Since 1980, the Music Preparatory Division faculty members have worked together to create a fun and rewarding environment for children and adults to pursue their musical endeavors.
Our mission is to provide an accessible and inclusive community center for music education that fosters the creative growth of individuals, inspires passion and creativity, and promotes excellence and well-being in our greater community.
To accomplish this mission, we:
- provide a musical environment that nurtures the maximum potential of each student, regardless of their future goals and ambitions.
- provide and establish a strong technical and musical foundation for each student.
- offer opportunities for students of all levels to collaborate in a variety of settings, including group classes, ensembles and performances.
- employ highly skilled instructors who are passionate about music education.
- offer opportunities for development and pedagogical training for SFA music majors.
History of the program
In 1980, Dr. Robert Blocker, chair of SFA's Department of Music, and Shirley Wolfson Watterston, established a music program that would "teach music to children" from newborns to age 18. The program, a part of the Department of Music, was named the SFA Music Preparatory Division.
Watterston was the director of the SFA Music Preparatory Division from 1980 to 1995. For fifteen years, she was the "mover and shaker" of the program. "A growing awareness of beauty in sound" reflected the philosophy and purpose of the program under her direction and continues today in the quality of the program.
In 1996, the division was the first community school in Texas to become an associate member of the National Guild of the Community Schools of the Arts.
Former directors include Linda Parr and Bobbie Ann Anderson. Brenda Josephsen served as interim director in 1998. Pat Barnett assumed the director position February 1999.
The Piney woods Youth Orchestra, organized in the fall of 2004 by Dr. Evgeni Raychev in collaboration with his wife Dr. Jennifer Dalmas, fulfilled the need for the development of the classical ensemble for young people. Alba Madrid assumed the position of director of the Piney Woods Youth Orchestra in August 2019.
In the Fall of 2007, adults were welcomed and encouraged to explore the wonderful world of music by enrolling for private lessons or adult piano class. The adult piano class and the Raguet Strings ensemble have developed through this program.
About the Music Prep House
The small tract, originally 10.75 acres, began its saga as private property when Pedro Selvero Padilla claimed it as a portion of his Rancho Santo Domingo in 1792. Over ensuing decades, the land passed through the hands or persons of historical significance in Nacogdoches and Texas, including:
- John S. Roberts and Thomas Jefferson Rusk, signers of Texas’ Declaration of Independence
- Payton Edwards, son of the leader of the Fredonia Rebellion
- J.H. Hinds, founder of agricultural education in east Texas
- and Cecil Bomar, a member of the board of directors and one-time president of Texas Farm Products, Nacogdoches' first and most significant manufacture.
In August 2009, the Music Preparatory Division moved to the Music Prep House, located at 3028 Raguet St. and adjacent to the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.