TULSA, Oklahoma - From JJ Cale to the Hanson brothers, Oklahoma has always had a strong musical influence.

Tulsa even has a genre named after it; “The Tulsa Sound” was coined as a mixture of rockabilly, country, rock ‘n' roll and blues.

Last week, the early notes of a youth Tulsa sound began to form as some aspiring young musicians participated in the Youth Rocks Afterschool Program at the Woody Guthrie Center.

With Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West so popular on the radio, it's not often that a group of students say their musical influences include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who.

That's the case, however, for the 15 aspiring Tulsa musicians that gathered in the Woody Guthrie Center classroom where they'll meet every Friday for the Youth Rock Afterschool Program.

Their hope is to not just learn music, but to learn how to become musicians; and they'll get some help from established local musicians along the way.

The program is an expansion of a summer series the center held where program director and local musician Cody Clinton said they had one major complaint.

“It was like, kind of a pilot project to kinda see if things would work, and then it went great. The only complaint we had was that it wasn't long enough and they didn't get enough time to be here,” he said.

Clinton and the Woody Guthrie Center took the feedback and decided to expand. Now, students that sign up will be in class every Friday afternoon from 4:30 – 6:00 until May 29th.

Becky Hawkes with the Woody Guthrie Center said they wanted to do the program for a number of reasons.

“Some schools have been forced to eliminate or reduce their Arts programs due to recent cuts in state funding. We want to help fill the void and provide affordable access to arts education. We also want to encourage students to express their creativity and realize the power behind creative expression,” Hawkes said.

Clinton reiterated the importance of music but said the Youth Rocks Afterschool Program isn't just music lessons.

“We're not doing any one-on-one music lessons here,” Clinton said. “We're gonna do stuff on management, and music licensing and various other aspects of the business side of things.”

He said the entire lesson plan will focus on various sections including:

  • Songwriting
  • Music Appreciation
  • Music Business/Management/Booking
  • Band Rehearsal/Music Workshops/Forming a Band or Group
  • Recording Music
  • Making a Music Video
  • Performing Live

After each of the steps has been completed, the program will show off its students by throwing a concert on the Guthrie Green stage May 31.

Clinton said the students will perform original songs written during the program.

“The idea is, write a song, learn a little about the business, learn how to record, record the song, shoot the video and perform the concert. It's all gonna be, step by step, building up through that process,” he said.

You can learn more information about the program on the Woody Guthrie Center website.

Anyone interested can sign-up until the end of February. The price is $80 a month, but discounts are available for those who qualify.