renditions of selections from our curriculum.

PERFORMANCES 07/03, 07/10, 07/17, 07/24, 07/31, 08/04

The public is invited to attend the concert that showcases work by composers who expressed their social justice beliefs through their art, such as Beethoven and Gershwin along with artist from the 60’s, like Bob Dylan, along with modern songwriters who express their political views through music. The workshops also include open discussions with the audience.

About the Program This program will appeal to students of diverse backgrounds who have an interest in social activism, music, and making a difference in their community. This timely and socially relevant curriculum is also a celebration of the pivotal role music has played in inspiring and reflecting social justice movements. We will take students on a guided exploration of the historically symbiotic relationship between music and social justice from the Classical and Romantic periods, and 20th Century genres, such as jazz and musical/tone poems. We will place social justice issues into the context of the time and place from which each emerged. Each week we’ll spotlight a different topic, from analysis of different techniques used in music to convey messages of equality and politics to exploration of different social justice issues.


Opening day of Social Justice Through Music Workshop (July 3, 2018) featured a historical overview of different musical genres and their influences on prominent social justice movements.


Social Justice Through Music workshop featuring live cello performances of the works of Joseph Haydn and Edward Elgar to compliment the discussion about the artists’ roles in social class movement and nationalism.



Singer and songwriter Irina Mynchkin shares her covers of songs by Joan Baez, Neil Young, etc, which influenced many peaceful protest movements, along with her own composition about social unity.


San Francisco hip hop artists La Niebla, Versoul, and Kyla Williams lead an interactive workshop about the five elements of hip hop, featuring their own live music.