Announcements

Passion Pulse Vol 1 Issue 5

Posted by | Announcements, Events | No Comments

Gearing up for INVINCIBLE!
Tickets are going quickly for our Winter Showcase featuring Invincible, coming up in just one month! Trust us when we say you want to be a part of this event. Invincible will tell an important story and will touch on important themes like bullying, friendship, identity, strength, courage and hope. It will also help kick off the official launch of Passion Arts Foundation. We’re asking for your help in finding sponsorships for the show’s expenses so that 100% of the proceeds can go towards Passion Arts Foundation, providing scholarships for students whose lives could be impacted by the arts but can’t afford it. It is a great way to give back, but also to see a great show that we know will make an impact on your own life. Help us find sponsorships, buy your tickets and help make Invincible incredible! Invincible is playing December 17, 2017 at 4:00PM at Godwin High School. See you there!

Proceeds for Invincible benefit Passion Arts Foundation, the Bridging RVA 150 Beds for 150 Kids campaign and the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.

RSVP TICKETS  PURCHASE TICKETS  SUPPORT THE EVENT  SUPPORT BRIDGING RVA  DOWNLOAD EVENT POSTER

 

In addition to Invincible, on December 9, 2017 at 2:00PM at Stony Point Church, we will ALSO be having a live music showcase featuring all of our music students. All the details as well as registration can be found here. This is a great opportunity for family and friends to come see how your student is progressing, and undoubtedly to hear a few versions of your favorite Christmas songs. But be sure to register and be sure you’ve had a conversation with your student’s mentor so you know what your child is playing or singing and how to help them prepare.

REGISTER HERE

 
Holiday Closures
As you probably guessed, both of our Passion locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. But please take note that we ARE running normal lessons and classes the rest of that week, including Black Friday and the weekend of November 25-26, 2017. Please email status@passionacademy.net with any scheduling needs or requests, keeping in mind that the more continuity for your student the better, and that make-up lessons are always the way to go over canceling a lesson entirely.

 

Gratitude in an Age of Fear

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things you’re afraid of? Don’t make a list, it will scare you. But there really are a lot of things that keep us up at night and stressed out during the day, especially these days! We almost think, “how can we not be afraid?” Enter Thanksgiving, a time of good food, family, fun…and hopefully gratitude. But even though we know we should live in a state of gratitude, even though we are constantly reminded about it, even in our age of fear and especially at this time of year, it still can seem incredibly hard to do. So maybe we should start small.

The other day my family and I were at Short Pump Shopping Center. We came to ride the train, we stayed for Christmas. It was nap time for our 3-month old, but for our 3-year old it truly was the most wonderful time of the year! After we crossed the parking lot I found myself chasing my daughter through a shady corridor of shops, and then she saw it…”EEEEEEK!! Daddy, it’s SOOOO BIG!!” Is there any sound sweeter to a parent’s ear than the sound of pure delight, of unencumbered joy? The tree really was big, but can you imagine how it looks to a 3-year old?! We rode the train, played on the playground, threw coins in the fountain, made a quick, first time exploratory stop at Santa’s place. But, as we headed back to the car I knew that the highlight of the day was the moment she first saw the colossal Christmas tree.

See for a child, his or her gratitude, their sense of wonder and joy is infinitely bigger than their fears. And inside all of us is a child’s voice, calling us to be excited, to be expectant as if every morning is Christmas, to serve and to love and to share as if everything we give away will indeed come back to us and then some, to live gratefully by living joyfully, to live in wonder and in hope. You might say it’s God living right in the center of us, constantly calling us to come aside and take a look at the awe-inspiring tree we call living and to be overwhelmingly grateful that it’s been set up for us to take in, to inspire us and challenge us to live every day to approach every situation as if we don’t have a care in the world!

A big, grateful and peace-filled Thanksgiving wish from our Passion family to yours. Thank you for sharing your children with us, they help change our perspective every day!



Practicing with Your Children

As the holidays rush upon us, and speaking of your kids and our students, we’d like to encourage you to take advantage of both their time off, and hopefully some well deserved time off for you, by sitting down and practicing with your child. Not only is it a great opportunity for you to spend what might be some much needed quality time with your kids, but studies have actually shown that the more parents are involved with their child’s practicing, lessons and homework, the more likely that child will not only enjoy a closer relationship with you, but that they will experience more success and satisfaction with their craft.

In fact, the Australian Journal of Music Education, during a 2011 study looking at parent involvement regarding both practicing and lessons, they found that…

– The majority of students welcomed their parents being at their lessons.
– The majority of parents enjoyed helping their children practice.
– Contrary to popular belief, there was no significant difference between a parent’s’ own musical prowess or knowledge and their child’s success. What made the difference was simply the parents’ involvement.
– The largest factor contributing to student success was the level of student effort put into learning. Therefore, parent involvement was more effective and more necessary for younger children, the younger the child the more direct parent involvement needed.

So between the turkey and the pumpkin pie this year, be sure to take some time to show everyone that, not only is your child progressing, but that you are progressing as a parent, perfecting that delicate balance between time with your kids and the rest of life’s demands. Remember that it really is true what they say, you don’t get these days back, so make the most of them while they’re here.

Music helping Bealeton woman beat depression

Posted by | Announcements, Music Education | No Comments

By Cassandra Brown
Staff Journalist at Faquier Now

After 10 years of chronic depression, the Bealeton resident has found renewed hope through music and faith.

Virginia Ventura travels 90 minutes each week from her home to Richmond to pursue her dream of playing music.

A paraplegic since age 6 because of Transverse Myelitis, Ms. Ventura has suffered from severe depression since middle school.

Transverse Myelitis “was pretty much an overnight thing,” said Ms. Ventura, 25. “I went to sleep and I woke up and couldn’t move my legs.

“I remember my parents crying all the time when this happened. You don’t get it when you’re 6, and you don’t think this is going to change your life,” she said. “I guess it wasn’t until my teenage years when it affected me more.”

Before her depression, Ms. Ventura played viola for two years in school and took piano lessons.

“When I picked up an instrument, it felt natural to me,” she said. “It’s something that never left my mind. I remember how proud and happy I would feel playing.”

Through a one-year music scholarship from Passion Arts Foundation near Richmond, Ms. Ventura can pursue music again.

Last year she started to make progress in overcoming depression.

“When I was at my lowest, I opened my heart to God, and it’s gotten better,” she said.

“My depression stole a lot of being a kid,” Ms. Ventura explained. “Now I have this mindset of do what makes you happy. Picking up the violin was definitely on the top of that list.”

Determined, Ms. Ventura turned to the Internet and searched for a studio where she could rekindle her love of music.

In July she found Passion Academy in Henrico County and decided to email the staff about possible scholarships.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting a response. But, I said a little prayer to God before I sent the email,” Ms. Ventura said.

A few days later she heard from Passion Academy Founder and President Derek Smith, who had chosen her as the foundation’s first scholarship recipient.

“I would say the main reason we decided is because she has overcome a lot of pain in her life,” Mr. Smith said. “This is a perfect example of what we want to do for other people.”

Unable to work because of a recent illness, Ms. Ventura received $2,000 worth of music lessons and a violin from the nonprofit foundation.

The Passion Arts Foundation, founded about six months ago, hopes to give out about 10 scholarships a year, funded with donations and the proceeds from benefit concerts.

Over the next year, she will learn to play the violin, drums, piano, electric guitar and how to produce music. Lessons take place on Mondays for about 90 minutes.

“It makes me feel like I have some sort of purpose,” she said. “Thanks to Passion Academy, it will allow me to live my dreams.

“It’s very calming and peaceful. It gets my mind off things.”

With newfound determination and hope, Ms. Ventura plans to enter the 2018 Ms. Wheelchair Virginia pageant and raise enough money through a GoFundMe page to purchase a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

“I think that’s another cause for my depression is being held down by other people’s schedules or staying home because it’s too difficult to go out,” she said. “Me getting a car, I see that as being another catalyst. It’s going to open so many other opportunities for me.”

One day she hopes to compete in the Paralympic Games.

Ms. Ventura strives to inspire others with depression to pursue their passions and dreams.

“I feel like a lot of people get so caught up in jobs that they forget to work on themselves, on their hearts,” Ms. Ventura said. “If you have a passion, just don’t put excuses up. Go ahead and do it. The reward is going to be so much better than the risk you think will happen.”

Click below to watch interview with Virginia Ventura.

The Importance of Music Education

Posted by | Music Education | No Comments

What if there was one activity that could benefit every student in every school across the nation? An activity that could improve grades and scores on standardized testing? An activity that would allow students to form lasting friendships? An activity that would help students become more disciplined and confident?

Fortunately, there is such an activity. Unfortunately, many schools will not make it a part of their curriculum, due to issues of funding and scheduling. This activity is something that everyone is aware of, but not everyone has a chance to participate in. This activity is music.

For years, music classes have been the ugly ducklings of school curriculums—the last courses to be added, the first courses to be cut. They have always taken second place to traditional academic classes. Music, however, has proved itself to be extremely beneficial time and time again, from the undeniable improvement in grades regarding traditional academic classes to the glowing remarks from music students everywhere. In an ever-changing world, the addition of music education in schools needs to be next on the academic agenda.  Music education should be a required component in all schools due to the proven academic, social, and personal benefits that it provides.

According to the No Child Left Behind Act, the following are defined as, “core academic subjects”: English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, the arts [emphasis added], history, and geography (Benefits of the Study 1). Although music, being a part of the arts, is supposedly on the same level as other academic subjects, it is not being treated as such.

Music education greatly enhances students’ understanding and achievement in non-musical subjects. For example, a ten-year study, which tracked over 25,000 middle and high school students, showed that students in music classes receive higher scores on standardized tests than students with little to no musical involvement. The musical students scored, on average, sixty-three points higher on the verbal section and forty-four points higher on the math sections of the SATs than non-music students (Judson). When applying to colleges, these points could be the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection letter.

Furthermore, certain areas of musical training are tied to specific areas of academics; this concept is called transfer. According to Susan Hallam, “Transfer between tasks is a function of the degree to which the tasks share cognitive processes” (5-6). To put this simply, the more related two subjects are, the more transfer will ensue. This can be evidenced with the correlation between rhythm instruction and spatial-temporal reasoning, which is integral in the acquisition of important math skills. The transfer can be explained by the fact that rhythm training emphasizes proportions, patterns, fractions, and ratios, which are expressed as mathematical relations (Judson). Transfer can be seen in other academic subjects as well. For example, in a 2000 study of 162 sixth graders, Ron Butzlaff concluded that students with two or three years of instrumental music experience had significantly better results on the Stanford Achievement Test (a verbal and reading skills test) than their non-musical counterparts (qtd. in Judson). This experiment demonstrates that music can affect improvement in many different academic subjects. All in all, it can be shown that music education is a worthwhile investment for improving students’ understanding and achievement in academic subjects.

Related to academic achievement is success in the workforce. The Backstreet Boys state that, “Practicing music reinforces teamwork, communication skills, self-discipline, and creativity” (Why Music?). These qualities are all highly sought out in the workplace. Creativity, for example, is, “one of the top-five skills important for success in the workforce,” according to Lichtenberg, Woock, and Wright (Arts Education Partnership 5). Participation in music enhances a student’s creativeness. Willie Jolley, a world-class professional speaker, states that his experience with musical improvisation has benefited him greatly regarding business. Because situations do not always go as planned, one has to improvise, and come up with new strategies (Thiers, et. al). This type of situation can happen in any job; and when it does, creativity is key. Similarly, music strengthens a person’s perseverance and self-esteem—both qualities that are essential in having a successful career (Arts Education Partnership 5). Thus, music education can contribute to students’ future careers and occupational endeavors.

Participation in music also boasts social benefits for students. Music is a way to make friends. Dimitra Kokotsaki and Susan Hallam completed a study dealing with the perceived benefits of music; in their findings they wrote, “Participating in ensembles was also perceived as an opportunity to socialize with like-minded people, make new friends and meet interesting people, who without the musical engagement they would not have had the opportunity to meet” (11). Every time a student is involved in music, they have the chance to meet new people, and form lasting friendships.

Likewise, in a study by Columbia University, it was revealed that students who participate in the arts are often more cooperative with teachers and peers, have more self-confidence, and are better able to express themselves (Judson). Through one activity, a student can reap all of these benefits, as well as numerous others. Moreover, the social benefits of music education can continue throughout a student’s life in ways one would never suspect. An example of this would be that “students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among any other group in our society” (Judson). By just participating in a fun school activity, students can change their lives for the better. Music education can help students on their journey to success.

Chinese philosopher Confucius once stated, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” (Arts Education Partnership 1). Music education provides personal benefits to students that enrich their lives. In the study of perceived benefits of music by Dimitra Kokotsaki and Susan Hallam, it was found that “participating in an ensemble enhanced feelings of self-achievement for the study’s participants, assisted individuals in overcoming challenges, built self-confidence, and raised determination to make more effort to meet group expectations regarding standards of playing” (12). In an ensemble, every member is equally important, from the first chair to the last chair. Thus every person must be able to play all of their music and be ready for anything. When one person does not practice their music and comes to rehearsal unprepared, it reflects upon the whole ensemble. Needless to say, no one wants to be that person. So students take it upon themselves to show that they want to be there and come prepared. This type of attitude continues throughout students’ lives.

Furthermore, group participation in music activities can assist in the development of leadership skills (Kokotsaki and Hallam 13). One participant in the perceived benefits of music study stated that, “I have gained confidence in my leadership skills through conducting the Concert Band” (Kokotsaki and Hallam 28). Conducting an ensemble is just one of the many leadership opportunities available to music students.

Music can also be a comforting activity to many students. High school senior and school band member Manna Varghese states that for her, music is a way to relieve stress. When she is angry or frustrated, she likes to play flute or piano to relax. For students, music classes are not necessarily something they participate in for a grade, or to put on a college application. Students participate in music classes because they enjoy them and want to be there.

Even though it has been proven that music education benefits students, many people argue that it still should not be required in schools. They state that with the increasing importance placed on standardized testing, there is not enough class time to include music classes (Abril and Gault 68). However, it has been shown that the time students spend in music classes does not hinder their academic success. A study by Hodges and O’Connell found that “being excused from non-musical classes to attend instrumental lessons does not adversely affect academic performance” (Hallam 14). Thus, in reality, having students enroll in music classes would not be detrimental to their academic performance, and the students would then be able to reap all of the benefits that come with music education. Furthermore, funding for music education is an issue at many schools. The people in charge of determining funding for schools often choose to fund traditional academic classes over arts programs. Paul Harvey states, “Presently, we are spending twenty-nine times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment” (Hale 8). Clearly, the current system for the allocation of funds for schools is not adequate. By transferring some of the funding from traditional academic classes to music classes, this embarrassment could be avoided. Evidently, although some may try to argue against it, music education should be required in all schools.

What would life be like without music? Imagine it for a moment. No listening to music on the radio on a long drive. No music to dance to. There would not be any soundtracks in movies, and concerts and musicals would be nonexistent. Eventually, no one would even remember what music is. Many people do not realize it, but music has a bigger effect on their lives than they may think, and they would definitely care if it was to disappear. Without music, life would never be the same. To keep music alive, students must be educated about it in schools. Students will not only get to experience and enjoy what music has to offer, but will reap the innumerable benefits that come with music. Ancient Greek philosopher and teacher Plato said it best: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to imagination, and life to everything.”

Written by Alexis Kalivretenos, first-prize winner of the 2014 Humanist Essay Contest

Works Consulted

Abril, Carlos A., and Brent M. Gault. “The State of Music in Secondary Schools: The Principal’s Perspective.” Journal of Research in Music Education 56.1 (2008): 68-81. JSTOR. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Arts Education Partnership, comp. Music Matters: How Music Education Helps Students Learn, Achieve, and Succeed. Washington D.C.: n.p., 2011. Print.

Hale, Donna Sizemore. “Stay Involved to Protect the Arts.” American String Teacher 63.3 (2013): 8. ProQuest. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.

Hallam, Susan. “The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people.” International Journal of Music Education 28.3 (2010): 269-89. Print.

Judson, Ellen. “The Importance of Music.” Music Empowers Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2013.

Kokotsaki, Dimitra, and Susan Hallam. “Higher Education music students’ perceptions of the benefits of participative music making.” Music Education Research 9.1 (2007): n. pag. Google Scholar. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.

National Association for Music Education, comp. The Benefits of the Study of Music. N.p.: n.p., 2007. Print.

Thiers, Genevieve, et al. “Music Education and Success…From the Band Room to the Board Room.” Everything We Needed to Know About Business, We Learned Playing Music. By Craig M. Cortello. N.p.: n.p., n.d. NME.com. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

Varghese, Manna. Personal interview. 24 Oct. 2013.

Why Music? Prod. NAfME. Radio

Passion Pulse Vol 1 Issue 4

Posted by | Announcements | No Comments

Have you ever been to Hollywood Cemetery here in Richmond? If not then fall is a great time to go visit. Leaves are falling from the trees, covering the ground and the grave sites. And off in the distance there is a huge tree whose leaves are currently half brown, orange and red and half green. It sits in the middle of a field surrounded by tombstones, and when you look at it, you can’t help but think what about what a metaphor it is for the life cycle, for life and death and the space in between. Think about the season we’re about to enter into. One holiday memorializes death, the next one celebrates gratitude for life and the next one, for many people celebrates the gift of the life that led to death and resurrection. So, as we move into fall, as we begin the crazy, beautiful, nostalgic, busy, hopeful, and even sometimes painful holiday season, we just want to say thank you for spending part of your life cycle at Passion Academy. We love to tell people how we are about more than just quality education in the Arts. We are about bringing life and joy and the gift of music and dance to all of our students. We love that you are a part of the vision and a part of our community.

And now, without further adieu here are all the exciting things going on in our world!

Passion Dance FREE Trial Week is going on right now so don’t miss out! It’s our Passion Dance program’s free trial week, where we’re inviting ALL of our students AND GUESTS to try out any dance class they’re interested in for free! The only condition is that you have to register ahead of time. Help spread the word that we have dance classes for both kids AND adults. We offer Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Jazz, as well as a Dance Discovery class for children ages 3-5 and a Creative Movement class for children ages 2-3. If you happened to miss out on the class you wanted to try this week, you’re welcome to register and attend next week!

REGISTER HERE

Halloween is coming, which means another Spooktacular Halloween Party at Passion Academy! This year’s shindig will be on Saturday night, October 28th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the West End location. As many of you know, we have just completed a beautiful remodeling of our home base. Come check out how spooktacularly decorated our new digs will be. The festivities will include something for everyone…games, food, candy and of course some spooktacularly scary music for the occasion. This is a family affair too, so bring the family, the neighbor’s family, the neighbor’s cousin’s family…bring the family you like and even the ones you don’t, this is an event for anyone and everyone and a great opportunity to introduce someone to our West End campus. Costumes are encouraged but, as this is a family event, please keep them relatively related to this life and not the next.

RSVP HERE

On the 17th of December from 4:00pm to 6:00pm we are inviting all of you to join us for a very special, one-of-a-kind Winter Showcase. This will be our highlight event of the year. And in lieu of our regularly scheduled programming, we are going to be bringing you a poignant, moving and powerful production, an eye-opening story told through music and dance called “Invincible”. Invincible is the story of a young girl whose strength is put to the test when she is forced to move with her mother away from everything familiar to her. A new school brings pressure to fit in with her peer group, and before long she becomes the victim of bullying. The question is, will she have what it takes to be invincible?

It’s a story about a girl who overcomes her challenges by realizing that she is a beautiful, independent person in her own right. Along the way, she realizes that she doesn’t have to fit the mold of certain groupings, that she can make friends, just by being herself. Her ultimate discovery is that she has a bigger place in the world, and that she can help others who might be having similar struggles. It is a touching story reflecting on the joys of life, overcoming struggles, and inspiring hope.

We want you to come to this event. We want you to tell your friends and family about it, especially people who you know are having a hard time, people who are losing hope. But we also want you to come because, by doing so you will be supporting others who are struggling, through the Passion Arts Foundation. All proceeds from Invincible ticket sales will go towards providing resources for the foundation, so we in turn can offer educational and mentoring opportunities to those who need it most.  Our hope is that this event will move people to action, increasing opportunities for others who are struggling and who need a creative outlet.

EVENT TICKETS SUPPORT THE FOUNDATION

HOLIDAY SCHEDULING

The holidays are here, and, as much as we’d like to think that music lessons and dance classes are the only thing going on in your world, realistically we can see your calendar from here, the one that says, “Thanksgiving at cousin Fred’s in Charlotte, office Christmas party, school Christmas program, church Christmas cantata (accompanied by 5 extra rehearsals), and of course that little trip over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.” So, in light of the facts, we’re asking that, when you sit down to map out the quickest route from here to Dayton, Ohio, you would just hop on the computer and shoot us an email to status@passionacademy.net to let us know when you’ll be absent during dates when you have regularly scheduled lessons or classes. It really helps us for our planning. But also remember that when we don’t use something we tend to lose it. So shoot for consistency, and if you fall and land at grandma’s house we’ll be there to pick you up in January.

Right now, if you were to sit down and write it out, how busy would you say that you and/or your children are? This is one of the hardest questions to ask ourselves. Why? Because it’s hard to determine how to master the art and at the same time avoid the curse of busyness.

It’s a huge blessing to able to be busy, it means we have life, health, opportunities, dreams, passions and talents, it’s a gift really. It’s also an art form worth learning how to manage. But sometimes, if we’re really being honest, it can become a curse. So, how do I know that the quality of my “yes” is being well-defined by the quantity of my “no”? And, more importantly, how do I help my child make sense of all of the things they could be doing, while making sure they aren’t indeed becoming a jack of all but master of none?

Here are a few easy questions you can ask yourself as a parent or as a student to determine whether you or your child is just too busy?

  • How much are you sleeping? All successful, healthy business people, entrepreneurs, people of influence, etc. will tell you that they work hard and wake up early. But they’ll also tell you that they get a full-night’s sleep every night. And all the major studies will tell you that those extra hours your teen is hibernating are actually critical for their continued emotional, physical and physiological development. Just because they want to act like adults doesn’t mean they’re not still kids.
  • How stressed are you, your kids, or your family? Again, studies show that an enormous amount of the problems we suffer from both physically and mentally, come from stress. We weren’t designed to operate under duress all the time. But so often we do, and most of the time we don’t even realize it because it has become so “normal”. So, be willing to take an honest look at what you or your student is stressed about and why. Simplifying the schedule may be an easy fix.
  • How effective am I being at whatever it is I’m undertaking? Jack of all trades, master of none is certainly a truism worth considering. But let’s take it a step further and suggest that “master of no trades equals the inability to be jack of any”. There is a feeling of satisfaction and healthy pride that comes from knowing and feeling like we accomplished something, like we moved forward, progressed, overcame and achieved. This is extremely hard to do when there are too many things on our plate. Remember, just because something is a good idea, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

How am I or my child doing as a person?  Is your student becoming the fullest, best version of themselves, or a pieced together version of who others would like for them to be? Are YOU becoming the fullest, best version of yourself, or a pieced together version of who others would like for you to be? This can be a hard question to ask now, but it can be even harder to change who we are later.

Our goal is to discover the intersection of our greatest passions and our greatest gifts, not how many things we can accomplish in one lifetime.

Passion Pulse Vol 1 Issue 3

Posted by | Announcements, Music Education | No Comments

Hey Passion Family! Well, the rumors are true…summer is officially over! How do we know? Because Labor Day has come and gone, students are returning from Grandma’s house, and the back-to-school shelves are looking quite bare. But mostly we know because the stores are not so subtly serving up pumpkin egg nog! If the egg nog is out, then summer must definitely be over! So, time to gear up and get ready to “fall” in love with everything going on in September at Passion Academy.

West End Construction Complete

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day…but that was Rome. And, while our West End Remodeling Project wasn’t completed in a day, a LOT was accomplished in a very short amount of time. And now, just in time to enter the fall season, and right on schedule, we are happy to announce that Phase 3, the construction of our new dance studio in the former Band Development studio is complete! A big thank you to Daniel and Derek for all of your hard work, and a big thank you to all of you for your patience during the transition. Passion Academy has been through quite an impressive transformation.


Passion Arts Foundation Annual Benefit Concert a Huge Success


A huge thank you to all who participated in our first annual Passion Arts Foundation Benefit Concert! The event was a great success in so many ways. Our partnership with Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches was a hit, selling out all the goods, there was a tremendous turnout estimated around 100 people, and in true Passion Academy form the performances were top notch. There is even word on the street that a new hit group called “Daniel and Son” performed. But the best part about the event was being able to raise money for what is probably the most meaningful part of Passion Academy, our Passion Arts Foundation.


We are happy to report that Virginia Ventura, a very deserving student who we highlighted in last month’s Pulse, was able to benefit directly from the Foundation, and from the concert. Virginia received a fully refurbished violin and began violin lesson two weeks ago! What an opportunity for her and for us. Once again, a big thank you to all of you who came out to make this possible. Please continue to support and champion our Passion Arts Foundation. We truly believe that the work we are trying to do through it speaks volumes about who we are at Passion and who we want to be.


The Art of Worship

Did you know that Passion Academy has a Worship Leader Development program? It’s called The Art of Worship and we hope you’ll take a minute to check it out.

The program was developed by our worship leader mentor Randall Goulard out of something that has been a huge part of the core vision of Passion Academy since the beginning: a desire to serve churches by helping them grow and thrive in the areas of worship and the creative arts. The Art of Worship includes not only individual one-on-one worship leader mentoring, but also sound engineering consultation for churches and overall worship program consultation. The sky really is the limit in terms of how we want to help churches and their worship programs be everything God intends for them to me. So if you know of churches, worship leaders, pastors, or if you are connected to anyone that might be interested in letting us help them, please let us know or direct them to our website. Help us get the word out!

The Music Parents’ Guide by Anthony Mazzochi

Did you know that students who take a break from playing and practicing over the summer is a major reason why they don’t continue with their instruments? You didn’t? Well, now that we have half of you feeling guilty, let us reassure you that’s not the only reason students stop playing or get discouraged. Anthony Mazzochi lays out a number of reasons why it can be difficult for you or your student to stick with an instrument long enough to see real results. Here are some other common factors:

  • Parents don’t see music as a core subject. Music has to be made a priority in order to see success. We don’t usually think about quitting English or Math, because it’s seen as too important. Parents who see music the same way, as a core subject will see their students quit less often.
  • Students don’t know how to get better. Without the proper tools and practice habits to get better at anything, students will become frustrated and want to quit. When parents are invested in learning enough about music to help their child succeed they can help support them at home.
  • Parents and students think they aren’t musically talented. Natural musical talent is often misunderstood. As long as students know how to practice and do so regularly, they WILL get better.
  • The instrument is in disrepair. Students, parents and teachers need to be aware of the basics of instrument maintenance and be on top of repairs when needed so that the student isn’t mistaking a broken valve or reed for a wrong note.
  • Other activities are pulling the child. Life is all about priorities right. Especially as fall begins to ramp up, it is really important for parents and students both to be thinking about what they want to be involved in, and what they should be involved in. The old adage, “jack of all trades, master of none” is only too true when it comes to extracurricular activities. Also remember that the “quality of your “yes” is defined by the quantity of your “no’s”.
Lastly, voting is now open for Family Favorites presented by Style Weekly! It would mean so much to us if you would take a moment to vote for Passion Academy in the Activities categories: Favorite Music Lessons, Dance Lessons and Performing Arts Lessons. Thank you for your support!

VOTE HERE

Passion Pulse Vol 1 Issue 2

Posted by | Announcements, Events | No Comments

Hello again to our Passion Community, and welcome to the second edition of Passion Pulse, our monthly newsletter where you get to hear the heartbeat of what’s happening at Passion Academy. It’s been an exciting summer, so let’s get right into all the goings on.

Passion Academy Voted #1 in Richmond Magazine

Have you seen the latest edition of Richmond Magazine? If not, be sure to pick one up and check out pages 182 and 158. You’ll see something that we hope makes you very proud. Passion Academy has just been honored by the voters in Richmond for having the “Best Music Classes for Adults” and the “Best Music Classes for Children”! Not only that, Passion also won 3rd place in the “Best Dance Classes for Children” and “Best Local Summer or Day Camp Program” category. A big thank you to all who voted for us and to all our Passion Academy supporters! We are indeed proud of the Passion brand, and we’re so glad that you are too!


And while we’re on the subject, allow us to make one final plug for our last music camp of the summer, our Drum Camp going on next week August 14-18. There’s still space though, so be sure to enroll right away if you’re interested!


Passion Academy is proud to announce the first annual Passion Arts Foundation Annual Benefit Concert this Saturday evening, August 12 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Independence Golf Club. Come enjoy an evening of musical performances by Passion Academy students and mentors, first-class cuisine provided by Tavern 19 and exclusive ‘Passion Symphony’ Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, all for a great cause!


Have you heard of Passion Arts Foundation? It really is a part of what we do at Passion, and something that we would like more people to know about, so please mention it to someone the next chance you get. Passion Arts Foundation is the non-profit wing of Passion Academy, and it has one clear, distinct and very important purpose, to help provide outstanding quality music education experience for anyone who needs it but can’t afford it.

Currently we are working to raise money to provide music lessons for Virginia Ventura. Virginia is 25 years old and lives in Fauquier County. She has been a paraplegic since the age of 6 due to Transverse Myelitis. She used to suffer from depression since the age of 14, but continues to get stronger every day. She now desires to live out her passions and goals in ways that she has always dreamed about, but had no motivation to pursue. She has always wanted to play violin, electric guitar, drums, saxophone and piano and is full of the courage, patience and desire to learn them all no matter how long it takes. Due to her medical ailments, she has a very limited income that restricts her ability to afford tuition. Now more than ever, she has the desire to do things that make her happy, and we want to help turn her desires into reality.


With your help, Passion Arts Foundation will be able to provide a scholarship for Virginia’s music education. So please come join us at Independence this Saturday, August 12 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm for a night of great music for an even greater cause. Tickets are $10 per person.

RSVP HERE

The Passion Story

Did you know that the word “passion” comes from the latin word, “patior” which means “to suffer”? And did you also know that the context of the word centers around being willing to suffer for a purpose?

“When you are truly passionate, you are pushed along by your desire, to the point where you are willing to endure pain, suffering, and loss for the object which is the focus of your attention” (The Etymology of Passion)

Passion isn’t just about liking something, it’s about being willing to sacrifice for the thing or the person or the dream or the life that is more important to you than whatever it is you’re giving up.

In the last edition of the Passion Pulse, we promised to tell you the Passion Story. But this summer our fearless founders have been crankin’ away getting our West End location ready for the next chapter. So, in the meantime, while we’re still compiling that piece for you, we thought it would be fun for you to get to know a little bit more about a couple of guys who truly understand what it means to be “passionate”, both as musicians and as business owners, but most importantly as people. These guys have truly experienced the sacrifices, the hard work, the disappointments and rewards that come from following your dreams. So here’s a little “did you know” about our own Daniel Johannesson and Derek Smith.

~Did you know that Derek was born in Japan and Daniel was born in Sweden?

~Did you know that both Daniel and Derek have been married for over 10 years! Daniel and Katie for 12 years, and Derek and Deb for 18 years. Both of them knew their wives for at least 4 years before getting married. Daniel and Katie were together for four years before getting married, and Derek and Deb actually met in middle school in Bismarck, ND. And now, they both have 2 kids.

~Did you know that both of their wives are artists in their own right? Daniel’s wife Katie is trained in music and theater studies, and Deb has her degree in visual communications and graphic design.

~Did you know that Daniel toured professionally before settling down? He lived in New York performing on and off Broadway for several years.

~Did you know that both Daniel and Derek excelled at sports when they were younger before getting heavily involved in music? At 14 years old Daniel was the 5th fastest in his country in track jand field (that’s “country” not “county”). And Derek was, by points, the 3rd ranked BMX rider in the country at 8 years old.

~Did you know that both Derek and Daniel share a passionate relationship with God, and that both have powerful testimonies of how they discovered God and their faith?

~Did you know that Daniel and Derek both serve regularly on the worship teams at their churches? Daniel is the worship leader of the James River campus of Bon Air Baptist Church and Derek serves as a drummer at Hope Church.

Thank you guys for helping us understand the meaning of “passion” and for being passionate about us!

West End Construction Moving QUICKLY!

Our West End remodeling project is moving ahead at full speed and right on schedule as we get ready for the next chapter of our story. Many of you have experienced our new lobby already. What do you think? Comfortable and inviting?

Well there’s lots more to come. Construction is already in full swing on the new recording studio, and after that the band room becomes our much anticipated second dance studio! The best part is that all of this will be completed just in time for our fall season to kick off, and just in time to welcome our new world-renown dance instructor Daniel Swanepoel and his wife. They are going to be an amazing edition to our team and we would love for you to get to know them. Check out all their bio information and be sure to stop by the West End location to get a tour of the new digs!

The Music Parents’ Guide – Anthony Mazzochi

Do you remember the first time you ever learned how to play a musical instrument ? I don’t consider myself to have an outstandingly detailed long-term memory. I’m one of those, “I think that happened somewhere between five and ten years old” kind of people. But I do remember the first time I played the piano. I remember how it felt, what the teacher taught me, what the room looked like…everything!

There really is something special about the first time you learn an instrument. It’s like going underwater for the first time…a whole new world opens up. And, for any budding music students, the million dollar question (and for parents this can mean quite literally the “million dollar” question) is…which musical instrument should I play? How do you figure this out? Does it matter what instrument my child picks? How do we go about the process? Here are some hopefully helpful tips taken directly from The Music Parents’ Guide

  • The first step is the most crucial: picking an instrument that suits your child’s identity and personality and picking one that they want to play.
  • The most important thing is to have the student be involved in the process.
  • The second most important thing is to be aware of the many instruments available.
  • It is crucial that your child start by playing an instrument that they are excited about learning.
  • No one can make an educated decision about the instrument that they want to study without hearing it played beautifully. So be sure to give your child the opportunity to hear whatever instrument or instruments they’re interested in played well.
  • One of the biggest reasons students quit playing their instruments is unnecessary frustration. Instruments are challenging enough to begin with, so any physical limitations that could be avoided should be considered ahead of time.
  • All said and done, if a student really loves a particular instrument’s sound, you need to go with that!

As always, you can pick up a copy of Anthony Mazzochi’s book at either one of our locations. But in addition, we hope you will continue to initiate these kinds of conversations with the leadership at Passion or with your student’s mentor. We love to help guide people through the process because we love it when students truly discover their passion. It’s what we do!

Until next time…

Passion Pulse Vol 1 Issue 1

Posted by | Announcements | No Comments

Hello to our Passion Community, and welcome to the very first edition of the Passion Pulse, a monthly newsletter where you get to feel the pulse of what’s happening at Passion Academy, and a regular peek into where we’re going.

We believe that YOU ARE PASSION. You make this place what it is…Richmond’s Premier Academy for the Arts.  The definition of “premier” is “first in rank or leading”, and we really do believe that we are leading the way, not only in what we’re doing, but in how we think about each and every person that comes through our doors. Passion Academy is different in all the best ways, and we think that all of you make us stand out because you believe in our vision to mentor students in a way that gives them value, purpose, worth, creativity, discipline, and excellence. So, we say thank you! And we want to return the favor by letting you into the heartbeat of our life together here at Passion Academy. We hope you enjoy the very first edition of the Passion Pulse!

We Are Doin’ Some Damage in the West End…

If you are signed up for one of our many Summer Camps, you may have noticed a little demolition derby going on at our West End location. We’re still open for business as usual, but as they say, ”please excuse our mess.”  We are expanding and renovating so we have more room (and rooms) to meet the needs of everything going on in our programs. Here’s the scoop on all the exciting developments:

Phase One included the creation of a brand new “Studio 4”. This has actually been completed already, so if you come visit you’ll notice a new studio where the TV and waiting table and pay phone once were. But the most exciting part is that we are giving you a brand new lobby! We are creating a more private and inviting lobby space, right when you walk in, for you and all of our guests to enjoy while you’re waiting for your students or chatting with us and each other. We hope to have this all set up for you by the middle of August…enjoy!

Phase Two is something we are particularly looking forward to as our Artist Development and Band Development programs grow. We are adding a new, and much larger recording studio and “live room”, a space that can be used both for rehearsing and recording. These two programs are extremely unique, and hard to find elsewhere, so we’re really proud to be able to offer them.

Another increasingly popular program is our Electronic Music Production program. So the best part of this new addition is that now, we can use our current smaller recording studio exclusively for EMP studio space. This is a really popular art form, and we would love to see more students refine the gift they have in producing electronic music. So if you know someone who is getting into electronic music production please send them our way. We’re adding rooms to the house, invite people to come over!

Phase Three may be last, but it’s definitely first on our priority list and it will see the transformation of our current band room into a second dance studio! The new 2017-2018 Dance Schedule is now live and enrollment is currently open.

Passion Dance has really been taking off, thanks to our amazing Program Director, Sarah Ruppel Bullis and her staff. We really want to honor the great work that they’ve done and the excellent programs they produce by giving them another studio so they can add some more advanced classes and dance forms.

We’re also going to be welcoming back the very talented Daniel Swanepoel and his wife Caitlin from South Africa. They will be a great addition to our Passion Dance team and we are excited to have some more studio space for them to work in!

Passion Summer Camps Have Begun!

Question: What do you do with your kids in the summer, when there’s no school, it’s 95 degrees out and 95 percent humidity, and you’re not taking regular lessons because of your 6-day trip to Florida, the 4-day long weekend to the Outer Banks, and your mid-week jaunt to Grandma’s house?

Answer: You come to one of Passion Academy’s Summer Camps!

There is still some room left in the following camps, so sign up today by clicking on one of the images below:



Music Camps

Voice Camp (2nd Session)  July 24 – 28
Band Performance Camp  July 31 – August 4
Strings Camp (2nd Session)  August 7 – 11
Drum Camp  August 14 – 18

Dance Camps

Lion King Ballet Performance Camp  July 17 – 21
Jazz and Contemporary Camp  July 24 – 28
Hip Hop Dance Camp  July 31 – August 4
Summer Dance Intensive  August 7 – 11

The Music Parents’ Guide

Did you know that “every child has some degree of musical talent”? Did you know that “hard work trumps ‘natural talent’ every single time”? Did you know that “the majority of students quit an instrument after their first year of playing, not because they do not have music talent, but rather because their music teacher is not very good, or because the student has no idea how to practice, so they don’t make real progress and become frustrated. Or the students’ parents don’t have enough knowledge to support their children through the beginning stages of their musical growth?

These tips, taken from The Music Parents’ Guide by Anthony Mazzochi, and others like it can be extremely helpful if you are the parent of a young musician. We invite you to grab a copy of this at either one of our locations, but more than that, we invite you to start a conversation with your student’s mentor on how you as a parent can help them succeed.

That’s all for now…next month in the Passion Pulse we will give you a very personal and in-depth look at The Story of Passion Academy. Until then, we invite you to follow us, like us and share with us on Facebook and all of our social media channels!

10 Reasons to Thank Your Music Teacher

Posted by | Music Education | No Comments

Many people making a living from music, or even those who carry it on as a hobby, will be able to remember being heavily influenced or inspired by a music teacher. Whether it was at school or as a private tutor, they are often responsible for that initial bit of encouragement that makes young people realize that music can be much more than something to be enjoyed in your spare time.

Even if it doesn’t ultimately result in a professional career, engagement with music is increasingly being recognized as a great benefit for us all in many ways. This has produced a growing number of efforts to draw attention to the importance of music education in schools and in the community.

Music Monday is an annual event held in Canada on the first Monday of May. Organized by the Coalition for Music Education since 2005, it brings together school children and their teachers, community groups, music ensembles and work colleagues to highlight the benefits of a musical education. The day involves a mass concert where groups across the country come together at the same time to play a song which has been chosen as the anthem for the year.

Another major part of the day is to highlight the hard work put in by music teachers. A couple of years ago, CBC asked several leading musicians to write letters of thanks to their most influential music teacher to recognize the role they had played in their life and education. The letters described teachers who had run numerous bands and musical ensembles at high schools, organized trips to competitions in other cities, and inspired the creativity of their pupils.

In one of the letters, jazz pianist Oliver Jones writes about the huge impact his piano lessons with Daisy Peterson-Sweeney, the sister of famous jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, had on him: “All of my musical life I have considered myself to be very fortunate to have been surrounded by wonderful and talented people, those who have guided me, inspired me, and most of all those who have motivated me as a youngster. It is rare to find all of these qualities in one person.”

Even for those of us who don’t quite manage to make a professional career out of musical performing, there are no shortage of things that we can take from our school music lessons and the teachers who delivered them. Here are ten things music teachers should be thanked for.

1. They taught you that it’s OK to make mistakes, and making them is how we learn and grow as a person. That’s something useful for life in general, not just music.

2. They taught you to believe in your abilities and stay calm under pressure. Again, not bad qualities to have regardless of what you’re doing.

3. They encouraged you to do your best and push your limits.

4. They destroyed the “practice makes perfect” cliche. In reality, a copious amount of practice is not enough to become a great musician. You always need to find a way to make yourself inspired.

5. They show tremendous dedication, including by taking after school lessons, running school orchestras and clubs, and planning activities. A lot of this additional commitment is never recognized in a teacher’s working hours or salary.

6. They made mathematics easier to understand. After all, its simpler to grasp the concept of two quarter notes fitting in to a half than trying to stare at a badly drawn diagram on a blackboard.

7. They pushed you to take responsibility for your actions, by practicing for your weekly piano lessons or remembering to bring your violin to school.

8. They opened the doors to something which has been shown to stimulate the entire brain. As noted in a recent article, a vast quantity of scientific research has proven the positive effects of music in many areas.

9. They stressed the importance of always looking for ways to improve. Whether or not you’re still playing piano today, a healthy dose of self-criticism can only be a good thing.

Original article on CMUSE 4/21/2015

Band Benefits

Posted by | Announcements | No Comments

Untitled 2

The summer is fast approaching and our Passion Camps are filling up quickly. There are many great reasons to be a part of a band experience. In this article, Tim Bakker (Lead Mentor and Passion Camp Director) explains the benefits of being in a band.

One of my primary passions is directing bands. Since I went professional about 16 years ago, of the many hats that I have worn over the years, including the countless times leading worship, playing instruments, writing songs, arranging, producing, I would say that leading bands is my favorite. It’s something I’m passionate about. There has always been something rewarding about not just playing music to an audience as an individual but being part of a team of musicians who are all working towards the same goal – making music and in turn making people happy.

I have traveled to many countries around the world and the band experience is almost a universal one. Sometimes it required moving beyond language barriers, but when everybody starts speaking the same language of music, regardless of language, ethnicity, color etc. – it’s truly a gem… one worth repeating over and over again.

In the past 10 years, especially here in the United States, I have worked with a lot of youth bands, whether schools, churches, communities or organizations. I have picked up some valuable insights into the world of the young student and how playing in a band and expressing themselves through music in general, has made an impact on them as individuals and the ultimate result of influencing those around them in a positive way.

I have seen shy and socially awkward kids come into a band setting, nervous, overwhelmed, terrified and on the verge of tears…. that have eventually become confident, well adjusted individuals who everyone wants to hang out with. I have seen other kids who were already confident, but were not leading the pack but rather pulling others down with negativity and divisiveness. Yet after working with them for a year, I have seen these same kids evolve into true leaders who lead their peers with confidence, set the example and lost their ego in the process.

Besides the whole “learning life through learning music” principle, there are many other benefits to playing in bands. Students who play in a band tend to do very well with higher level learning. They have an academic edge over those who don’t play musical instruments. There has been research done from leading universities and a recent endorsement from the U.S. Secretary of Education, saying, “‘The arts can help students become tenacious, team-oriented problem solvers who are confident and able to think creatively.”

There is more and more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. If you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (like using your hands, running, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory actually grow and become more active.

So I have come up with a list of 15 benefits to playing in a band. This is primarily focused on my experiences with youth bands, but the same principles will apply all across the board, no matter the age or stage of life.

Students learn to read a new language – Music. Whether it is following music notations, chords, hearing chord changes, harmonies, melodies, rhythm, tempo etc. they develop the skill to communicate and “speak” a whole new language.

Students learn teamwork. They get very good at working together. Team skills are a very important aspect of being successful in life. Playing an instrument requires you to work with others to make music. You must learn how to cooperate with the people around you.

Students learn to memorize. Once they have followed their charts and know the music fairly well, they memorize it for performances, so they are constantly in the mode of retaining large “chunks” of data, downloaded and stored in their memory bank for later use. Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory. A study was done in which 22 children from age 3 to 4 and a half years old were given either singing lessons or keyboard lessons. Another group of 15 children received no music lessons at all. Both groups participated in the same preschool activities. The results showed that preschoolers who had weekly keyboard lessons improved their spatial- temporal skills 34 percent more than the other children. Not only that, but researchers said that the effect lasted long-term.

It refines listening skills. Being in a band requires students to use their best listening skills. They listen for rhythm, pitch, blend, dynamics. Playing an instrument requires you to listen very carefully to things. You learn to hear when you or someone else is playing a wrong note or chord. Tuning your instrument means hearing if the pitch you’re playing is high (sharp) or low (flat). By playing in a band you are guaranteed to improve your listening skills.

It helps develop better eye and hand coordination. Students learn to use their eyes differently. They must follow their music charts and translate what the chart says through coordinating their fingers via their instruments. So, by reading musical notes on a page, your brain subconsciously must convert that note into specific motor patterns while also adding breathing (if you’re a singer) and rhythm to the mix.

It teaches you to multi-task, manage time and have better organizational skills. Being in a band requires you to really learn how to be organized and to manage your time wisely, since there is more than just you to worry about. A good musician knows that the quality of practice time is more valuable than the quantity. In order for a musicians to progress quicker, they will learn how to organize their practice time and pick out the challenging parts to work on, making efficient use of time. And then there’s the printing out of charts, having a pencil ready to take notes, putting the charts in a binder if necessary and remembering to bring all those things along with their instrument, cables etc. to band rehearsal. Not to mention rehearsal times, organizing gigs and all the rest of the stuff that goes with being in a band.

It teaches you discipline. Playing an instrument can be very challenging. One of the qualities that musicians learn is discipline. Practicing often and working on the hard parts of music and not just the easy and fun stuff requires discipline. When you’re in a band sometimes you are required to play the “boring” parts that require little skill. Yet if it’s not there, it makes the song you’re planning to perform only “half baked”. Every musical part is important. The best musicians in the world are masters of discipline which is why they are so successful on their instrument. They see the simple and the complex through one lens.

It boosts self-esteem. Being in a band gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment and is good for their self-esteem. It raises their confidence level and eases their mind that they will not let their band mates down or disappoint them. They learn to bring their part to contribute to the overall success of the band, and in doing so they feel validated.

It teaches you perseverance. Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort, which really teaches you patience and perseverance. Most people can’t play every piece of music perfectly the first time. In fact, the majority of musicians have to work difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly. If you hang in there the hard work will pay off, even if you feel like giving up.

It provides opportunities to be stretched. There have been many times where I would put another instrument in someone’s hand, one they don’t play or feel comfortable with, and said to them, “you’re playing bass for this song”, or “you’re singing back-up” or “grab that tambourine and play along” (yes, I draw the line at the cowbell!) They learn to be stretched beyond their comfort zone, and in the process they put themselves out there and expand their knowledge of other instruments and learn what it’s like to be under pressure.

It improves your comprehension skills. According to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” It’s not surprising to hear results like that because music involves constant reading and comprehension. When you see black and white notes on a page, you have to recognize what the note name is and translate it to a finger position on your instrument. At the same time, you also have to read what rhythms the notes are arranged, or if playing by ear, retain the rhythm you hear from a recording, in your memory bank.

It expands your knowledge of musical styles, genres and music history. Regardless of the primary style of music your band plays, a good band will inevitably venture out of their boundary lines and play other styles of music, whether it be for a specific gig or just as an experiment. Often times you are forced to research certain genres and styles, artist profiles, specific chord charts etc. and listen to music you ordinarily wouldn’t listen to. All of this leads to an often unintentional “crossing over” or meshing of styles.

It develops your social skills. Playing an instrument can be a great way to enhance your social skills. I have seen many kids come out of their shell through playing in a band. Weekly band rehearsals become an oasis in an often stressful and complex world and many times the friends you make in the band become like family. It’s very common for people to gain lifelong friendships through musical activities like these.

It teaches you to be a performer. One of the goals of practicing so much on your instrument is so that you can perform for others. The more you get up in
 front of people and perform, the easier it becomes and the more you will enjoy showing off your skills that you worked so hard to develop. Playing on stage in a band helps build confidence in yourself, and being prepared and really knowing how to play your part makes it much easier to get up and play for a crowd.

So there you have it. There are probably many more reasons that I did not put down on paper that are floating in my head somewhere, but you get the idea… go be in a band!

In spite of all these great reasons, if the experience isn’t fun and something you make a part of your life, it won’t hold as much value. Make it a part of your lifestyle and let the music flow out from all the experiences you have in your life.

As an instrumentalist myself, one of my favorite musicians is Charlie Parker. Whenever I want to practice my skill I pick up the saxophone or flute and start sight reading his books. Charlie Parker himself once said, “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”

Wanna play in a band? Do it and then live it! You can be the performer you never thought you could be!

Tim Bakker specializes in Keys, Vocals, Band Direction, Production, Coaching and Arrangement.

You can learn more about our Band Performance Program HERE

TimBakker

The Select Blend

Posted by | Announcements | No Comments

coffee_music

WHAT IS PASSION ACADEMY?

We are a unique blend of cultural diversity, superior quality and world class experience… you won’t find us on a shelf, confined to mediocrity. We are not emulating what has been done before, and packaging it with a different branding. And though we do offer a free cup of freshly brewed coffee, we are not that kind of blend. What we are is a collective of music, dance and arts, balanced with mentorship and leadership training, and infused with passion to equip and mobilize, even the youngest generation.

There is nothing quite like it… the unique opportunity to be mentored by experienced musicians and artists who have hailed from Sweden, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, and even from across the plains of the U.S. as well as locally, to bring a premier academy of arts to Richmond, Virginia. Our renowned mentors resonate within them, elements of knowledge, skill and passion, cultivating an environment for students to grow in their gifts and talents, through mentorship that is custom designed to the student’s unique qualities.

Kate Jones - Community Rockstar

Kate Jones – Community Rockstar

We offer opportunities for students as young as toddlers to engage in expressive art, while growing in their relationship with God. Imagine our youngest generation discovering the wonder of God’s creation through Bible stories, art, music, and explorative play. Private and group lessons are available for students of all ages and skill level to learn piano, guitar, drums and vocal disciplines. Band lessons, dance, art, sound engineering, media design, song writing and leadership training will also be available to those who desire to enrich their lives and those around them.

We welcome you to come by during our business hours (Monday-Thursday 10AM-6PM, Friday 10AM-4PM and Saturday 12PM-4PM), meet a few of our mentors, tour our studios, enjoy a free cup o’ joe and discover how you can accomplish your dreams by enrolling in Passion Academy.

Tour our Studios