The New Year is almost upon us. It has been quite a year for music education in BC with a few bright spots along the way. It has been great to see some new initiatives and new schools opening in Vancouver with some renewed energy with the Vancouver Academy of Music under its new direction with Joseph Elworthy at the helm. Also a brand new school has opened in the downtown core, the VSO School of Music began operations this past September under the direction of Shaun Taylor. Many of the Vancouver Symphony Musicians teach at this school, where as before many of them taught at Vancouver Academy. More importantly the two schools provide great teaching facilities, which has attracted some of the best musicians and educators in the province to teach at their facilities.
The cold reality is that because of the incredibly high real estate and housing costs in Vancouver, developing a home studio is really not as an attractive an option as in other parts of Canada. The truth is most musicians in Vancouver, unless they have spouses earning big incomes (obviously not as musicians); well, we live in condos, townhouses and apartments where strata laws prohibit activities such as operating a home music studio. And then of course if you do have a place to have a home studio then there are those pesky neighbours who object to hearing beginning students making those strange noises, and of course the endless parade of vehicle traffic through their neighbourhoods as parents drop off the kids.
The community music school is both a benefit to students and to faculty, as these wonderful new facilities such as the VSO school offer state of the art facilities with acoustic engineering, wonderful instruments for the pianists, and new performing spaces such as the new recital hall at the VSO School and the new black box theatre which has opened in the same building.
Providing a home, or a place for both artists and the general public to come together and experience the Joy of Music is what our nonprofit member schools are all about. Looking forward to carrying our mission forward in 2012. Happy New Year everyone!