Support Music Futures: A Message from Alex Shaw
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Support Music Futures: A Message from Alex Shaw

April 29, 2024


As a proud founding board member and a lead teaching artist for World Cafe Live, I am honored to be part of an organization committed to leveraging the power of live music in innovative and collaborative ways to inspire creative expression, stimulate deeper learning, and foster meaningful connections within communities.

In 2008, I and my dear colleagues, François Zayas and the late legendary Doc Gibbs, were invited to collaboratively create and present a sensory-rich and interactive music education program we called “World of Percussion,” the first of what has become WCL’s signature series known as Bridge Sessions. Integrating live performance and education, these immersive Bridge Sessions are led by expert teaching artists who represent both Philly and diverse music traditions from around the world, exploring powerful connections between music and the human experience, including culture, identity, social change, and embodied creative expression.

Since that first Bridge Session, World Cafe Live has been providing high-quality live music education programs in-house, free-of-charge, for tens of thousands of attendees from Philly public schools and human service organizations. For many of these audience members, our dynamic educational performances may be the only live music experiences they have access to all year. It is profound to witness how these programs activate audiences’ collective brilliance and joy, whether its jumping into freestyle dance sessions, improvising on percussion instruments, singing in multiple languages, or asking reflective and poignant questions about new connections they are making in the moment.

In tandem with these year-round offerings for intergenerational audiences, World Cafe Live also respects and values teaching artists through fair compensation, programmatic support, and professional sound and lighting production. Through generative collaborations with other teaching artists and the WCL staff, we, as arts educators, gain opportunities to strengthen our teaching practice, deepen our artistic relationships, and expand our professional networks. As we continue forward, I believe World Cafe Live is firmly establishing itself as a premier platform and leader in transformative music education programs for our Philadelphia communities and beyond.

Alex Shaw, WCL Teaching Artist & Board Member

Support Music Futures - Amplifying Philly's young voices through music education. A gift of any amount creates opportunities for Philly public school students in classrooms and at our venue. We need to raise $60,000 by May 31 - you can make an impact with a contribution today! Click to donate.