Valley School of Music seeks to reach new students with more scholarships

A music school in the valley is seeking to reach budding young musicians with a new state grant. The nonprofit credits the CMA Foundation in part for leading the way to hundreds of new scholarships.

Every day at the Phoenix Conservatory of Music, you can walk into any room and find a range of musicians. When 15-year-old Olneya Fong came to PCM, she considered herself a beginner after two years of learning the piano. She credits the school for her ability to fluidly play the intricacies of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, third movement.

When it’s just her and a piano, the 15-year-old girl knows the 88 keys well. When she joins other teens her age at PCM, she is able to communicate and collaborate creatively, all through the music.

“When they took me in, I did music theory, I took music enrichment classes like audio production,” she said.

Fong found her passion for music on her own and used PCM instructions to build on that. One day she could be a composer, but in the meantime she has found the ability to improvise on the piano when playing with others, which she says helps her relax from the stress of school. traditional.

For budding young musicians looking to groove, there are now even more options, even for those with no prior musical training.

“It’s not merit-based,” said Regina Nixon, executive director of the Phoenix Conservatory of Music.

When ABC15 last covered PCM, we shared how the Country Music Association foundation provided funding to move their teaching online during the pandemic and in Valley schools.

Nixon says this exposure led PCM to receive a grant from the Arizona Department of Education worth more than $900,000. Regina tells us that thanks in part to the CMA foundation, they can now add 350 scholarships and add five new courses for high school, college, and younger Beethoven and Billie Eilish students here.

“We focus a lot on early childhood, for pre-K and K-2. We all know the neurological connections that help students become better readers, better at math, contribute to their social-emotional learning that students need so much right now,” Nixon said.

To have the chance to learn to play like Olneya, you don’t have to be a composer before you get to school. The new scholarships are available for students who may never have learned an instrument.

“If you qualify for a free or reduced price lunch, or if you are a Title I student, we have programs you can attend at no cost,” she said.

Bandmates Marcelo Hartwig on drums and Kyle Flanagan on bass say the skills they’ve learned at PCM go beyond any 12-bar blues, and those skills help them find the right notes in other aspects of life.

“It helped me on the outside, to be like good friends with people, to be more connected to people, in a good way,” Hartwig said.

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