SOUNDS ACADEMY

The zip code of a child should not dictate their access to music education.

Phoenix, AZ   |  www.soundsacademy.org

Mission

SOUNDS Academy is a non-profit music education organization that teaches, mentors, and provides musical experiences and opportunities for underserved youth. Students receive individual lessons, group classes, and perform on string and woodwind instruments, guitar, and piano. Instruments are provided to those who cannot afford one. In SOUNDS Academy students learn the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education. We teach these values in our Musical Access Program, which connects students to live music and instruments through our Instrument Petting Zoos, our School Programs for lower income schools and community centers, and our SOLO Program, which provides one-on-one instruction.

Ruling year info

2014

Founder & Director

Kirk Johnson

Main address

PO Box 44497

Phoenix, AZ 85064 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-3932746

NTEE code info

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Low-income and minority students persistently lack music education opportunities in and out of school. The 2018 Arizona Arts Education Data Project reports that schools with the lowest levels of access to arts courses were schools where more than 75% of students qualified for Free/Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL). In fact, 40% of these students had no access to arts education compared to 14% of students at schools where less than 25% qualified for FRL. Furthermore, 32% of Arizona schools offer no arts education with more than 188,000 Arizona students having no access to arts classes. With state education funding at one of the lowest points in 30 years, schools struggle to find the resources to offer arts education programs for their students. At SOUNDS Academy we believe that zip code of a child should not dictate their access to music education. Out of this belief, SOUNDS Academy was born to provide music education to children who want to participate in the arts.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Musical Access Program

The Musical Access Program exposes children to musical experiences through live performances and Instrument Petting Zoos. In an Instrument Petting Zoo, SOUNDS Academy brings instruments to schools and community center so that children can try instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and guitar. Through this program, children are inspired to explore music and play instruments. SOUNDS Academy brings performers and music professionals to schools. Beyond students experiencing a live performance, musicians share their stories and speak about the importance of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, teamwork, and higher education.
This program serves 4000 students each year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

School Programs provide instrumental instruction in a group setting at schools and community centers. Students learn the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education. While in the School Program, students receive instruments, music books, and other supplementary materials. The classes teach note reading and the fundamentals of instrument performance in bi-weekly hour-long classes. Students perform for the community at the end of each semester.
This program serves 200 students each year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

SOLO (Students Optimizing Leadership Opportunities) provides one-on-one lessons to students. Students receive mentorship to prepare them for auditions and high level performances. Students learn the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education. While in the SOLO Program, students receive instruments, music books, and other supplementary materials. It is out of this program that students have received scholarships to play with orchestras and attend college. Students of this program also lead Instrument Petting Zoos throughout the valley.
This program serves 100 students each year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

The Collective consists of 50 hardworking students whom exemplify the character values of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork. Students in this program attend concerts, take lessons, play in a chamber ensemble, and take theory classes for 6 hours a week. Additionally, these students perform throughout the valley, using the community as their stage. This program gives children the opportunity to impact the lives of others through their community outreach while gaining a deeper understanding of their instrument and themselves.
This programs serves 50 students each year.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of lessons taught

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

SOLO Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of scholarship awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOUNDS Academy is focused on developing the character traits of creativity, leadership, perseverance, resilience, and teamwork through music education in our young students. SOUNDS Academy has established a continuum of music programs that range from introducing youth to instruments to nurturing them to become high-level performers. Our Musical Access Program introduces youth to live music and instruments; our School Programs
partner with schools and community organizations to deliver group music instruction during or after school; the SOLO program provides individual lessons; and The Collective offers higher-level group ensemble and music theory classes.

SOUNDS Academy aims to offer high-quality music education/experiences for 325 children in underserved communities across Metro-Phoenix. Through our programming, we strive to achieve the following overarching goals:
1. To reduce the inequality of access to music education
2. To develop not only the musical talent but the character and leadership ability of each
of the children in our programs
3. To increase the minority representation in professional orchestras across America

The Atlanta Music Project (AMP) mission is to inspire social change by providing Atlanta's underserved youth the opportunity to learn music in orchestras and choirs. To achieve this mission AMP brings all the components of a conservatory-level music program to underserved neighborhoods and provide full scholarships for each child to attend.

Each student in SOUNDS Academy receives an instrument, a teacher, classes and curriculum, and several public performance opportunities. Music instruction takes place in 1-on-1 lessons, group lessons, theory classes and concerts are performed throughout the Metropolitan Phoenix area on a regular basis. The Collective meets weekly to develop music theory skills, performances classes, and ensemble playing techniques.

SOUNDS Academy teaching artists are all degreed, professional musicians and music educators. Bringing in top quality teaching artists is in keeping with the SOUNDS Academy strategy to bring all the components of a conservatory-level music education program to underserved neighborhoods.

SOUNDS Academy is an expert at organizing and running high-quality music programs in underserved neighborhoods that focus on character development. We bring in our own instruments, teaching artists, and curriculum. Over the past six years we have developed and fine tuned our own curriculum to aid students in becoming proficient and literate instrumentalists as well as wonderful human beings. We have monthly Professional Development meetings with our teaching artists to address a variety of topics including, adverse childhood experiences, brain development, and teaching techniques. We are able to implement our programming within a diverse array of institutions, including schools, churches and community centers.

SOUNDS Academy is well-versed in community partnerships, having worked with over 40 organizations to help bring music opportunities to children. These organizations include various colleges such as Estrella Mountain Community College, Grand Canyon University, and Northern Arizona University to connect our students to higher level music experiences; ensembles such as The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Symphony of the Southwest to connect our students to high level performances; school districts such as the Avondale, Roosevelt, and Littleton School Districts to provide music education opportunities for children; and local companies such as Central Music, Mike Nye Instrument Repair, and Valley of the Sun Violin to provide high quality instruments and books to our students. Our community partners are key in enabling us to focus on teaching music, all while providing our students with opportunities to perform all over the valley and broaden their horizons in the process.

Since September of 2014, we have given over 35,000 lessons and classes. Over 19,000 students have been exposed to live music and instruments through our Musical Access Program. We have given close to $145,000 in scholarships for students to participate in music education programs, camps, and college. Today we have 300 students in our SOLO and School Programs that receive instruments and weekly instruction.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    SOUNDS Academy believes in our students and their futures. As a result, we conduct College Prep Workshops in order to teach our students about their college options and address topics such as auditioning, scholarships, and campus life. We send out feedback surveys after each workshop. Last year, we also sent the feedback surveys to our alumni students who are currently in College. We made changed based upon the feedback of current and alumni students. These changes included spreading out the workshops throughout the year to group the topics, including check ins where students can have 1-on-1 meetings with our College Specialist, and discussing other options that can help to build a student's resume such as how to prepare for job interviews and how to obtain an internship.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

SOUNDS ACADEMY
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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SOUNDS ACADEMY

Board of directors
as of 1/4/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Tony Bell

Salt River Project


Board co-chair

Becky Bell

Maxwell & Morgan, P.C.

Virginia Johnson

Massachusetts Institutes of Technology

Brittany Bryant

Maricopa County

Forest Melton

Eluminate Wellness

Ryan Easton

Pure Insurance

Illya Riske

Arizona Department of Transportation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/22/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/22/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.