With Gratitude and Appreciation
With the onset of 2017, Simply Music enters its 20th year! And with only a few weeks left in 2016, I wanted to take a few moments to express my gratitude and appreciation. This has been a remarkable year. For those of you who are a part of the internal Simply Music community, whether as an employee, a team member or teacher, you would know already that many changes have been implemented over the last year, the largest of those being the migration of our entire teacher and student communities over to our new, online platform – Simply Music Digital (SMD).
Our global outreach has expanded as a result. From 1998 to 2002 Simply Music operated solely in Australia and the United States. In 2002 we began to expand our educator community into New Zealand and Canada. However, with the launch of SMD we now have educators in 13 countries, and expect to see significant growth and expansion during 2017.
Transitioning to SMD has been an extraordinary accomplishment, and what we have now is an educator and student platform that is far simpler, cleaner, more efficient, more accessible and easier to use than ever before. Creating, developing and implementing this has required the input and expertise of a wonderful team and community of people.
I want to thank our Web Development Team, specifically, Anthony Valera and Dwight Chesbro. They have done a remarkable job in creating, implementing and managing our online platform. These are young, smart guys who have accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, and have done so with excellence, calmness and grace.
Thanks to our in-house videographer, Daniel Kielman. The vast majority of Simply Music’s program content is video related, and Daniel has done a brilliant job in orchestrating and overseeing this entire arena.
Thanks to our in-house Junior Designer, Jose Rivera, for his beautiful work – so elegant, simple, clean and contemporary. So much of the Simply Music vision is expressed in our visual identity, and Jose has made a profound contribution to that.
Thanks to our in-house ‘editor’, Cheri Schulzke, who plays a growing and important role in helping to simplify and clarify our use of written language.
Thanks to Stephanie Iadanza, our Senior Designer and Art Director (who really is our internal Project Manager and Operator of One Million Things). Apart from her brilliant work in design, Stephanie’s contribution in coordinating and overseeing the numerous projects that we have going on, as well as managing the minutia of all of the details, is nothing short of amazing.
Thanks to our fantastic Teacher Support Team, Gretta Ziller (who’s been with us for nearly 6 years) and Stacie Davison (who just recently celebrated her 10th Anniversary of being with Simply Music). Both of these exceptional women are smart, thorough, focused and bring a whole world of care to their work and the educator community they support.
Thanks to our Australian Manager, Caroline Schmidli, who, for years, has steadfastly held the reins with her quiet, focused loyalty.
Thanks to Laurie Richards for her 13 years of teaching with Simply Music, and for the ongoing role she plays in assisting our educators and shaping the support systems we provide. Her directness and clarity is a blessing.
Thanks to Robin Keehn who has been teaching Simply Music for 14 years. Robin’s role as a Teacher Trainer and, in more recent years, as our Director of Development, has been vital. Her commitment and loyalty to Simply Music, and our educator community, is beyond reproach.
Thanks to our teachers who have contributed to the growth and development of our Supplemental Programs – Gordon Harvey, Elizabeth Gaikwad, Jy Gronner, Sheri Reingold, Kerry Hanley, Samali De Tissera, Laurie Richards, Robin Keehn and Mark S. Merrit. Their Supplemental Programs have contributed enormously to Simply Music’s community of teachers and students.
I also want to express my thanks and appreciation to Simply Music’s Inaugural Teachers – Gordon Harvey, Kerry Hanley, Dane Andrus and Kevin Meyer. These four wonderful people, from Australia and the USA, participated in the very first Simply Music Teacher Training Program in January 1998, and are still successfully teaching the program to this very day.
An additional (and special) note of thanks to Kerry Hanley and Gordon Harvey for returning to Australia, being the very first teachers there, and for building the foundation that gave birth to our entire Australian teacher community.
I want to separately thank Gordon Harvey for his friendship over the last 27 years, and the nearly 20 years of service in both teaching and working for Simply Music. As our Director of Programs, Gordon plays a unique and vital role as an advisor, manager, support provider and go-to-guy for almost all things musical. He has been a dear friend to me, a dear friend to many, and a devout supporter of our educators.
And my very special thanks to Mary K Ferreter, our Assistant Executive Director. Mary K has worked by my side and has been with Simply Music for 17 years. I can’t begin to fully communicate the extraordinary contribution she has made – as a friend, an advisor and consigliere. Her impact on the culture of our team as a whole has been enormous. Simply Music, and myself personally, have been blessed to benefit from her love, care and commitment.
Finally, I want to thank the nearly 700 educators in 13 countries, who teach Simply Music and give life to the program and the possibility it offers. There are thousands upon thousands of students who, every week, benefit from their creativity, expertise, wisdom, knowledge and devotion. Quite simply, Simply Music as we know it would not exist were it not for this remarkable community of teachers, many of whom have been a part of our teacher community for 5, 10, 15 years or more.
I am deeply thankful and appreciative for their extraordinary commitment to share music with others and contribute to creating a world where everyone plays.
Simply Music is not a company, it’s not a business, it’s not an organization and it’s not an institution. These are merely words used to describe its administrative structure. In reality, Simply Music is a possibility. It’s a platform that brings together like-minded educators and provides them with a model of learning that allows them to make a unique contribution to the creativity and self-expression of children, teens, adults and elders all over the world. Simply Music is an opportunity to contribute to the elevation of human consciousness using music as a vehicle. Simply Music is the expression of a vision that contributes to the causing of a breakthrough in creativity for humanity.
I am deeply thankful for the honor it is to have given birth to this program, and I am even more deeply impacted by the privilege it is to have so many people who play a role in breathing life into this wonderful possibility – you are all its heartbeat.
As 2016 comes to a close, I wish you a Happy New Year and trust that your 2017 will be filled with the deepest of love, gratitude and appreciation.
Founder & Executive Director