Music to our Ears

by francine Hardaway on March 16, 2003

Stealthmode Partners E-Zine: Music to our Ears 14 March 2003


There has never been a moment when I’ve asked the tech community to come forward for a volunteer project and it hasn’t answered. In the past few months, I’ve been working with many not-for-profits who could increase their capacity through the use of technology, but who can’t afford to make the investment in the tools they need. Here in Arizona, we’re fortunate to have the Arizona Internet Professionals Association (AZIPA) announcement list, a list of twelve thousand technology professionals and the people who interact with them. I called on the AZIPA list for volunteers for this particular project, and we ended up with a national e-philanthropy campaign. More people volunteered than we could use, and we are actually beginning a second campaign for a different not-for-profits. This is how *real* communities work. How fortunate we are!


An inner city music academy that provides free music lessons and instruments to youth at risk has received a gift of its own: a national campaign to raise enough money to keep the program going. Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children (, has been adopted by technology professionals from Arizona to Australia, and they have provided the Academy a web site, national publicity, and a state-of-the-art music school administration program that tracks the connection between music practice and the discipline required to succeed in school and in life.

At Rosie’s House the mission is simple — to teach music and encourage students to put their best efforts into everything they do. Music teaches self-discipline, develops and reinforces good self-esteem, and fosters creative thinking. Moreover, research has shown that:
* arts education increases interest in academic learning,
* the study of music produces the development of academic achievement skills,
* learning to play a musical instrument helps students to develop faster physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially,
* and there is a correlation between music education and higher test scores in math, reading, and even the SAT.

Rosie’s House was first adopted by Vertigo Interactive Design ( , one of the leading interactive design firms in Phoenix, Arizona –home to the not-for-profit music group. In real life, Vertigo Interactive Design, Inc. designs and produces customized, interactive applications to communicate and market a full range of products and ideas, including educational and promotional CD-Rom’s, highly custom internet websites, informational kiosks and museum, corporate, tradeshow and special event exhibits. As its contribution, Vertigo produced a customized, interactive website to communicate and market Rosie’s House, and to allow it to receive donations online. Sheri Farrell, co-founder of Vertigo, says “when we found out how talented some of the children are, and how meaningful music can be to their lives, we were happy to donate our services to help them raise money online.”

Music school administration and donor management software was provided at a deep discount by SSOM Software, a specialty company in Australia started by a music administrator who was inundated with the paperwork associated with running his own secondary school music program. “One of the more exhausting aspects of Music administration is the organisation of the instrumental tuition program. Some of the tasks Music Admin Pro does include scheduling the rotating timetable for the term, organising external exams, keeping track of all the details for students and teachers, student instrumental music progress reports, ensemble participation, music purchases, the Music Library and the instrument repair details.” No one ever thinks about these aspects of running a program, so it was wonderful for Rosie’s House to be able to automate these routine and essential tasks.

Rosie’s House is the creation of Woody and Rosebell Schurz, German immigrants and longtime Phoenix residents. Rosie, as she is lovingly called by the children, studied violin as a young girl in Munich until World War II swept across Europe, displacing her family to the countryside. Her music education came to a sudden halt, never to be taken up again. Rosie, not wanting poverty to dash the dreams of other children as it did her own, founded the Rosie’s House Foundation. The vision began with the purchase of a run down old house in an inner city Phoenix neighborhood.

Rosie’s House started as a safe house for the homeless and for children who needed a refuge off the streets after school. It soon developed into the music school it is today, with 350 students from the Phoenix Inner City who perform both locally and nationally.

You guessed it: Stealthmode Partners is donating the national PR.

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