Trading in birds for music and the arts

emma-with-ravenBy Emma Snellings
A little over one year ago I had no idea that South Shore Conservatory (SSC) even existed. I had been working as an environmental educator outside of Boston, teaching children about birds of prey.  Over time this position had transitioned into a program management role, which made me interested in learning more about non-profit development and fundraising.

After seeing SSC’s job posting for an institutional advancement associate and doing research on SSC, I could not believe I had never encountered it before!  Music was a huge part of my school experience, and the chance to help SSC spark a love of music in others seemed like a great opportunity to me.  As institutional advancement associate, I could help the development, marketing and performance departments with important projects, such as gift acknowledgement to database management to concert program creation.  It’s true that birds make beautiful music all their own, but I was excited to explore and enjoy human music at SSC!

Let me tell you that working in an office while listening to three or more consecutive music lessons is certainly a new experience for me. I’ve been in a noisy office before, but this was a different kind of noise.  It was the wonderful sound of joyful, arts-filled learning. The biggest surprise for me was discovering the wide range of programs and activities at SSC. When I started here, I basically knew SSC offered private lessons, and a couple of other programs. Over the course of my year here, I have developed a more in depth understanding of the breadth of what SSC offers the community, and it is huge!  From Music Together for our youngest students, to our arts-integrated preschool, pre-k and kindergarten programs, to hip hop lessons, to Bay Youth Symphony youth orchestra, a Creative Arts Therapies programs, Open Mic nights, summer camps and adult ensembles, one could start out taking lessons as an infant, and stay until, well…forever.

I have always loved attending concerts and musicals, so imagine my delight at having access to such a wide variety of performances right at my fingertips!  From Performathon at Barnes & Noble, to A Celtic Sojourn out in the amphitheater this past summer, I have enjoyed many performances throughout my first year at SSC. I play the trumpet, and in high school and college also played the tuba and baritone horn. Although I don’t perform with an ensemble right now, I still enjoy playing, and I certainly enjoy being in a music-filled environment.

 I really appreciated witnessing the students’ transformations in our summer programs here. As I drove up the driveway every morning, I heard ensembles rehearsing throughout campus. I listened to Summer Vocal Institute (SVI) and Summer Music Festival (SMF) students, and realized the moment they came together as an ensemble, finding their voice. It was a real treat to attend the final performances and hear their polished pieces.

If I were an arts education teacher, I would love to teach Music Together. Every time I walk by the classroom it just looks like a lot of fun! I also love the idea of introducing music to children early in their lives, to help spark a lifelong love of music and learning.  It’s important work. 

Come check out SSC, as I did, and see what might be here for you. It is easy to hear the word ‘Conservatory’ and assume it is extremely talented people taking piano and violin lessons (my initial assumption).  As a community school for the arts, it is so much more!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s