Opportunity, Rigor, Results: Sphinx Music

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Talking Up Music Education is a podcast from The NAMM Foundation about music education. Recorded live from The 2017 NAMM Show, episode 29 includes an interview with the Director of Education at the Sphinx Organization, Xavier Verna.

Interviewed by The NAMM Foundation’s Mary Luehrsen, Verna discusses how the Sphinx Organization is overcoming a lack of diversity in the arts with camps, scholarships, and competitions for black and latino students.

“When you decide you want to be a musician, it's not just about playing, you're educating people. Your image is important and makes an impact in different communities,” said Verna. “It's a big role that we step into, and we support our alumni as much as we can so that they can do that in their communities.”

A recent grantee recipient of The NAMM Foundation, the Sphinx Organization is a Detroit-based national performing arts organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. 

Sound Bites From the Podcast

“This year we're going to be at the Cleveland Institute of Music for two weeks. The program is really trying to help kids with their confidence level and just feeling like they have a place in this world of classical music.” - Xavier Verna

“Anybody who came through the Sphinx Competition was essentially asked to contribute back. That's a really special thing about Sphinx- we call that la familia. So everyone's very tight, everyone knows each other, and we help each other out a lot, and ever since then the program has grown tremendously.” - Xavier Verna

“My first experience was playing with the Sphinx Symphony. When I was in a room with other people who looked like me, I [realized] I belong[ed] somewhere.” - Xavier Verna

Talking Up Music Education is a podcast produced by The NAMM Foundation about music education. Host Mary Luehrsen chats with teachers, parents, students and community leaders who share stories about what they are doing to create music learning opportunities. Please download, share and subscribe to keep up with the stories that make a difference in music education advocacy.

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