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Many of us probably learned to play an instrument at some point in our lives. For most people, it starts at the elementary school level when we are introduced to the school band, orchestra, or choir. Unfortunately, as time goes on, a majority of students either fail to keep up with their music education because of other commitments or simply because they lose interest. Those factors, coupled with an unfortunate trend of decreased funding from music programs in schools across the United States, is creating a music vacuum amongst our student population. For individuals who are looking to take back their music education or are seeking to take their skills to the next level, the Penn Square Conservancy is providing the opportunity to grow.
The Penn Square Conservatory is carrying on the rich tradition of advanced music education in Lancaster County. A subsidiary company to the Penn Square Music Festival, the Conservatory provides an opportunity for students of all backgrounds, income levels, ages, and demographics to learn more about music and continue their education beyond what the local public and private schools can provide. Offering lessons for string, brass, wind, and vocal performance students, the Conservatory is prepared and ready to teach. Scott Drackley, a former music educator for 25 years at Lancaster Catholic High School, now leads the conservatory and is working hard to bring music education back in a profound way in Lancaster County.
Drackley has worked diligently to assemble a team of expert instructors and educators, a majority of whom have advanced degrees in music. Even now, the conservatory is seeking to hire even more instructors and teachers. With 8 active studios and 16 faculty on staff, the Conservatory reopened on September 1st of this year for lessons and has since seen a steady growth in enrollment. “While the work is hard and time consuming, it’s so rewarding and fun to see students progressing with their instruments again,” said Drackley. Even still, the Conservatory has hundreds of openings for new students.
“As we continue to grow and bring in new students, we want to be back performing at First Fridays and other Lancaster events. We want to see our musicians and students out there performing in front of people on a regular basis once it’s safe to do so,” said Drackley when asked about the future of the Conservatory. He went on to say, “Lancaster is such a historically, music-rich place. Between the Lancaster Symphony and all of the wonderful music programs at local school districts, we’re hoping to cultivate a strong music community once again and bring life back to a beautiful art form.”
As part of their mission, the Conservatory offers a scholarship program for students who may have a challenging time paying for their lessons. To apply, students will need to write an essay and provide a letter of recommendation from a previous or current music teacher. The Conservatory committee examines all of the applications and chooses each year’s winners. The scholarship includes a $5000 contribution toward lessons which covers an entire year at the conservatory.
To register for lessons, learn about pricing options, donate or apply to the scholarship fund, or to simply learn more about the Conservatory, visit pennsquaremusicconservatory.com. Be sure to also follow the Conservatory on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with all of their students and educators as well as the impact they are