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Kids create, learn art of music through Del Couch Music Education Foundation

6:25 PM, Mar 4, 2013   |    comments
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Trevor Bystrom, a senior at Manatee High School, has been an intern at Howling Dog Studio for a year now.



Palmetto, Florida -- Focusing on underprivileged and disadvantaged youth, the Del Couch Music Education Foundation works with local schools and civic organizations to provide services that have been reduced in schools.

"I grew up here and someone gave me an instrument to get me started playing and then, through my career, I stepped away from music for a long time. When I came back, I decided I needed to do something to help the kids of this community to further their musical dreams," said Couch, founder and director of Howling Dog Studio.

The Studio is a non-profit organization, based in Palmetto, but works with youth throughout central Florida.

"We get bombarded every day, from the kids who don't have the resources and from those in schools who don't provide the resources. The production side of this is not taught in any school in our area," said Couch.

Trevor Bystrom, a senior at Manatee High School, has been an intern at Howling Dog Studio for a year now. 

He said without this foundation, he wouldn't know where to begin his musical career and he definitely wouldn't have an album hitting stores in just a few weeks.

"He started right away! He had band members come in -- a drummer and a base player and we all started laying down tracks for the music," said Bystrom of Couch.

From musical instruments, to singing, to production, kids learn all the ins and outs of putting together an album.

"We teach music theory, guitar lessons, piano lessons. We provide instruments, band management and booking and copyrights for kids that write their own songs," said Couch.

On May 4, they will have their annual fundraiser at the Bradenton Auditorium, which helps fund the non-profit.  They also work with nationwide stores like Guitar Center to provide students with instruments.

"Talented kids from our area that are in the Foundation will perform. In addition we have some national stars Jeff Cook, the founder of Alabama, who will be there along with his band and Billy Dean who is a country music star," said Couch.

Students get to meet with talent agents who have work with national superstars to help guide them in the right direction.

"One of my bands is in the Country Music Hall of Fame, so if you're going to put your reputation on somebody, you have to know they have the dedication. What it takes to do this business and, so far, I think we have three," said Cyndee Boelkins, of Southern Star Productions.

Scholarships are also available through the Del Couch Music Education Foundation for selected students to Berklee College of Music, University of Florida and other universities throughout Florida.

Follow 10 News Reporter Lorena Rabago on twitter @LorenaVRabago

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