Boys & Girls Club Unveils New Music Studio

music collage


By Maty Swartz


The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica (BGCGB) is making an instrumental change to its Makerspace with a brand-new music studio.


The Makerspace itself was a recent addition to BGCGB’s flagship site at 19 Campbell Road. The new space allowed members to experiment with state-of-the-art equipment while stretching their creative muscles. Offerings included photography, graphic design, video filming and editing, videogame design, computer coding, robotics, and prop design—just to name a few. The Makerspace also featured a small music room for guitar, piano, drum, and percussion lessons.

The idea for a music studio expansion was formed via a partnership with Music & Youth, a Massachusetts-based organization with a mission to “create accessible, sustainable, high-quality music programs so every young person can experience the magic of music.”

According to STEAM and Makerspace Director Bobby Ackroyd, the support from Music & Youth is helping the Club take its music programming to new heights.  

“Even though music was always a big part of the Makerspace programming, we could only dedicate about 20% of the schedule to it, as we have about two dozen different STEAM programs happening over the course of the school year,” Ackroyd says. “Members will still have access to all the instruments we've accumulated over the years, but thanks to this partnership with Music and Youth, we have all of this new equipment and software for music production.”

In addition to establishing a dedicated space for music programming, BGCGB is also welcoming a new music coordinator to help oversee the expansion.

“Beck has only been here for a short time, but he has already exceeded all expectations,” Ackroyd says. “Musically, he checks off more boxes than a single human being should be able to, especially at such a young age. Beck is super creative, as are our members, so I know [the music program] is going to change and grow exponentially.”

With Beck at the helm of the project, Ackroyd says that members will be able to produce their very own songs, tracks, and albums from this new, state-of-the-art space. He adds that having access to this professional-grade equipment will not only allow Club kids to expand their musical interests—it will also help them develop new skills and hone existing ones.

“Playing music for its own sake is a worthy cause in and of itself, but the technical skills these kids and teens will pick up using our hardware and software will help them out in other areas,” Ackroyd says. “Art skills sharpen STEM skills, and conversely STEM skills sharpen art skills.  Each technique you pick up in one area makes you better in others, and this can lead to a lifelong path of recursive self-improvement.”  


Ackroyd grew up playing a variety of instruments and credits his lifelong passion for music for helping him get to where he is today.

“If I hadn't had access to those instruments as a kid, I wouldn't have spent my teens and 20s touring around in bands, learning how to record albums, edit videos, teaching myself how to do graphic design for album art and show flyers, band photography, writing press kits, et cetera,” he says. “The skills I picked up doing that is ultimately what led to the Club putting me in charge of the tech programming back in 2003.”

And now, Ackroyd and Beck alike have the opportunity to strike a new chord with Club members by helping them explore their interests and find their passions along the way.

“Our members can become polymaths or ‘renaissance people,’ well versed and excelling in multiple disciplines,” Ackroyd says. “It makes for a fuller life. You don't have to be an artist or an athlete, or a scientist or a musician or an engineer. Be all of them. All at once.”