NEC Alumni Win First Prize at MIT Creative Arts Competition

 Derek Beckvold ’09 and Robert Jordon ’09 launched an online global music mentorship program with MIT student Mark Adams.

Four people hold up a giant check made out to Teach to Learn
Photo: H. Erickson/MIT

Derek Beckvold ’09 and Robert Jordon ’09 co-founded Teach to Learn with MIT student Mark Adams. Their project won the 2019 $15,000 first prize in the MIT Creative Arts Competition.

Mark Adams worked in agriculture in Zambia. Derek Beckvold taught music in a refugee camp outside of Erbil in Iraq. Robert Jordon gave piano lessons to young people in Afghanistan. Their experiences in the developing world, combined with a shared love of music (Adams is also a musician), inspired the three longtime friends to create “Teach to Learn,” an online global music mentorship program that connects musicians, teachers, and students across the globe.

Beckvold studied saxophone with Kenneth Radnofsky, while Jordon studied with Ra Kalam Bob Moses in the Jazz Studies department.

This marks the second consecutive year in which MIT's Creative Arts Competition awarded prizes to NEC-affiliated projects. Last year's first prize was awarded to Project Daredevil (Hapticomix), a project to create virtual reality for the blind using 3D radio-dramas with motion simulation, launched by Matthew Shifrin ’21.

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