Last August (2012), I visited Seattle and met Steve Smith, owner of Seattle Drum School of Music. We had a great conversation about rhythm theory, his book project, and then he showed me around his very genuine and unique music school. It has been serving the Seattle community since 1986, providing top-notch music education for people of all ages.
They teach one-on-one and group classes in many instruments besides drums, and they have a sound stage and recording facility. If you were a musician wanting to get a taste of a lot in one place, you would have found it in spades.
Recently, the City of Seattle decided to classify Steve’s school as something of a public education institution, subject to stricter inspection standards. The school is private, does not receive public funds, and yet it is now being viewed under a very different set of regulations.
As a result, the cost of doing business has just increased exponentially. Sprinkler systems, seismic retrofit and wheelchair ramps are just a few of the new and very expensive operating costs that have been imposed on Steve, as well as potential fines for non-compliance starting at around $500 a day.
I’ve included a video news clip with a brief interview of Steve, and an informative news link regarding the matter. When you finish reading this post, please take a minute to watch the video clip and read the other article.
And then, get creative.
I told Steve in an e-mail that people from all over the world read this blog. The Locations Stats page is as long as my arm, which tells me drummers are indeed a family. I believe we should support our fellow drummer in need by spreading the word about his plight, which I hope you will do. It only takes a minute to repost this blog or the article/video clip link in forums’ pages.
But also, if you have pro-level contacts who believe music education is critical, please pass this page along and ask them to help in any way they can. Music education in the public schools is a pale reflection of what I knew as a kid. The more private schools that close, the less opportunities young musicians are going to have, simple as that.
If nothing else, drop Steve a line letting him know you support his fight:
After our meeting as I was driving away, I remember seeing Steve in my rear view mirror kneeling down in front of his school clearing out some weeds. It’s the most hands-on thing I’ve ever seen a business owner do, and maybe with the drum/music community’s help, he can retain the opportunity to attend to that chore and great deal more…