Supporting Musicians Through Education: Fall 2014 Class & Workshop Schedule

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Aug 28, 2014

Supporting Musicians Through Education: Fall 2014 Class & Workshop Schedule

Musicians, students, and parents of the Foundry often offer advice about what programs they’d like to see. But given the Foundry’s limited resources (i.e. a staff of five including owner Mike Olson), there wasn’t the ability to follow through on all the great ideas.

So to expand beyond our means, we leveraged our close relationship with musicians and the community by collecting class ideas from our students, parents, and the public and requesting program proposals from music instructors. This way we were able to create a large schedule (28 classes and workshops) with limited traditional resources.

Click here for the full Fall 2014 Class & Workshop Schedule

Being owned, staffed, and occupied by musicians, the Foundry tends to operate much like a band. With a staff of five and a drastically tight budget, we’re forced to be creative across the board in how we operate and promote the business. Our day to day activities surround us with creative thinkers, and so part of our job is capturing that creativity and turning it into to something real and viable. And that process involves building trust and allowing a certain degree of autonomy to anyone who is proposing ideas.

And we have to reciprocate. When someone approaches us with an idea, we have to respond promptly and with thoughtful responses that respect the original idea but constructively build on it in a way that we think will make it successful. Thus we engage in a co-creative process--kind of like songwriting.

The co-creative process for this fall schedule began early on with the Instructor Proposal Submission form. In addition to questions about the program curriculum this online form included many important marketing based questions such as who is this class geared towards, and how are we and you going to reach them? The reasons for this is that the Foundry’s business model has always been one of co-promotion. On its own the Foundry cannot promote everything it does, but with the help of all the musicians and music instructors who also promote themselves, then it’s possible to effectively market the Foundry. And in turn the Foundry has become a type of support system for musicians who want to promote themselves.

Underlying this process is our desire to support musicians so that they can be successful at their craft. Our support comes in the following ways:

  • Madison Music Foundry itself which is a 7,000 square foot facility with 17 studios that can be used for giving lessons, holding classes, and rehearsing
  • Affordable rates that working musicians can actually afford
  • Other resources to help promote classes including flyers, social media support, and web pages
  • Consultations with instructors on how to identify and reach out to potential students who would be interested in the instructors’ specialties
  • Practical, real-world skills built in to every curriculum including lessons, workshops, and classes (see From the Studio to the Stage below)
  • Consultations on best practices for lesson studio and class management

Our model enables musicians to help each other. Whenever any of our instructors promote themselves, it helps the Foundry and hence it helps everyone who teaches and studies there. And when an instructor needs help with a particular issue, be it online support, studio management, or promotion, there is another instructor who is well versed in that area. And so we simply act as an intermediary helping to connect people with needs with others who can help.

The Foundry’s ability to support musicians depends a lot on support from the community, which is why we actively partner with businesses and organizations that share in our cause. We are a member of Dane Buy Local, we frequently partner with the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), and we are involved with the Willy Wash and FAME for Good (Food, Art, Music, and Environment for Good) movements. We use local businesses as much as possible including the High Noon Saloon (music venue), the Frequency (music venue), Sooper Dooper (flyer printing and CD and DVD duplication), and Monarch Designs (signage). In the past we’ve also partnered with Girls Rock Camp, Madison Area Musicians Association Local 166, and the numerous organizations and bands that have been generous enough to host and assist in our students’ performances (see From the Studio to the Stage below).

Part of our education philosophy is practical application. And so we work to provide as many opportunities as we can for our students to perform. Here are some examples of performances this year:

  • March 9 - Rock Workshop band Take the King plays Teens for Tunes at the High Noon Saloon as part of a fundraiser for the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs)
  • March 15 - Rock Workshop band The Distant Cuzins plays the halftime show for the Mad Rollin’ Dolls
  • April 6 - Student Showcase at the High Noon Saloon featuring over 75 students of music lessons, Rock Workshop, Jazz Workshop, and an African Drumming class
  • June 16 - Foundry Jazz Ensemble opens for The Big Payback at Concerts at McKee in Fitchburg
  • July 2 - Rock Workshop band Take the King plays the kids tent before Concerts on the Square and talks about what it’s like to be in a band
  • July 5 - Voice lesson student Denzell Jones sings the national anthem at the Madison Mallards game
  • July 5 - Rock Workshop band The Distant Cuzins opens for the Hometown Sweethearts as part of the post-Madison Mallards game/pre-Northside fireworks show
  • July 19 - Foundry Jazz Ensemble performs at Strollin’ Monroe Street put on by the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium
  • July 20 - Music lesson students perform a recital at the Monona Farmers Market
  • July 21 - Foundry Folk Ensemble opens for Count This Penny at Concerts at McKee in Fitchburg
  • July 26 - Rock Workshop band Flash Drive performs at the Kids Stage at AtwoodFest
  • July 27 - Student Showcase at the High Noon Saloon featuring music lesson and Rock Workshop students
  • August 18 - Rock Workshop band Take the King opens for The Kissers at Concerts at McKee in Fitchburg
  • September 3 - Foundry Jazz Ensemble scheduled to open for the Darren Sterud Orchestra at Jazz at Five

Click here for the full press release