In 2013, Gloria Gardiner and her husband, Michael, opened the Greenwood School of Music with the hope of sharing their love of music with Middle Georgians of all ages and levels of music ability.
Early on, the school had 12 students. Three years later, the Gardiners are beginning the 2016-2017 school season on August 20, 2016, with four music instructors and 35 students learning violin, piano, guitar, and music therapy.
The little white house where three generations of the Gardiner family lived is now bursting with music and families.
“We have kids from international families, immigrant families, local families,” says Gloria, “and children with special needs, for music therapy, and we work with the insurance companies who pay for the therapy.”
At Greenwood, they work with students of all ages and levels of ability, including students with down syndrome, autism, and other developmental differences.
Many days, there are also younger siblings of the music students playing on the floors or running the grassy fields surrounding the music school.
Shilpi Shah, whose daughter began piano lessons at age 5, when
her family bought a 4-lesson certificate at a St. Andrew’s Montessori auction, says her family has had a fantastic experience at the music school: “We were thinking about getting her into music, but we weren’t sure as far as her age, if this was the right time. Her teacher was so awesome. My daughter liked bugs, and there were a few ladybugs on the side of the room, and my daughter was more interested in the ladybugs than the piano. So, she just went with it and used the ladybugs to do beats, marching around the room with her and doing scales with her.”
Ms. Shah says that the music school is like a family now. “Her younger brother loves to come here, and play with his cars on the floor or go out and run on the lawn. They had a picnic for all the families, which was nice, and the recitals are really fun for the kids,” she says.
Greenwood School of Music has also become an active participant in Macon’s community of music teachers.
“We host the meetings of the Macon Music Teacher’s Association, and we participate in the National Federation of Music Club’s Festival, where the students go and play for the judges and receive ratings,” says Gloria. “We also sent one student to the Georgia Music Teachers’ Association competition last year, as an experience, and she did well.”
In the summer of 2015, several teachers from the Greenwood School of Music participated at Wesleyan’s Kids’ College summer program. And this past summer, a local music teacher came to provide a group lesson music workshop at the music school.
“So the music school is not just teaching music, but providing resources and collaborative work with other teachers, for the public and private schools,” Gloria explains, as well as for in-home private music instructors, “because we have many, many music teachers in Macon who teach from their homes, and they are also part of our community.”
What is next for the Greenwood School of Music?
“This coming September, we are helping Wesleyan College for their Confucius Day celebration, to play the Chinese music, and I am forming a choir to sing a Chinese song,” she says. The ensemble will be led by the ACE (Academy for Classical Education, which is located here in Macon) orchestra, whose director, Patty Baser, also teaches violin students at the Greenwood School of Music.
Wesleyan College will host their Confucius Day program on September 24, 2016. There will be many activities for families and members of the community to explore Chinese culture. Come back to Macon Community News for more details on the event as they are available.