When I was a student at New England Conservatory of Music, our Gospel Ensemble was invited to perform at an event at Harvard University celebrating Civil Rights activist, Representative John Lewis. After our performance, Representative Lewis said, “Without music, the Civil Rights Movement would have been like a bird without wings.” Any time I doubt the importance of music, and the access to music education, I am reminded of this moment.
Growing up in rural Caldwell, Idaho, I did not have much nearby access to college preparatory education. Although I was able to join a performing arts high school that prepared me enough to gain entry and scholarships to schools like Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, University of North Texas, and the New School, I still had many gaps in my education and could not test out of first-level courses like many of my peers.
I noticed that the students who tested out of these courses often had attended expensive, top-rated preparatory schools in large cities like Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. With access to the same level of preparation, I could have dedicated more college credit hours to electives and advanced classes, in addition to having more freedom and time to discover and develop my artistic voice.
My idea for Allegro Virtual Preparatory came from the desire to help students like myself, from rural areas, from average, working class families, have the same access as those who live in cities with more financial privilege. It is my goal to offer an affordable pre-college opportunity to aspiring music students that builds foundational skills so students may advance out of level one college courses to save credit hours and spend more time cultivating their unique artistic voices.
Like many entering freshmen, I took all of the level-one ear training and solfege classes, as well as remedial theory. I loved school and enjoyed these classes, but music school is expensive, so it’s important to make the most of every moment, every credit hour, and every lesson.
Beyond helping students develop the necessary technical, performance, and professional skills for success as they enter the next phase of their musical and educational journeys, Allegro Virtual Prep strives to inspire each student to be socially conscious, and to use their music to make a positive impact in their own communities.