Meet Julius Brown and the Extraordinaires


Music teacher Julius Brown is making a big difference at KIPP, otherwise known as the “Knowledge Is Power Program.”  There are approximately 99 KIPP educational institutions operating within the United States.

They promote learning through their commitment to principles they term the “Five Pillars”:  high expectations; choice and commitment; more time; the power to lead; and the focus on results.  A few KIPP Schools are scattered across Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with one particular making big splash on that area’s music scene.  Brown grabs young children’s attention by first letting them pick out an instrument they’ll enjoy playing, then providing instruction in various music techniques like how to warm up and practice scales, and the art of improvising.

Julius Brown’s teaching method has been so successful at the KIPP Philadelphia Charter School that he was presented with a $10,000 Excellence in Teaching Award.  A fellow KIPP colleague commented about Brown, saying “This teacher has taken his love of music and wrapped it around our children.  He turned his music classroom into a space for students to express themselves in new ways.”

At one time or another kids might have displayed behavioral issues or were doing poorly academically, but, it seems once the students get involved with music, the majority of Brown’s students start on the road to becoming well-rounded individuals prepared to move on to higher education.  Quite a few of Julius Brown’s students continue playing instruments in high school and college.  Mr. Brown has made such a good impression on the seventh and eighth grade KIPP students, they really look forward to playing and enjoy it.  Plus, the music isn’t just contained in the school music room or auditorium, they’ve actually booked a few gigs.  The young instrumental group is known as the Extraordinaires, a  jazz-funk fusion band that has performed at fundraiser events, teacher’s weddings, along with putting on an annual spring showcase at Warmdaddy’s, a Philadelphia jazz club.

It is wonderful how Julius Brown takes his passion for music and shares it with students at the KIPP Charter School, giving them the chance to  reach their full potential while developing a love for creating great sounds.  Brown mentions “music stands on its own.”  I believe music truly helps to awaken our minds, motivates, and energizes us, as well as brings smiles to our faces.

Click here to read the full article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Click here to learn more about the KIPP Charter School.



Heidi Norris
A Vocalist and a Concert Opera Philadelphia Company Board Member. Earned a M.S. Degree from Full Sail University (July 2010), and B.A. In Music from Immaculata University (May 2006). Works in the Accounts Payable division of J.W. Pepper.


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