Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program


Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program

Phoenix Conservatory of Music
9617 North Metro Parkway West
Suite 2112
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone: 602.353.9900

Focus: Music

Annual Number Participating: 110

Ages: 10–18

Annual Budget: $131,374

Partners: Arizona State University; Berklee City Music Network, Premier Partner; Berklee College of Music; Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences; Grand Canyon University; Insight Management; Jazz In AZ, The Nash; Maricopa County Community College District

Funders: Arizona Commission on the Arts; Arizona Lottery; Capital Group Companies; City of Phoenix, Office of Arts and Culture; Country Music Awards Foundation; D’Addario Foundation; Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust; Scottsdale League for the Arts; Season for Sharing; William L. and Ruth T. Pendleton Memorial Fund

The Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s (PCM’s) College Prep Program offers more than just modern-day entertainment. The program helps underserved students create magic through their own musical talents as they learn important life lessons that transcend the sheets on which the notes appear.

For three hours per week, 110 young artists hone their talents in a rigorous curriculum that simulates college study, while integrating private lessons, student-led contemporary musical groups, music theory, and live performances. Throughout this 30-week after-school program, musicians from grades four through 12 learn to play music, perform, secure copyrights, and create do-it-yourself marketing platforms on social media.

An enthusiasm for learning combined with creativity breeds responsibility and a need for self-discipline, both within and outside of the music studio. Consequently, monthly life skills classes focus on self-esteem, leadership, and workforce training. Participants also receive additional guidance, to help prepare them for life after high school, whether they plan to continue their education or seek employment. Topics include career exploration, interview preparation, marketing, tour management, business management, and nonprofit training,
as well as how to create a budget, finance a car loan, and apply for a college loan.

With headquarters at Phoenix’s Metrocenter Mall, PCM is able to give back to one of the communities it serves in a unique way. This collaboration helps draw foot traffic that generates new revenue streams; promotes positive publicity for the area; and, of course, delivers soothing music to a wider audience. Housed in about 80 percent of donated space, the program’s presence has infused new life into the mall, while providing a safe haven for students to assemble. And, to instill the concept that community support begins at home, participants are encouraged to share their musical talents by performing at least six hours of community service a year.

For these student musicians, the program’s 10-month run is hardly the finale. A remarkable 95 percent of PCM’s College Prep Program participants graduate from high school, and many go on to college. During the past seven years, the program’s students have garnered more than $1 million in scholarship offers. Exemplifying their passion for music, current students and alumni of PCM’s College Prep Program released their first digital album, 2017 Compilation CD: Volume 1. It comprises original tunes in such categories as pop and rock. A collaborative effort with professionals, students produced seven of the 11 tracks.

PCM changed my life. Learning how to focus and learning how to prioritize, I discovered I could manage my life better. My grades got better. I am really good at math [and] at science. Before PCM? Musical, yes; disciplined, no.

Abraham Gutierrez grade 8, participant, Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s College Prep Program