Switchfoot’s annual surf and music event the Bro-Am has long proven their passion for at risk youth in the San Diego area, but now the band is taking it a step farther by launching their own music school.
The school is located in Encinitas, California, which has also been the location of the group’s charity event over the last eleven years. Switchfoot will be housing the school in their Bro-Am studios. The band will be hand picking top notch instructors to provide both group and individual lessons in guitar and piano, offered on a pay-what-you-can basis to the area’s at risk youth.
In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune announcing the debut of the school, Switchfoot frontman and California native Jon Foreman explained the heart behind the yearly event and how that in turn led to the school. “We figured surfing and rock ‘n’ roll were the two things that kind of kept us out of trouble when we were kids, (so) let’s try and pass that forward,” Jon said of himself and his brother, Tim. “This school is, I guess, a logical extension of that. We got to thinking: ‘The Bro-Am happens one day a year. What if we had a physical location we could bring people to, and have that (Bro-Am concept) lived out, 365 days of the year?'”
The Bro-Am event has always been carried out with the kids in mind, and the school is no different. “We just wanted to throw a party for these kids that don’t get celebrated. We wanted to cheer them on and say: ‘Your story matters. You’re important.’ And we wanted to give them more than just money; we wanted to give them the idea that their community cares about them.”
The school is also a practical way the band can help fill the gap in a time when public schools are increasingly cutting funding to art programs– programs Jon Foreman feels are still vital. “I feel like music, in many ways, is a scaffolding for the soul that allows you to reach new places you can’t go without it.”