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The Journey

This year marks the 8th anniversary of the Sanaa Music Workshop, a proud product of Second Line Arts Collective. Our vision for this program is finally blossoming into reality. Looking back, it's both humbling and exhilarating to remember how it all began.

In the beginning, Gregory and I had this bold, audacious idea to pass on our knowledge to the next generation, just like our mentors did before us, but with one crucial twist. We were determined to do it better and tailor it to the modern music market.

Music education, unlike most professions, is often taught from a historical standpoint by institutions that don't practice the craft themselves. In most school settings, working musicians are rarely the ones teaching. Instead, it's the diligent individuals who studied but didn’t get the chance to practice professionally. This traditional approach might have worked in a slower-paced world, but today, things change rapidly. We realized that this gap in practical, up-to-date training was a disservice to students. So, we set out to offer a fresh perspective, and for eight years, we've been making that vision a reality. It's truly incredible if you ask me.

When we first started, we pitched our idea to anyone who would listen. We got 99 no's for every 100 asks. Nobody—truly nobody—could see our vision. So, we did what any tech-savvy millennial would do: we turned to Facebook for fundraising! It's funny to think about it now. We managed to raise around $3,000 and convinced our friends to work for almost nothing as teachers. We also found a building with all the gear and rooms we needed, for free! And just like that, the Second Line Arts Collective's Sanaa Music Workshop was born.

We had one small problem, though—we didn't have any students. Gregory, who was teaching at the local arts school, set up masterclasses where we could pitch our workshop. We spoke to over 100 students and convinced about 10 of them to embark on this adventure with us. These students were talented and eager, and our little ragtag team had an amazing time working with them.

Fast forward to 2024, and here we are with 42 applicants and a $62,000 budget to provide our current cohort with the best experience we could dream up. The coolest part? Those original 10 students now work with us as interns and teachers! Our friends who initially agreed to teach for peanuts are now paid well, and some are still with us today.

My dream is to grow this program into a world-class initiative that helps this generation—and future generations—become more economically stable as they journey into the world of creativity. Our world is changing fast with AI and other emerging technologies that will inevitably alter how we make a living as creatives. We're going to lean on our students to help us stay relevant. They will bring new ideas, and I can't wait to step aside and let them lead the way into the future.



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