This year will be marked as the year of traveling for me.
With the goal of trying to bring a Performing Arts Center to the southwest part of the valley, I have had the pleasure of researching and observing other Performing Art Centers and music programs in several cities. I have observed The Atlanta Music Project, Project STEP, Community Music Center of Boston, and The Beckmen YOLA (Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) Center. All of these programs have given me inspiration as to what we can be and insight on how to get there.
In speaking to all of these great leaders of these outstanding programs, I have taken away some key points worth sharing. I will give a brief synopsis of 5 of the observations rather than “go down the rabbit hole”. However, please use these as “food for thought”.
These programs do a wonderful job of surveying the community to see what needs should be met and find the most efficient way to meet those needs. There were discussions on how the programs that you offer and music that you teach should not only be reflective of the students that you serve, but how they can influence and educate the students that you serve.Find Great People to Work With:
Adding key people to your staff is the obvious observation, but I got to think a lot more of who we actually partner with. Working with organizations that align with your values, culture, and priorities is very important. If you believe in things like growth mindset, DEI, or Mental Wellness then you should be collaborating and partnering with organizations and people with similar beliefs.Go For the Highest Quality Possible:
Often as non-profits, we are “put in positions” to try and do the most with the least. For example, some of us try to have the most impact with the least amount of resources. Instead, we should venture into trying to do the most with the most. Imagine a world where you can have the best instruments for your best students. The best acoustics and practice rooms (or for you it may be gyms, labs, or classrooms) for your students. How great would they be if excellence was expected and the facility or resources that they were using matched that excellence?
Value The Ones Who You Work With:
There was a recurring theme of finding creative ways to show appreciation for your staff, teachers, vendors, and others that you work with, beyond giving a pay raise or bonus. Sometimes appreciation can come in the form of little thank you notes, words of affirmation, giving extra time off, or buying lunch for the team.
Be Grateful, Thankful, and Celebrate:
We work hard. So the victory lap is important. Make sure that you take time to reflect on the great successes that you have accomplished, and celebrate! Be thankful for the little, medium, and large victories that come along the way!
I have many ideas on what this Performing Arts Center can look like, who I need to connect with, and how it can come to fruition. However, I know that our staff, board members, and I will always keep the community in mind when it comes to what we are doing. Many of the developments of SOUNDS Academy have come from parent/student/teacher feedback surveys. I’m also very grateful for how our board, staff, and team have grown and developed. We have a team that has faced and overcome many challenges. We love to conquer challenges and make the “impossible”, possible. I’m so grateful for everyone in the “SOUNDS Academy Family” and will be sure to always take a moment of reflection and celebration during our upcoming Speakeasy (I hope that you have your tickets )!
Two Questions I have for you are:
- Where in the South, West, or Southwestern part of the valley do you think a Performing Arts Center would do well?
- Who do you think we should be talking to, to make this dream a reality?