Francis Graffeo

Street Talk

 

What's the mission of the Joy of Music School?

We're founded on the belief that every child that wants music should get it. Our mission is to provide a quality music education for disadvantaged kids. In order to be considered for admission, students should qualify under the federal guidelines for free or reduced lunches. One hundred kids a week get a private lesson, one-on-one lesson, and we provide the instruments and materials. We speak with and survey parents, because it's important to measure outcomes for granting organizations.

Where is the school located?

The building (at 1209 Euclid Ave.) is our new home. We've been here for a couple of years and have added to it. We own the building. We don't lease it, we own it. We are so fortunate to have such a great space to teach in. First of all, the kids we teach are in this location. Through improving the property we are helping the neighborhood come back from tougher times. The building is a great haven for our students.

Who are your biggest supporters?

We have a fantastic partnership with Starbucks. All of the East Tennessee Starbucks have adopted us as their charity. We get support from the city and county, although this year we didn't get any direct city support. The county has been consistent. Our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank plays a bigger role than you might think. These are afterschool programs. They can come here, have a snack and play music. We also encourage all of our friends to join Tennesseans for the Arts. That's an advocacy group that lobbies the needs of arts and culture organizations to legislature.

The teachers are volunteers, right? Where do they come from?

They come from all over. Wherever you might find musicians, they come from there. But there are musicians in all walks of life.

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