In spring of 2010, I offered to teach a history of music class for a local homeschool co-op at the request of some of the families. It was a lot of fun, and it got me thinking about the need for music education among homeschoolers. After completing my graduate work in 2011, I took a short break from research and writing. Then I set out on something I had needed to do for years, write out a personal philosophy of music. This later became The Tuned In Musician. This led to a personal certainty that we had to find a way to serve the community more, and better, through teaching music and making it available to everyone.
In the summer of 2012, after speaking with some community leaders we realized there were a substantial number of families even in the public schools that are not afforded the opportunity of a music education because of financial, school budget, or time constraints. We put together a community band program for the summer with the help of several families and local community organizations, and we funded about 80% of the students through scholarships and borrowed instruments from a local school.
This was the start. Still, The Tuned In Academy was just an idea. It was just a dream that seemed at the least something we could only hope, pray, and reach for only in the distant future. Jenna and I had been teaching music for years, but mostly out of the home or in a few community environments. We had never really considered any larger reaching academy, something that could serve an entire community in group format. We were nearing the end of a season when I attended my first doctoral seminars, but not sure where we would end up next on multiple levels. We have believed it was time to return to the Northwest, but never really knew exactly what it would look like or when it would happen.
I had mentioned a dream of one day opening an academy of music in the Olympia, WA area in my doctoral seminars. An area we fell in love with when we were out visiting my family years ago. The professor and chair of my doctoral program said, Sean-David, I think you and your family should move to the NW and start that music academy you talked about.
We left for Washington in 2013 with nothing but our van and a little U-Haul trailer, and started with our first student just a few months later. Now, just a little over a year later we are beginning a new chapter, The Tuned In Academy has our first building!
The next step for the academy is a development of an advisory board that will help us prepare to raise funds for making music education available to anyone and everyone that would want it in the Olympia, Lacey, or DuPont areas. Tuned In is not just for homeschool families, it is an academy for all people. The goal is to make music education available and meaningful.
While TIA began with just Jenna and me, we certainly couldn’t do any of this on our own. As we meet like-minded musician-educators that share our passion and purpose, we look forward to seeing the academy grow with more choices for study as our team develops. This coming January we are excited to begin a pilot program in visual art classes (pencil, charcoal, and watercolors). – Sean-David (October, 2014)