Music used to help youth avoid crime and violence

LOUISVILLE, KY.  (WDRB-TV)–It has been a violent year across Metro Louisville.  But a local program and music studio are being used to help curb some of the crime and violence involving young people. 

22 year old Devon Wesley spends most of his free time in the west Louisville music studio.  He loves to sing, free style rap and play the keyboard.  It may just been music, but Wesley believes it has saved his life.

“Us youth, when we walk out the door, a lot of us, we ain’t going to tell you that of course, but a lot of us we probably thinking we scared for tomorrow.  We don’t know if we going to be here.”

That’s mainly because of the recent wave of violence in we’ve seen in Metro Louisville involving young people.  That includes a fatal shooting in the west end in the middle of a police homicide investigation in May.

“The day after that happened, we were in here, and we were just…it was real quiet,” says Lyndell Johnson, local music producer and mentor.

Johnson is working with Wesley and other at risk youth to help channel some of their anger and frustration.  They are all part of a program called MPMG.  Johnson says that stands for,”It’s music, production, mentoring group.”

The attraction is obviously the studio and the music, but the program beats to more than just one drum.  Johnson says, “So, we use that opportunity to start talking to them and start asking questions.  Well, how was school today or how was the relationship with you and your mom and dad or whatever.”

It’s a real music studio and the rates are even posted on the door, but there’s no charge for youth trying to stay out of trouble.

“Last thing we wanted them to worry about was the money aspect,” says Johnson.

And Johnson also reminds the youth that the riches and fame achieved by some of the artists who line the walls of the studio are still a longshot.  “We don’t want them to think when they come in here…thinking they’re going to be big stars. It’s not about that.”

And since he is doing what he loves, Devon Wesley is okay with that.

Wesley says, “If the money happens, that’s just a bonus for what I love to do.  That’s how I look at it now.”

The program is part of the River City Drum Corp.  The Drum Corp is another program that helps young people.

All of the programs are funded through donations and grant money.  Organizers say the goal is to eventually add female mentors and mentees.

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