After the death of Tammy Felker’s mother, her mother’s sheet music library was one of the most difficult items to dispose of.
She recalled how her mother Dee Felker played piano and organ for a congregational church in Colorado before retiring to Arizona and how every Christmas she sang âSilent Nightâ in German.
It took 16 years for Tammy Felker, a resident of Ahwatukee for 20 years, to part with this vast array of sheet music ranging from classical to some popular tunes from the 40s to 90s.
She found a suitable way to honor her mother by passing her these precious music books and sheet music to her.
She donated it to Music Maker Workshops’ Little Free Music Library which marks a six month anniversary.
âHaving lost both of my parents, what has helped me get rid of their possessions is to pass what you can to someone who can use and love it,â she said. . âMusic Maker has helped me heal my heart. “
The Little Free Music Library at Music Maker Workshops is modeled after the Little Free Library, a nationwide popular book-sharing movement to promote neighborhood exchange.
Yet rather than books, Music Maker Workshops’ bright red and white library is filled with sheet music and volumes of music.
The creation of the library was conceived by Music Maker Studio Director Jessica Magee and Co-Directors Kim Steedman and Shelley Yakubow.
They said they were inspired after seeing how much music was spontaneously given at school.
âOrganically, we had a flood of donations so we decided to start,â Magee explained.
âI love the idea of ââpairing the Little Free Library with this free music library. We want it to be accessible to everyone, âshe said. âIt’s really great to see people playing and to appreciate the different types of music.
A grand opening of the Music Makers Little Free Music Library was held in November, with a ribbon cutting by the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce.
On site were Tommy Zuleger, who built the wooden library; Maddie Archer, piano teacher and Music Maker artist who painted it; the co-directors of Music Maker, Steedman and Yakubow; a DJ and an assortment of music students.
Steedman and Yakubow are the daughters of Workshops founder Beverly Bigam, who opened the music studio in 1997 at the southeast corner of 32nd Street and E. Chandler Boulevard.
âThe most heartwarming part of starting this library are the stories that accompanied some of the donations,â Steedman said, adding:
âMusic is sentimental for her and she was happy to know that it would be transmitted and appreciated by other musicians. She said it would be a part of her mother who would live.
Another generous donation came from Michelle Hoffman, owner of Your CBD Store located at 4802 E. Ray Road.
âShe donated an entire folder filled to the brim with her favorite albums that she listened to growing up,â Magee said.
Yakubow noted that in the six months since the launch of Little Free Music, musicians across the valley have responded to the news.
âSince its inception, Music Maker Workshops has seen musicians, young and old, come from across the valley to tour the library and browse the current selection of music books, or donate books that may have collected dust in their homes. own homes so they can be enjoyed again, âshe said.
Since the Music Maker Workshops opened in 1997, the studio has grown steadily. Students of all ages receive lessons on a wide variety of instruments, including piano, voice, guitar, percussion, strings, brass, wind ukulele and more.
After Yakubow graduated with her Bachelor of Education in 2000, she joined her mother to give group piano lessons. Three years later, Steedman left her nursing career to work with his mother and sister.
Bigam is now retired from daily operations, but continues to teach a few selected mature students each Monday.
The family business inspires a lot of loyalty to its instructors and students.
Studio director Jessica Magee is
celebrating 11 years with Music Maker this month.
âI started right out of college when I stumbled across a little list for a studio coordinator,â said Magee, from Mesa who met her husband Andrew when he came to Music Maker workshops for viola lessons.
Madison “Maddie” Archer has taught piano at the Music Maker Workshop for the past three years and is also resident artist. It is this talent that she put at the service of the Little Free Music Library.
âI really enjoyed bringing the simple iconography of the musical notes to life on a large scale so that anyone who drives can see the music library,â she said. “The glossy acrylic paints make it really pop, and it allowed me to express both creative outlets at the same time.”
Jessica Magee located woodworker Zulegar from Hardwoodz Handcrafted Furniture to make the bookcase.
âWe like to donate some of our work to schools and other organizations which we believe provide a great opportunity and / or environment for young people,â said Zulegar, whose furniture / carpentry shop bespoke is also a family business.
âMy wife and I have four children between us and when Jess said she was considering having the library built for the school, we were happy not only to build one but also to donate it to help support young people who attend school. “
“Music Makers hopes that provide residents with access to free music will inspire musicians, young and old, to play tunes they may never have even heard of and spread joy in the community, âsaid Steedman.
Music Maker Workshops, with 35 instructors and over 500 students, are currently accepting registrations for their five popular summer music camps.
âSummer has traditionally been a busy time for us, and last year has been one of our busiest because students weren’t traveling and had the option to log in from home,â said Magee.
âWe are looking forward to larger camps this year with a mix of in-person and / or online classes. “