How COVID-19 Can Transform Arts Education

Sammy and Molly Miller
Mar 15 · 3 min read

In the last week, our entire community of artists and musicians has been rocked to its core. Virtually all of the work we depend on to pay rent, buy groceries, pay for medical care, and live in this world has evaporated overnight. This is compounded by the worry we have for our friends, relatives, and fellow humans now struggling to fight this virus.

Concerts and tours are cancelled everywhere. Music academies are closed. Art galleries, theater performances, dance shows, are on hold indefinitely.

A majority of our friends — who already live gig to gig and paycheck to paycheck — are now jobless.

Over the past week, increasing anxiety turned into fear and dread. Then, when we thought about the mass closure of schools, we came to a realization: we can turn this challenging moment into something meaningful.

Millions of students across the country are stranded. The vast majority of artists who make their living performing and teaching are out of work overnight. If we can connect these two groups, we can deliver unprecedented access to arts education. We can make use of this crisis to inspire and empower a wave of creativity in the next generation. We can begin to fill a gap created by decades of defunding arts education. We’ve seen up close what access to the arts can mean for a student, particularly in underserved communities.

Over the past decade, we’ve taught over 30,000 students in 38 states. In Cleveland, Ohio we met a shy thirteen year old just beginning piano, now a leader of her college arts community, which she attends on a full scholarship. In Los Angeles we worked with an elementary school student who was getting bullied, but found confidence and friendship through rock’n’roll. In McAllen, Texas, we worked with a first-generation, first-to attend-college in his family student, now beginning work as a music teacher inspiring the next generation. These are just a few examples of the students we have been privileged to meet, engage, and in some cases, inspire.

Unlike much of the country, we were fortunate to have access to arts education in our public schools. These programs equipped us for a life in the arts — Master’s from Juilliard, Doctorate of Musical Art from USC, performing at The White House, The Hollywood Bowl, and beyond.

So here’s the plan: our band is launching Camp Congregation. Every weekday we are going to host an hour of music-themed masterclasses to any student that wants to participate.

  1. We are going to provide top notch masterclasses from some of the most renowned performers and music educators. These will be livestreamed, so students can be engaged and ask questions during these personalized masterclasses.
  2. These best-in-class musicians and educators are currently out of work. You will be directly supporting them.
  3. We ask that if you can support this community, contribute what you can, when you can. Any contribution during this time is appreciated.

Join our first class Tuesday, March 17th at 1 pm Pacific Standard Time. To preview, click here.

In our travels as touring musicians across the country and around the world, we’ve always been moved by the generosity of human beings. We’re confident that this moment gives us the opportunity to bring out the best in people.

We are developing a system to get our community of artists — musicians, actors, dancers, and writers — to join us in making this available to the public so we can still have a sense of community and be engaged in the arts, something we are all craving right now.

Thirty years from now, every kid in America will talk about where they were during this crisis. we want them all to say that this was the moment they fell in love with the arts.

Sammy and Molly Miller

Written by

Los Angeles bred musicians, educators, and siblings, Grammy nominated |

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