We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandi Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandi, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor for me is creating a safe and loving environment so my students can be their most successful selves and feel free to explore new ideas. Making this my focus has allowed me to develop a meaningful relationship with my students and their families. I have become “the music mama” to many of my students, and I love it and them. I want my students to feel supported even when they aren’t practicing musicians. Many of my students do not necessarily want to pursue music as a career, and that’s okay! You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate and respect the arts. The fact that these kiddos are opening their minds to the multifaceted world that is music is the first step. My goal isn’t to produce the next Mozart, it’s to help my students develop a love for the art of music. I want every student to leave our private lessons, or classroom discussions feeling like they have not only gained knowledge about the material learned that day, but also feeling comfortable applying it to their practice and/or everyday life. My goal is to make life-long lovers of music and the arts. Laying the groundwork for a meaningful relationship makes the biggest difference in a students life and that’s my driving force.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Being a musician and educator is the greatest profession in the world! Now, I know I am a bit partial, but this career path has allowed me to explore so many opportunities. I have gotten to meet/work with some of the greatest musicians and people I have ever known. I am so proud that I have been able to create five different music programs that are still thriving as well as having had the ability to share my passion for music with students outside of the classroom as a clinician and adjudicator for various competitions and festivals nationwide. I have been so fortunate to stay connected with so many of my students after they have left the classroom. Being able to watch them grow into adulthood and flourish, some becoming absolutely incredible and successful musicians, has been a true highlight of my career. In addition, being nominated for two Music Educator GRAMMY Awards and winning a global Top 100 Visionaries in Education award have definitely been some major accolades and achievements. It has not always been easy and sadly, music and the arts are not highly regarded in education as a whole. I have had to fight, scratch, and claw at times to give my students the opportunities that they deserve. My work has often been treated as frivolous, and on several occasions I have had colleagues in the past demean me, my students, and my work publicly. There will always be something or someone that will try to get in your way or bring you down; however, because of the love I have for my students and what I do, I will never stop growing, learning, and fighting to give my students the best education possible.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh my goodness, there is so much you can do!!! I’d say for places to go out and hike in the area, I would take a hike at Cheyenne Mountain State Park (Mt. Cutler trail is a personal fave) and Stratton Open Space (great for the pups and is a beautiful spot). If we are feeling like a little drive, we head up to Woodland Park to visit Rampart State Park (beautiful hikes, fishing, and drive). For food and drinks, there are so many wonderful options in the area. Some of my favorites are the Burrowing Owl, this is by far one of my FAVORITE vegan bar food spots in the area with incredible and unique dishes. The drinks are to die for and they make the majority of their items in house. There is also the Rabbit Hole, an incredibly awesome and funky Alice and Wonderland themed restaurant and bar that will have something for everyone’s taste including the drinks which are always perfect. Lastly, I LOVE Bambinos pizzeria. They have options for everyone, including vegan and gluten free. Everything is customizable, the food is ALWAYS delicious, and the service is top notch. You cannot go wrong visiting any of these amazing places. Lastly, for general entertainment and shopping there are a few staples. Shopping in Old Colorado City is one of my favorite things to do. From visiting local artisan shops, to browsing the summertime farmers markets, this place always has something to do. There is also visiting Manitou Springs, not far from OCC. This beautiful town has so much history and life! There are so many activities, shops, restaurants, and AWESOME events all year round. This is a must visit spot when visiting the Springs. Truthfully, these are just a few of the INCREDIBLE things to do in this great city and I know there are even more things I would take a friend to do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this to my mother, Sheri Rosen, a retired educator, librarian, and storyteller. This incredible woman not only instilled a love and importance of education in me but she sacrificed every extra minute of her day to make sure I was able to get to all of my music classes, lessons, performances, athletics, and more. Without her love and support, I wouldn’t be the educator and person that I am today.
Rachel Johnson Haungs Laurie Walker Allie Robbins Davis Ortonward Chris Coutinho