Mission: The mission of Valley Music Academy (VMA) is to provide quality music education to all in the community, regardless of gender, race, creed, or financial resources, while demonstrating that music is a powerful means of encouraging cooperation, celebrating diversity, building self-esteem, and cultivating an understanding of nonviolence and social justice.
Community Need: An increasing body of research has shown that high quality music education can have dramatic impacts on all aspects of a child’s development and can truly change their life – improving communication skills, attention, and memory, while also proving to be a powerful strategy and effective tool in closing the achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent counterparts. VMA provides financial assistance towards tuition for Musikgarten classes and private music lessons. While there are excellent band teachers in the local schools, the shortage of time and resources in that setting cannot compare to the type of gains seen when students commit to private lessons.
Scholarship availability and amount is determined annually based on grant funding and the state of VMA’s current financial budget. Scholarships are awarded to students through the age of eighteen based on the financial need of the family and the musical progress, effort and potential of the student. To be eligible, a family must have an Adjusted Gross Income less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The family of the scholarship recipient is also expected to volunteer a minimum of five hours per semester, which further deepens the level of commitment to the program by the family and the student.
Constituents Served: In 2017, VMA provided high quality music instruction to over 300 children, adults and seniors, totaling over 5,000 individual and group music classes. The age ranges were: under 5 (11$); 5-11 (42%); 12-18 (33%); 18+ (14%). They produced several all-ages music programs, including concerts and recitals with several hundred audience members in attendance. They serve the cities of Waynesboro, Staunton, Buena Vista, and Lexington; and Augusta, Albemarle, Nelson, Rockbridge, and Rockingham.
Primary Activities: VMA offers private and group music lessons for students of all abilities on over thirty instruments. Their lessons are priced approximately 27% lower than local music stores and private studios. The scholarship program provides over $3,000 in financial assistance annually to children who would not otherwise have the means to participate in music education at this level. Through these two initiatives, VMA provided almost $35,000 in reduced tuition rates to the community in 2017. While the lessons are offered at lower than market rates, the faculty is still compensated in line with higher priced programs, so they are able to attract and retain may of the finest musicians in the region as teachers.
VMA works in conjunction with the music departments and teachers throughout Augusta County public schools to increase awareness of their program, and to target students who would most benefit from the private instruction. They also have strong ties with area home school groups, and other organizations such as the YMCA, public libraries, and the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra.
Amount Requested: $3,500
Operating Budget: $132,000