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Wynwood School of Music, dream of two passionate musicians opens

Written By Josie Gulliksen
October 9, 2019 at 3:02 PM

A life-long passion for music brought Zach Larmer and Sammy Gonzalez together. As musicians and eventually music instructors, passion may be too light a word, life-changing is how they would describe it.

Establishing the school is truly an extension of their current work since in 2013 the duo founded Young Musicians Unite, Sammy serving as CEO and founder and Zach Chief Operating Officer. As already established private music teachers, they wanted to do more, so they formed the non-profit to bring free music education to public school students in Miami.

“We work primarily with public schools who are losing their music program. We go into the school and establish a music program for them and make it sustainable. Along with a grassroots effort, we are also part of the City of Miami Beach’s STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) plus receive funding from the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs and The Children’s Trust,” said Zach. They are currently serving 1,400 students in 16 schools throughout Miami-Dade County.

Student taking violin lessons with Wynwood School of Music instructor.

Every student in YMU participates for free and that includes all instruments and whatever other tools they may need.

Wanting to further their outreach and provide opportunities to potential music students with untapped potential, they will soon be opening the Wynwood School of Music.

“One of the biggest inspirations was to create a physical space,” Zach said. “When I look at Wynwood it’s mainly a community for adult artists but not mainly a resource for kids in the community.”

The duo saw a lack of Adult Education for learning to play instruments and there weren’t many options either. They currently provide private lessons, youth band and adult ensembles which is a wide spectrum.

“There are some folks that are really taking it seriously and making very rapid progress so we wanted to be a place where they could deeply focus and get that deep level of instruction,” he said.

They’ve noticed that when certain students sign up for the program, they may have never picked up an instrument, but it becomes a place for them to find like-minded students and be inspired by those who have put in the time.

“Sammy and I been instructing privately, while we’ve been growing YMU. We’ve made our living at teaching private lessons and thanks to our experience,” Zach said. “However, it got to the point we actually started turning people because we were just getting so many requests.”

That’s when the idea of the school happened. Rather than turn people away we figured they decided they could do their work on a bigger scale and doing it more intelligently. They already have nearly 20 teaching artists on staff which they’re currently training and also learning from.

Many of the instructors have experience in various different areas and so are able to mentor the students who may be interested in other facets of the music industry like producing.

”Sammy and I have both been deeply affected by music, it’s opened many doors in our lives so, we feel we not only want to share the gift of music but create the creative infrastructure for musicians to have a training place here in Miami,” said Zach. “We want there to be a deep appreciation of music with kids in Miami.”

Learn more about both programs by visiting their websites at https://www.wynwoodschoolofmusic.com/ and https://www.youngmusiciansunite.org/

In above photo, Zach Larmer on left with white guitar and Sammy Figueroa.

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