The Collective Sound

The Collective Sound (TCS a 501c3) is a youth music nonprofit organization, founded in 1998, where students write, record, and perform original music. TCS nurtures tomorrow’s innovators and leaders by providing music resources, programs, and environments through summer academies and after school programs. TCS has successfully created programs with CSU Chico, St. Mary’s College, The Boys & Girls Club of Venice and Laguna Beach, Avalon High School, Calistoga High School, Chico High School, Vanguard University, Concordia University, LaNau Barcelona, Bournemouth University, and Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. The foundation of our program is guided creative collaboration.

Our Mission

Original Music (Featured in Recordings, Music Videos & Performances), Music Technology & Music Industry


The goal of The Collective Sound is to provide resources that empower young musicians to develop their creativity in a guided collaborative environment. The Collective Sound aims to challenge the boundaries of music education with a curriculum that includes musicology, songwriting, recording technology, video, photography, music industry guest lectures, band clinics, field trips, live performance and touring. We believe that it is important for our programs to utilize the current state of independent and popular music to connect with our students via culturally relevant artistic movements. Students not only grow in their musical proficiency, but they also develop their creative thinking, collaborative skills, and understanding of current technologies. The inherent character development carries through to many of life’s challenges facing youth. The ability to develop ideas, communicate them with others, and share them with the world is an invaluable practice. The Collective Sound is that confluence, nurturing tomorrow’s creative innovators and leaders.

Executive Staff

Zac Smith

Zac Smith

Executive Director

Zac Smith founded The Collective Sound Summer Music Academy in 1998 while attending California State University, Chico. Growing up home schooled in a musical family he learned to play the guitar at a young age and decided to major in “Music Performance” and “Music Industry” at University. Learning about recording arts, composition and music business inspired him to create a student academy. From the beginning it was a place for youth to develop their creativity in a collaborative environment with other like minded musicians. It was designed to be an environment where students have guided access to the tools and resources necessary to bring their creative ideas to life both individually and as a group.

Holly Smith

Holly Smith

Director of Operations

Lovingly nicknamed 'The Headmaster' by the interns, Holly works behind the scenes to keep The Collective Sound organized and the musicians fed! Growing up Holly was involved in choir, musical theater and dance and has always loved the performance aspect of the arts. She now takes pleasure in watching the young musicians evolve over the course of camp. And in singing along to all of their songs from the audience.

As I have progressed through my career, The Collective Sound has proved an even more valid cause than I had first realized. Working creatively as a team is inherent in most everything I do; whether it is with other designers, in the process of making a film, conducting a photo shoot, or working with the staff at The Collective Sound. It is strange to me that CREATIVE COLLABORATION isn’t a more common occurrence in our education system. However, it is crucial to an individuals success in countless careers and in many areas of everyday life. At The Collective Sound we aim to be that confluence, nurturing tomorrows creative innovators and leaders. Providing collaborative creative outlets for youth isn’t tied to the needs of any socioeconomic status or specific to at risk youth; it is a necessity for any young mind that needs guidance in developing creative skills, learning to communicate ideas and collaborate effectively.

Zac SmithFounder and Executive Director

That is why we teach music:
Not because we expect you to major in music
Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life...
But so you will be human
So you will recognize beauty
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So you will have something to cling to
So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good - in short, more Life.

NAMM

TCS Webisode Series: Episode 1

About TCS Founder Zac Smith

Many young musicians have the desire to write, perform and record music, but do not have the opportunity due to the prohibitive cost of entry and technical learning curve. There is also a void in the space of education as it applies to contemporary music genres. We believe that it is imperative to enable our youth to understand current technologies as they apply to creativity, production, and the music industry. By creating The Collective Sound we will empower a generation to succeed as the creative visionaries and leaders of the future.

Goals Overview

  • To create environments of supervised creative collaboration
  • Educate students in current music technologies and recording techniques
  • Provide insight into the music industry for aspiring musicians and/or related music careers through music field trips,guest artists and professionals
  • Enable students to produce additional supporting creative collateral, in the form of photos, videosand web content
  • To provide students with live performance opportunities

Curriculum Overview

  • Supervised band rehearsal in practice room
  • Guided collaborative writing of original music
  • Record original music
  • Produce, shoot and edit a music video
  • Take still photos of band
  • Upload band materials to an online aggregate (ex: bandcamp)
  • Plan, produce and perform live shows
  • Attend workshops and guest lectures