The band room at Osborn Middle School is ready for a new after-school program that is offered to students throughout the Phoenix area (photo courtesy of Sounds Academy).

Students in the North Central area will have new opportunities to explore the world of music thanks to a new partnership.

On June 20, Osborn School District voted to partner with Sounds Academy and host the nonprofit organization’s programs at its Osborn Middle School campus. This partnership started with a discussion between Kirk Johnson, Sounds Academy founder and CEO, and Michael Roberts, superintendent of the Osborn School District. Johnson and Roberts first met each other through REAP (Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy), an organization that helps provide Black men with a mechanism for community investment through active philanthropy.

The nonprofit music education organization teaches, mentors and provides musical experiences and opportunities for underserved youth. Students receive individual lessons and group classes on all instruments and voice. Instruments are provided to those who cannot afford one.

Sounds Academy, which will celebrate its ninth anniversary this September, currently serves around 4,000 students per year, Johnson said. The new partnership will allow Sounds to expand their impact by providing music education and character development opportunities to children attending Osborn and other area schools.

The middle school currently has about 450 seventh and eighth graders enrolled, and the Sounds program will enhance the existing choir class and award-winning band class.

“It’s going to support our students and give them an opportunity for after-school enrichment for different classes — violin, piano, guitar classes, things like that. It will definitely add to our after-school club selection for students,” Carol Hayes, Osborn Middle School principal, said.

Johnson said music education has many benefits for young students, and it has made a huge impact in his own life, including touring the world with a youth orchestra.

“Through music I was able to learn a discipline and learn how to be good at something and take that into other things and then also learn to take opportunities.

“One of the big things in music is that part of coming together and creating a great piece of music. That teamwork is an important aspect of music — I can’t play the symphony by myself.”

Hayes agrees, adding, “It has benefited our students in so many amazing ways to give them opportunities to collaborate with other students, to create something beautiful for other people to listen to. And it gives them an opportunity to perform in front of other people.”

Parents and students interested in participating in the after-school music programs should contact Sounds Academy. Learn more at or


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