SOUNDS Academy increasing access to music education

A Valley nonprofit is making sure all kids have access to music education, no matter what their family’s income may be.
Kirk Johnson started SOUNDS Academy nine years ago after moving to the Phoenix area and realizing students here weren’t given the same opportunities he had as a child.“One of our taglines is ‘the zip code of a child should not dictate their access to music education,'” Johnson said. “Specifically north and east high schools tend to have more music education than west and south.”
The program started with just a dozen students and has now grown to over 300. Teachers give lessons at eight sites across the Valley. They also have after-school programs and private lessons. The instruments are borrowed by students for free as long as they show up ready to perform.
“The most a student will pay is $60 a month,” Johnson said. “But then we have scholarships for them to eliminate that cost as well.”
The program also has what’s called “instrument petting zoos” where they bring instruments to schools all over town so children can learn what music is all about.

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