February 2019

Phoenix, Arizona

91% of students say they are thinking more about college or career experiences past high school because of their involvement in PCM’s College Prep Program.

“We had been looking for a music school for a really long time”, says PCM College Prep Program Student, Vincent Drake.  “We looked for a program that had scholarships and was close to where we were.  We tried out a summer camp first and I was blown away.  This place and these people have been a blessing to me and I want to stay.”

PCM’s College Prep Program is a nationally award-winning program (2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Recipient) for contemporary music education. Members with Berklee College of Music’s (one of the top colleges of music on a global scale) Berklee City Music Network, PCM is one of 47 community music schools in North and South America (and the only site in Arizona) to utilize Berklee’s PULSE curriculum as a base for our comprehensive, audition and merit-based program with access to summer intensive and college scholarships.  This robust program for students in 4th grade through 12th, gives students opportunities to learn in a setting that mimics college study with private lessons, contemporary music ensembles, music theory, relevant enrichment programs and many performance opportunities.   The program is honored to be awarded a $10,000 grant through Thunderbirds Charities.

This program provides a positive learning environment, with a high school completion and college focused goals for students.  It uses music education in a community-based setting to disrupt traditional educational models and utilize music and music related experiences as a change agent in students’ lives.  Success is achieved by creating long term relationships between mentors and students as we follow students into middle school, through high school, and college with the goal being completion of college and the acquisition of professional certification or a degree.

PCM’s College Preparatory Program is their flagship program that has been in operation since the partnership began with Berklee College of Music in 2010. It draws students from all over Maricopa County, Arizona that takes place 30+ weeks, September through May. The College Prep Program’s goals are to:

  1. Build external developmental assets in tweens and teens through creative youth development using music as a catalyst
  2. Develop a pipeline of critical skill sets in contemporary music performance and creation through quality music education
  3. Work with students to successfully complete high school and develop a plan for their post high school education with some placement in academic and/or music programs in colleges and universities with scholarship dollars earned
  4. Earn scholarships and admission to summer intensives

To date, 98+ % of PCM’s College Preparatory Program high school seniors graduate from high school; 85% go on to college.  The students have earned a cumulative $1.5M+ in scholarship offers. 13% go directly into the work force, and 2% have chosen military service. To date, 41% of college bound students pursue music in higher education or as a career, with majors in performance, commercial music composition, production, composition and film scoring, and music therapy; but we have students studying education, engineering, pre-med, psychology, and other non- music related subjects.

“This program is supported by so many in our community”, says Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s Executive Director, Regina Nixon.  “It is a low to no tuition program, making sure that cost is not a barrier to participation.  Each year, we aggressively fundraise (through foundations and individuals) up to $150,000 to make sure that these students are getting the education that they need and the environment and community they deserve in order for them to successfully transition to their life after high school.”    Nixon says that the program is really using music as a vehicle for creative youth development which will allows students to be collaborative and creative; have grit, perseverance and a solid method for working through challenging situations which will serve them well as workers and leaders of tomorrow. “We are so grateful to have the support of Thunderbirds Charities and have them be a part of our community”, says Nixon.

Thunderbirds Charities recognizes the work that Phoenix Conservatory of Music is doing in our community and awarded them with a $10,000 grant to support PCM’s College Prep Program.  This is just a small reflection of the great work that is being done and has been done by Thunderbird’s Charities in our valley for the last 31 years.

Thunderbirds Charities
Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. The Thunderbirds were founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. For more information on The Thunderbirds or the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit For more information on Thunderbirds Charities, visit

About Phoenix Conservatory of Music:

The Phoenix Conservatory of Music’s mission is to unleash the power of music by providing high quality music education and experiences to students and families that is affordable and accessible. We fill our mission by providing community education and after school programs for at risk populations, group classes, private music lessons, and a unique college preparatory program in affiliation with the Berklee City Music Network.

With financial aid and scholarships available for families in need, tuition is not a barrier to participation.  The community that will benefit are students and families who are in mid-high poverty schools and charter schools with a focus on middle school and high school who want to utilize music as a catalyst for youth development and explore the potential of a secondary education with a focus in a music related industry field.   Our current student base is 57% low income, 18% are of very modest income mid poverty.  40% are male, 60% female.  65% of our students are from diverse cultural backgrounds.

PCM is a State Tax Credit Qualifying Organization.

To learn more, please visit or call 602.353.9900.



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