In our tour of 20 years in the community, we have come to know and work alongside many fantastic organizations. One whose positive influence and dynamism cannot be understated: Rosie’s House. Rosie’s House, a free, music academy in inner-city phoenix provides musical instruction and education for children ages 5-18.
Rosie’s House is unique in its ability to not just provide opportunity and mentorship for the kids that attend, but also in creating lifelong relationships within the community as a whole.
One great way to get an understanding of just the kind of impressions Rosies House’s has made on its students, is by talking with Violeta Ramos, Rosies Houses’ Program Manager, and former alumni herself.
Cultural Coalition: What is Rosie’s House? What does it do?
Violeta Ramos: Rosie’s House is a non-profit music academy. We offer free of cost music classes to students from underserved families.
CC: What kinds of classes does Rosie’s house offer?
VR: We offer group, private and ensemble classes. The instruments that we offer are piano, violin, viola, cello, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, and bassoon. We also offer choir and mariachi.
CC: You were a former alumni, correct? Can you share a little bit about that? What was that like? Do you work with anyone now that was there when you attended?
VR: I was. I took piano and clarinet lessons while I was here. Funny you ask but both of my teachers still teach here. Being a student here was a lot of fun. I remember really enjoying coming to classes and making sure I practiced to not disappoint my parents or my teachers. At a young age I knew what a great opportunity this was. Through the classes here I took a huge step in understanding that to reach a goal, you need to break it down to steps, just like when you memorize a piece. Also that it takes discipline to achieve those goals.
CC: Did you realize what an impression Rosie’s House was having on you then? Or is it something you’ve sort of come to as you’ve gotten older?
VR: It’s something I realized when I got older. I was 10 when I first started studying at the academy and at that point it was just fun to be able to create music. I wanted to play all the famous pieces you hear and see my parents smile proudly.
CC: What realizations have you made about Rosie’s House since working there that you didn’t consider before, or think a lot of people don’t know?
VR: We strive to hire the best and most knowledgeable teachers for our students. 90% of them have a masters or above in the instrument that they teach.
CC: Why Music? Why does Rosie’s House choose to serve the community specifically in this way?
VR: When Rosie first started the academy, she wanted to give the community the gift of music while providing a safe haven. We have continued that mission especially with the lack of access to the arts to students from underserved communities.
We strongly believe that music teaches so much more than just music.
CC: In what ways have you seen Rosie’s Houses positively impact the community?
VR: Personally I have seen youth enter our program and they are extremely shy and timid. Always very quiet. With just one year of being in classes with their peers and having to perform in front of others for recitals, I see a difference in their confidence to do just that.
CC: Do you have a favorite memory, or story about Rosie’s House?
VR: Yes! As a kid coming to classes, it truly felt like you were entering your second home for that. The staff was so great and warm. After classes there would always be cookies and fruit punch waiting for us. It was such a treat to eat those little white chocolate chip macadamia cookies. In the beginning recitals would take place on the porch of the house and it truly felt like we were performing for the whole community.
It has been so great to be back here now and to be able to give back to the program all of the greatness that I received as a kid. I admire the parents so much because they truly are dedicated to seeing their children succeed. I hope that if I am ever a parent, that I am just as good as they are to their children.
We cannot thank Violeta Ramos and the staff at Rosie’s House enough, not just for this interview, but everything they do for the community as well. Is is organizations like these that help us sustain arts and culture for generations to come. For more information about Rosie’s House, find them on the web at Rosies House.org.