For the past 13 years I’ve worked as an instructor at McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to teach students from all over the world, and work with some of the most creative and inspiring people you’re ever likely to meet. The school closed unexpectedly just before the end of 2017. Everyone was shocked and dismayed that such a magical place somehow could not survive in our modern society. I could expound here about the importance of the arts in our culture, the exorbitant cost of higher education in our country, the myriad regulations and bureaucratic roadblocks the school encountered, or other reasons the college was forced to close.
But I’d prefer to focus on the positive takeaways of my time there: a multitude of musical projects and collaborations, creative and inspired students determined to forge a career in the music industry, and a dedicated staff and faculty eager to share their decades of experience and expertise. Many music colleges might claim the same bonafides, but after 30 years McNally Smith garnered a reputation that inspired students to come from all over the U.S., Asia, India, Europe, and Africa to come study there. I’m proud to have been a part of that.
The modern music industry is a complex and evolving beast. But technology has given us opportunities to create and distribute content in ways that are a dream come true for many aspiring musical people. So farewell McNally Smith, and to all my former students out there, the dream lives on.