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W.O. Smith Community Music School

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education

Mission: The W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School, founded in 1984, is a nonprofit educational institution created for the purpose of making quality music instruction available to talented, interested, deserving children from low income families at the nominal fee of 50 cents a lesson. The school also seeks to encourage student participation in the cultural life of the community through concert attendance and performance.

Target demographics: low-income children

Direct beneficiaries per year: 700 low-income children ages 6 to 18.

Geographic areas served: Nashville/Middle Tennessee

Programs: W.O. Smith Music School provides music instruction to children from low-income families for 50ยข per lesson. 200 volunteer teaching artists provide all lessons. Instruments and learning materials loaned at no additional cost. No child is turned away from our services for an inability to pay our modest fees. We transform lives through music!

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Ann_95

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught saxophone and worked the summer camps at the school for 5 years. This is one of the most special places in Nashville. Not only does it serve a great purpose, but more importantly many students see this place as home. I was strongly impacted by the staff, fellow volunteers, and especially the students in my 5 years of working there. I miss it whenever Monday night rolls around and I'm not driving down Wedgewood to see my students. Everyone in Nashville should know this school exists and find a way to get involved and support what they do.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first experience with this amazing school was as a volunteer teacher almost 10 years ago. I had the opportunity to teach percussion lessons to a high school senior to help prepare her for her college drumline audition. Great news...she made the drumline!

Over the past 4 years, I have had the pleasure of serving on the school's Advisory Council and now Board of Directors! This school is amazing and continues to touch the lives of hundreds of students every day! This is by far, the most amazing music school of it's kind! I love the W.O.Smith Music School!

Jordan24

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was taught piano, trumpet and drums at W.O. Smith as a child. I absolutely loved everything about this place. As a kid I didn't quite get the blood, sweat and tears that went on behind the scenes here, but wow - I do now. I still have my old W.O. Smith Summer Camp t-shirt! Great memories and I'll never forget it. My experience at W.O. Smith was life changing. I've moved away from Nashville, but I've had college friends move there and I've recommended they volunteer there. I had 5-star treatment at W.O. Smith.

Lance A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught guitar at the music school for several years and seen some wonderful talent there. It's a great organization and very organized. I've gotten great referrals for my own business as a result of being a volunteer. They are well connected in the community and serve a great purpose of teaching kids music in a safe and positively influential environment.

chrisreynolds

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught guitar here a while back & I have helped them out with computers a few times since. I also created a birdhouse for their annual fundraiser. These folks are AWESOME! I can't say enough about this program. The work they are doing changes the lives of these kids. Music heals the soul & some of these kids can use some healing. I personally saw how music brought joy to my students. Sometimes they would come in and their spirits were very down. After a few minutes of playing some music....the smiles start. This is a bright moment in their day. If there is only one non-profit you give support to, make WO Smith the one.

Previous Stories
1

Former staff

Rating: 5

W.O. Smith school opened my eyes to the power of giving and reaffirmed my opinion on the power of music. I was a volunteer teacher for a year and I saw 1st hand how much this school does for for the kids. It was awesome to see the gleem in my students eyes when they "got it". When they were able to play the part they thought was too hard or learn their favorite song. I had students who really didn't have much and were having trouble at home, and their lessons were a tiny escape from all of that. When I think of Jonah, Lynn & the staff, I smile. They are doing GREAT work.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an organization where mission, management and participation of board, employees and patrons all come together. The school, with only three full time employees, manages approximately 200 volunteers to serve 400 students. In addition to just teaching music to underserved children, the school is now reaching out to help these children apply for college, teach the volunteer teachers and provide music events for the community. The only problem is that even more students want to learn at W.O. Smith Music School.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As the daughter of two musicians, I know how important music education can be in the life of a child. The years I spent studying piano have been a benefit to me in ways I never could have imagined. Every child deserves the opportunity to have the well-rounded education that music can provide, and the work that the W.O.Smith school does provides virtually unlimited opportunities for the students who participate. I have interviewed a number of the students and have seen how their pride in accomplishment has given them a new confidence. From the recital hall to the White House, W.O. Smith students are going places!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as a volunteer teacher since it's doors opened. It is a marvelous place to participate in and observe a child's growth in the scholarship and artistry of music. When I was a full time teacher and sometimes questioned if music in my classroom was having any effect, my weekly after-school WOS sessions reaffirmed the power music has as a discipline & inspiration for children & youth. Many hours given by so many musicians in such a nurturing atmosphere has impacted generations across Nashville communities. It is a model for any city seeking to access community/professional music resources for its underserved clientele (school aged children & youth).

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

WO Smith Music School is a dynamic organization that fills a great need in Nashville. Studies have shown that children who participate in arts and music programs have better self-discipline and greater self-confidence, and unfortunately, public school systems across the country are cutting arts and music programs due to lack of funding. WO Smith Music School helps to close that gap by offering an array of music lessons to children for next to nothing. Thanks to WO Smith Music School and the more than 200 volunteer teachers, children are learning to play a musical instrument, are learning music theory, are singing in a choir and are gaining exposure to the world of music. Without WO Smith Music School, hundreds of children would not have the opportunity to participate in such a program.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a current advisory council member and a former private lesson instructor. My experience teaching at WO Smith was amazing. To be able to share the gift of music with another person is a blessing and one that I am thankful to have. The school always made my job as a teacher enjoyable as the administration of the program crossed every T and dotted every I. I can not think of a non-profit organization in Nashville that speaks to this being "music city". I encourage everyone who reads this to visit the website www.wosmith.org and find a way to be involved. The gift of music is a powerful thing!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I teach piano to kids who qualify for the free lunch program and have volunteered with W.O. Smith for five years. WO staff does an incredible job on a very small budget. We impact the lives of so many kids. If they stay in the program they all graduate from high school. Many go on to college. Music helps kids learn math and that they can succeed with discipline and hard work.

4

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with the W. O. Smith School for 16 years in one capacity or another, starting as a volunteer and rotating from the council to the board and back numerous times. I have watched the school grow and fund a beautiful new school, record an album with Jimmy Buffett, receive a Pensky truck load of free musical equipment (including pianos) from the Today Show's Al Roker and perform at the White House for the Obamas. This is the most effective and efficiently run organization with which I have ever been involved. It has given many children an opportunity to learn and grow and feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on boards of many non-profits over a 38 year period. W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School is the most well-managed non-profit I have ever experienced.The fiscal management, as well as the care and concern for the students and curriculum are unsurpassed.As a result, our company and I personally have made it our #1 charitable cause for our personal donations.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

In my 12 year association with WO Smith Music School I have found it to be the best operated, most effective non-profit in the nation. With a full time staff of 3 it oversees a vast army of over 150 volunteer teachers that reach over 500 children of low income families with the opportunity to learn a musical; instrument. The impact that this has made in the lives of so many is both overwhelming and gratifying.