By Tamara Syed
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea and architect Barbara Bestor unveiled the newly designed space for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music last month.
Eight times larger than its previous home, the music school can now play host to double the amount of students.
Offering lessons in a variety of subjects – from instrumentation to songwriting – and focusing on students as young as four years old to adults – the conservatory was developed to bring a quality music education to the local Los Angeles community.
Michael “Flea” Balzary founded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music (SCM) in 2001 after discovering that music programs in Los Angeles schools were being cut due to a lack of funding. The scholarship program at SCM offers free lessons and instruments to deserving students from lower income families.
“Due to Reaganomics and Prop 13m they cut all arts programs out of the L.A. schools,” Flea told KCET. “I was determined to fill that void. In our 15th year of having this music school, about half the kids go for free.”
Formerly a makeup factory, the conservatory’s new home on Hollywood Boulevard includes soundproof lesson rooms, an eye-catching retail store and a “Flea-zzanine” which overlooks a large performance space for its students – a first for SCM. Prior to moving into the building, SCM would have to rent out auditoriums for student recitals and concerts.
Flea strongly believes in the power of a music education. “If we care about kids of all flavors, and all economic backgrounds and all ethnicities being intelligent, educated, sensitive people, we need to support education in the arts,” he said.
Click here for more information about the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.