Today I worked with a 4 year old piano student, a 12 year old beginning guitarist, a 45 year old electrical engineer, a 13 year old saxophonist (via web-cam from Texas to Iowa!), and an advanced 40 year old guitarist... to name just a few. Between sessions I monitored my favorite blogs and posted a few comments. I also did some research on two new 'education' websites (they shall remain nameless) and managed to have a bite of yummy pasta for lunch. This is a typical day for me and many of my colleagues at The Dallas School of Music, Inc. and MusickEd.com.
We are fortunate to have been serving our community for over 15 years. It's a vibrant, growing area full of avid music enthusiasts and parents who value music education for their children. I often wonder how many other communities across the country might be able to sustain a for-profit school such as ours?
The dynamics involved in this venture are more than just choosing a culturally friendly and/or affluent location. There has to be a core team of passionate, dedicated visionaries willing to work for the greater good. And there needs to be the right mix of educators who think like entrepreneurs (this is an amazingly small pool of people by the way). These key members must be dependable, flexible and talented. It helps to be in close proximity to universities and our ties with the amazing school of music at the University of North Texas has provided a wealth of quality faculty leads. Still, it has taken nearly all of the first 15 years to assemble our current team.
The entire process of building a school has not been without sacrifice but we have always felt it to be a struggle worth pursuing. From the beginning we hoped to provide a model for music education outside of academia. We believe strongly that our noble and important profession can stand next to other disciplines such as medicine, law or accounting in communities across the country (and indeed the world!). If successful, we hope more music educators in training will become aware of this option and college curricula will begin to include course options for more business minded music educators.
Wish us luck as we venture on toward our 20th year!