NYer of the Week: Phi Pham Helps Students Build Life Skills One Beat at a Time

The latest New Yorker of the Week is a longtime DJ who encourages kids to become the creative leaders of tomorrow. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

Music creates movement, and the students of "Building Beats" take that opportunity and turn it into knowledge and power. By learning the DJ basics, they become better listeners and creators.

Phi Pham provides the foundation. With 15 years of experience, this DJ created "Building Beats."

"A lot of the students in our programs have never worked with music before and have never made their own song before. So we really believe just turning them to understand that if they're a creator, they're able to make anything in the future," he says.

The nonprofit offers free music production workshops to young New Yorkers in low-income neighborhoods.

"It's great to just have the control to bring people together. It makes you feel like you're doing something that the world can care about," Phi says. "What we hope to inspire with these kids is the same reaction."

"The Building Beats class is pretty amazing. It's great. I love it," says student Nyla Curry.

"Building Beats" mixes up each class with different systems and software. The program instills an entrepreneurial spirit, promotes collaboration, and develops tech savviness.

Phi's mission is to empower kids to taken on any project in life.

"He did good because now it's like exposing kids to things they didn't know they could do," says student Talese Evans.

"Organization is one of them. Integrity is another one. Being true to yourself when you're making music is very important, and being true to yourself when you live your life," said Chaz Van Queen, a teaching artist with Building Beats.  

The workshops are held at community centers, art spaces and schools.

Since 2013, Building Beats has reached more than 700 students in the five boroughs.

"Now that I took this course, I believe I can accomplish more things," says student Paige Parker Martin.

"The increase in their self-esteem and the ability for them to understand that working together, they can make bigger things happen, is really inspiring and really allows us to continue doing our work," Phi says.

So, for building life skills one beat at a time, Phi Pham is our New Yorker of the Week.

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