PHOENIX — A non-profit music school in Phoenix can teach every aspect of carrying a tune – thanks in part to the Country Music Awards Foundation.
You could say the Phoenix Conservatory of Music is designed like a chromatic scale. Starting with early childhood programs that can expand to private or group lessons and after-school programs. The crescendo of PCM is the College Prep program.
Executive Director Regina Nixon says classes are $70 a month.
Nixon said more than half of their alumni right now are on a full scholarship.
For students who may not want to pursue a career in music, Nixon says the benefits of music in life play on well after the song is over.
“It provides neurological pathways that really help to strengthen things like language arts development, science, physics, and mathematics,” said Nixon.
The program struck a chord with the Country Music Awards.
Collectively, PCM has been to use about $70,000 from the CMA foundation with much of that money helping pivot their programs virtually during the pandemic.
“(the CMAs) are really passionate about country music playing a role in the future generations of musicians,” said Nixon.
For 17-year-old Lourde Childs, an alumni of PCM, the storytelling aspect of country music is something he works into his music.
At just six years old, Childs and his brother came to PCM to expand their abilities on the violin. Once Nixon heard him sing, he never looked back.
As a musician who can play guitar, piano, violin, and sing, Childs is working on an album, he was invited to the CMAs in 2019 as a guest by another artist and in January, he’ll start his studies at the Berklee College of Music.
“It’s been a remarkable journey to watch him as a human being develop,” said Nixon.
From having the ability to improvise his own vocal melodies to writing original lyrics from inspiration he finds in the moment in front of a piano or behind a guitar – Childs says he owes it all to the Phoenix Conservatory of Music.
“It puts you in a realistic environment where you can thrive as yourself and thrive alongside other people who love to do exactly what you love to do,” said Childs.