SOUNDS Academy is a nonprofit music education organization that teaches, mentors, and provides musical experiences and opportunities for underserved youth. In SOUNDS Academy students learn the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education. Schools and parents have trouble finding instruments, performances opportunities, and other supplemental elements to a holistic music education. SOUNDS Academy believes that getting a good music education shouldn’t depend on where you grow up. They have given instruments and over 5,900 weekly instruction to students through their Community and Strings Programs and have impacted over 15,000 students through the Musical Access Program.
On March 7th, SOUNDS Academy opened their day with morning lessons and rehearsals and concluded the day with a Master Class with the Phoenix Symphony that focused on music, teamwork, and family. Then they put on a lobby performance before listening to The Phoenix Symphony. During the symphony, Mr. Shai Wosner performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 along with some other pieces. This trip would be the last time that the students and instructors would see each other face to face for a while.
Soon after this day, due to the COVID pandemic, SOUNDS Academy made the difficult decision to postpone classes. Along with classes, SOUNDS had to postpone various concerts, Instrument Petting Zoos, and Fundraising Events. The good news is, with the help of a grant from the United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund, they were able to pivot and switch all of their lessons to a virtual platform and upgrade technology resources for piano teachers, as well as teacher salaries/wages. SOUNDS Academy had so much success with the online classes that they were able to have a Virtual Performance in May. They have continued virtual teaching throughout the summer and have added a summer series where they have been able to host workshops for students to stay engaged with music education opportunities. These workshops include a variety of topics including performances, panel discussions, and Introduction Videos.
“We thank Valley of the Sun United Way for helping us to continue impacting children through music education.” – Kirk Johnson Founder & Director
This is an unprecedented time, and it can feel like challenges keep mounting. Companies and people want to help, but many don’t know how. At United Way, we know it will take EVERY one of us in the Valley to pull together to respond to the urgent and changing needs brought on by the pandemic and to rebuild our community to be even stronger than before. That’s why we’re making it simple for you to ACTIVATE and be part of the solution with your donation. Thanks to your gift, SOUNDS Academy is keeping up with their mission to continue to offer high quality music education to underserved youth in Maricopa County. Their staff continues to think creatively in developing virtual programming that meets the desired outcomes for students with an emphasis on personal growth through the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork.
For more information on grants distributed in the community, please visit www.vsuw.org/covid19grants. To learn about our organization’s first seven weeks of local response read our ‘Response Report’ available at www.vsuw.org/covidreport.