• Cody Davidson ‘teaches’ his love of music
By Christina Whiting
As recipient of this year’s Homer Council on the Arts award for Art Education, Cody Davidson inspires and empowers local youth by sharing his love of music.
“Cody reaches an audience that is often overlooked and can benefit from being able to express themselves in the arts,” said Diane Borgman, HCOA Board President.
Davidson moved to Homer in 2001, and started Youth on Record Alaska in 2011. He provides quality music instruction to Homer’s youth through weekly classes supported by Haven House and Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic’s R.E.C. Room.
The program is open to youth aged 13 to 19, and requires no musical background; only a love of music.
“A lot of collaboration takes place in my classes,” Davidson said. “One student might write songs, another might sing.”
Davidson follows a curriculum that includes basic understanding of digital production and history, song structure, lyrics, recording and other lessons.
His goal of turning students into student teachers has already been accomplished, as former student Alex Clayton comes in each week to help teach.
Davidson said Emmett Meyer attends the weekly class as a student, but his gifted musical abilities and desire to teach make him a great mentor.
“I’m lucky to have him in my class,” Davidson said. “He’s an integral part of what we do here.”
Davidson and two friends started Youth on Record Denver in 2010, teaching in multiple residential treatment facilities, as well as various inner-city schools.
“Our goal is to inspire and empower at-risk youth by using music instruction and production,” he said. “Music is a great way to break into inner circles of people — like youth — who might not otherwise want to talk to adults.”
Committed to helping at-risk youth, the trio worked full time with very little funding, and volunteered much of their work. With Davidson working hand-in-hand as a partner artist, Youth On Record first merged with a band/organization called “The Flobots.” Now, Youth on Record is its own entity.
In 2011, Davidson received a Governor’s Men Choose Respect grant. The grant supports partnerships between male leaders and community organizations that work to promote safe and respectful relationships.
“The grant allowed me to purchase recording equipment, software and 10 laptop computers,” he explained.
In Homer, Davidson’s goal was to offer classes to 10 students, but it’s common for 20 or more to show up. He said one of his greatest challenges has been the shortage of computers, as many of his current computers are outdated, and a few have crashed. He is working to get 20 new laptop computers to accommodate all the students who come to learn from him.
“I love music production,” Davidson said. “Lots of what I create involves playing drums for one part, piano for another, and finding someone to sing for another part.”
Davidson not only digitally creates instruments and sounds from scratch, he also creatively merges them with composing.
“Digital production is how most music is recorded today,” he said. “If Bach wanted to record a symphony today, he would do so using digital production tools.”
Art is a way of life for Davidson, and he is grateful for Homer’s thriving art community.
“Arts in Homer is such a huge scene,” he said. “Here, everyone walks forward together. It’s part of the culture of Homer and I don’t think there are many other communities where I could do what I’m doing here.”
Davidson said he was humbled to be chosen for the arts award.
“When you go through life as an artist, you don’t get a lot of recognition for your work unless you’re famous,” he said. “When you do, it’s an honor that reaffirms that this is the path you’re supposed to be taking.”
In addition to running Youth on Record Alaska, Davidson works as a commercial fisherman, as well as a skills trainer at Homer Flex School. He plays the piano and drums, as well as singing and performing his original music at venues around town. He has performed at Homer High’s homecoming, and created original compositions for the Nutcracker Ballet, where he acted as music director.
Davidson and his wife, Brittani, have four children: Harmony, 10, Justice, 8, Talon, 2, and Sabriel, 3 and a half months. He said he is grateful for his wife’s support of the time and energy he puts in to his art.
Youth on Record classes are Fridays, 3-6 p.m. at the R.E.C. Room on Ben Walter’s Lane. (Behind the Family Planning Clinic.)
For more information on Youth on Record, contact Cody at 299-4472 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit Youth on Record Alaska on Facebook.
Cody will be recognized for his work in the arts community, along with other HCOA arts award recipients, during a public awards ceremony at HCOA on Friday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.
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