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    Jecorey '1200' Arthur performing
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    Jecorey Arthur, better known as 1200, is a man of many aptitudes. He is a teacher, program director and talented musician- these titles only scratching the surface of his influence in the Louisville music scene.

    He began composing music at age 10. At age 12, he saved his money and bought a KORG D-1200, a digital recorded with a CD burner. “I was on it so much my best friend started calling me 1200. I’ve been 1200 for over a decade,” he said. At 10 years old, 1200 didn't know that his influence on our urban environment, music education and his success as a performer in Louisville was only beginning. What led you to become a music teacher?

    1200: "I decided to teach because I owe my life to my music teachers. I want to help someone the way I was helped. I teach general music to all 500 students at Hite (kindergarten through fifth grade). I also direct the Junkyard Hawks Percussion Ensemble, Hite Jam Band, and teach private lessons to many of the students in those groups." So, you teach over 500 students at Hite Elementary School. How do those students influence you?
    1200: "My students influence me more than anyone. They have the most creative ideas. No one would ever know, but some of my show concepts originate from the minds of kindergartners." Describe what you do with Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED) Louisville.

    1200: "I’m the Program Director. I decide what curriculum is taught, who teaches it, and how they teach it. I also plan and organize many of their performances." Do you think music has the potential to bring a community together? To end violence? To prevent kids from going down the wrong path?

    1200: "My concerts exemplify music bringing communities together. You might come to my show and see my grandmother in the crowd, next to Mayor Fischer, next to a third grader, next to Jalin Roze, next to Teddy Abrams.
    Music has potential for anything. Some of it incites violence, and some attempts to stop it. I promote peace and love, but I also share stories of darkness. That’s reality. Shakespeare wrote comedies and he also wrote tragedies.
    I’m a living, breathing example of music keeping kids from going down 'the wrong path.'" How would you like to see music education progress in the future?

    1200: "I want to see more non-classical musicians contributing to it. Rappers don’t realize how much they influence kids. Classical musicians can’t relate or motivate kids who live where I’m from, but a kid’s favorite rapper can. I’m fortunate enough to be a rapper and a classical musician. I want music education to truly embrace all cultures. A lot of music teachers are afraid of hip hop. Then they wonder why certain kids don’t like their music class. Taking risks and research go a long way. We are raising the future. Don’t contain their creativity."
 In an interview with the Courier-Journal you said, “Music is the single most engaging subject that there is.” Can you explain this further? I think that’s a beautiful proclamation.
    1200: "How many people like math? How many people like history? How many people like science? How many people like reading? How many people like music?" How does the Louisville music scene inspire you?

    1200: "Life is the ultimate inspiration. Inspiration comes in an unlimited amount of ways. If I go to a rock concert and every band sounds the same, I’m inspired to make sure I stick out as much as possible at a hip hop show. If I go to a rock concert and every band sounds different, I’m probably on that bill just to make it even more diverse." What do you think about the Louisville music scene and where do you fit in?

    1200: "I have an interesting perspective, because I’m performing in the scene and booking acts. I’m also teaching the next generation of musicians. I was recently appointed as Music Director for a series of events at the Speed Art Museum and I program Resurfaced.

    I have a lot of acts to book. I don’t listen to anything but Louisville music. I don’t have time to listen to anything else. The Louisville music scene has some hidden gems in it. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for groups like The Tunesmiths, Maiden Radio, Ut Gret, Tall Squares, Twin Limb, Stereo Empire, and Fredrick The Younger." Which artists, locally or globally, inspire you?

    1200: "Most of the artists that inspire me are dead – Tchaikovsky, Big L, Stravinsky, Debussy, Berstein, Tupac, etc. In Louisville I’m inspired by Teddy Abrams. He’s the first person I felt like ever understood me musically and aesthetically. We are on the same mission right now. Someone else I’ve been inspired by is Kogan Dumb. A lot of people don’t know this, but he’s a very talented photographer. He also does videos, raps, and plenty more. That inspires me. If you are doing something unique, you inspire me. Beyond The Pen Clothing inspires me. People who take risks inspire me. Astronauts inspire me. Who else is taking a bigger risk than an astronaut?" Tell me about performing at Forecastle with Dr. Dundiff this past summer.

    1200: "It was the most fun I’ve had in a while. I wish I could have enjoyed the rest of the festival, but I was dying from heat. I performed three times that day. Being at Forecastle felt like a family affair, and Dr. Dundiff was the grandfather. What a wonderful human." If you could be an opening performer for anyone, who would it be?

    1200: "I want to open a show for a Beethoven hologram."
  Describe your dream performance. The venue? The opening act?

    1200: "I want to perform at the KFC Yum Center with Jordan Jetson opening."
  Where do you see 1200 in five years?

    1200: "I’ll be teaching and performing around the world. I’ll definitely still be doing that in Louisville, but I want to give the rest of the world what I have to offer.

    Keep yours eyes peeled for 1200 in 2016. Although many of his endeavors will be a surprise, which we can all look forward to, he did share that he will be recording a lot of music and film. "I'm also working on several education initiatives and projects with musicians, in and out of the country."

    Photos courtesy of 1200.

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    About Alexis Messmer

    2015 University of Louisville graduate. All things social media, marketing, writing, sneakers, photography, music, and a whole lot of coffee.

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