UNI TED CONSERVATORY N E W S A N D NO T E S
A PLACE TO BELONG How to Create Community Through Music
What does it mean to build a sense of community?
environment of support. There’s an
My family left South Korea and came to the United States when I was 7 years old. We lived in Boston for three years before moving to Alaska, where I lived between the ages of 10 and 17. We moved from Alaska to Oregon, and when I started college, I left for San Francisco. Though I have lived in many different places, nowhere truly felt like home. While each of these places were great in their own way, there was never a sense of community I felt like I belonged to. Wherever I went, I had to make the best of it. As Director of the United Conservatory of Music, my intention is to create a space where every student, teacher, and staff member feels a sense of community when they walk in the door. When I was learning music, there was no place like UCM where I could go. I had private lessons with private teachers who were talented, but the benefit of our school is that it puts students alongside musicians who are going through the same things. Even when students are in private lessons at UCM, they can still interact with other kids who are learning and struggling along with them. Learning an instrument can be difficult at times. I think if I had a music school to attend when I was young, it would have enabled me to be part of something and build close-knit bonds with other people. I could have seen other students with the same issues I had, who shared my struggles, hopes, and experiences. “As Director of the United Conservatory of Music, my intention is to create a space where every student, teacher, and staff member feels a sense of community when they walk in the door.”
energy that inspires us to move forward that you don’t necessarily
experience when you’re working all
alone. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching students support one another. People are meant to work together. In music,
students are able to go so much further when they have a place where they can focus and find the support of their peers.
I think the reason I never felt a sense of community growing up is because I changed locations so often. So, I never felt like I belonged in one place. That’s why I want to create somewhere musicians of all ages can feel like they belong. This year, I am looking forward to rolling out events where all the students can participate, building a community together that reaches beyond the walls of UCM. We’re arranging to do farmers market performances in 2020 and have partnered with Rita’s Italian Ice to award our students with certificates for their efforts. There are even opportunities to be more involved in the musical community of Fresno. We’re setting the stage to participate in events around town. The goal is to create a tangible community in a place we can be proud of. In the last few years, UCM has come a long way, and it’s wonderful to see those goals become reality.
Today, as a Director, I feel the difference just by having staff members work with me. We can all be focusing on different projects, but we’ve created an
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