One Year of Our Lewis Center Studio

Justin T. SwainMusic EducationLeave a Comment

About the Author

Justin T. Swain

Justin is a teacher and performer with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy. He is the Community Manager of Musicologie Lewis Center and Director of Musicologie U.

Today marks one year since we received the keys to what would become home to a thriving community of music-explorers in Lewis Center! The past year has been a whirlwind of experiences, full of overcoming challenges through inventive endeavors and having a lot of fun doing so.

Over the past year we’ve hosted 20+ free group classes, collectively taught 3,200+ lessons, held five concerts featuring over 50 performers, hired 13 new teachers, volunteered as guest clinicians to help prepare local choral students for upcoming concerts, served as adjudicators for Solo & Ensemble events, and have provided nearly a dozen lesson package donations to silent auctions for nearby schools and businesses to help support the arts in our community.

Isolated within our homes while the world battles a global health crisis and being in the middle of world-wide protests against police violence isn’t how we anticipated celebrating our one-year anniversary, but it’s where we find ourselves. I’d planned on hosting a large celebration, full of performances by teachers and students to thank families and commemorate the great progress we’ve made over the course of the past twelve months. We would have had balloons, cupcakes, games, and giveaways much like at our Grand Opening celebration — a real party to start off our second year in business! Plans quickly shifted in March when I realized that the next several months would look very different than envisioned.

We’ve had the great fortune of being able to still provide music lessons online for our community members, and proudly continue to do so, providing an escape and relief in such difficult times. We’ve held virtual workshops and social events to not only enrich our community members’ music education, but to also provide something to look forward to at the end of each week.

As music educators, we realize that music lessons aren’t entirely about becoming the next Eddie Van Halen, Luciano Pavarotti, Rihanna, or Michael Bublé. The study of music — in addition to many other positive benefits — provides a gateway for what may weigh on our heart and mind to be expressed creatively through positive means. It teaches us patience, empathy, and makes us consciously aware of the world around us. It allows us to realize a greater sense of self. In short, it makes us better people.

As we take this time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead, I wanted to share photos of how the studio has grown since one year ago today. We were incredibly fortunate that all of our rooms were already built-out in a configuration that worked for our needs. The bare floors and spacious  rooms provided the perfect canvas to create a welcoming atmosphere for lessons to take place.

The first week in the new space was pretty rough as the HVAC didn’t work properly at the time. My best friend and I worked 10+ hours a day building furniture and getting instruments set up in sweltering heat.

Since then, we’ve collectively made the studio feel more and more like home, from personally decorating each of our teaching spaces by bringing in greenery to hanging up original artwork of our own and that our students made for us.

While we are uncertain what the future will look like exactly, we’re all full of gratitude for the community we’ve built over the past twelve months together, and look forward to creating more incredible memories with each of our students and their families.

When I set out to partner with Musicologie and open up a music school in Lewis Center as the Community Manager, I knew the road ahead would be full of obstacles to overcome. I never imagined a global health crisis being one of those obstacles, however, thanks to the leadership of Musicologie, as well as with the support of our students and community members, we’ve been able to continue to grow despite the setbacks.

As I take today to reflect on the past year, I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude. To be able to provide a place for music to happen, and at the same time provide a place for other music educators to grow their passion and enrich the lives of others is a dream come true.

This Saturday (June 6th) beginning at 6:30pm, we will be hosting a small virtual concert via Zoom. While it isn’t the large celebration I’d envisioned us having, I’m still immensely excited about celebrating our students ,the progress we’ve made together over the past year, and look forward to the many great milestones we’ll cross together in the year ahead.

To all of our incredible students, their families, and friends within the community, thank you for entrusting us with your music education. I know there are so many uncertainties in the world right now, but I’m faithful that the music we make together will make the future a bit brighter for each of the lives it touches.

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