5Q: Kate M. Ransom, CEO of The Music School of Delaware

Kate M. Ransom, president and CEO of The Music School of Delaware since 1999, talked about the school’s history and future.

The Music School of Delaware has real longevity — you’ll celebrate your centennial in just a few years. What does that mean to you?

The Music School’s mission remains as it was over 90 years ago: Music Excellence for Everyone. We’re committed to deliver top-notch instruction and experiences throughout our service region. As the Music School’s centennial approaches in 2025, our goal is for a statewide celebration of the legacy of music that has been available for 100 years and forward.

How has the school evolved in the last decade and have the type of students changed?

More than ever, we’’re a resource for people of all ages, abilities, racial, ethnic, religious and other demographics throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania. We serve infants to octogenarians; offer financial aid to those in need; have expanded to offer 30 plus instruments in numerous styles and serve those with physical/mental disabilities through music therapy. Through partnerships, we reach over 1,000 children age 6 and under – many from underserved communities. Our Suzuki Academy has become the premier regional location for such instruction, and our Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra has grown to 70 students and toured Italy this summer. We house the longest-standing community orchestra in Wilmington and have launched women’s choruses in Wilmington and Milford. Annual performances now number over
100 programs.

What are some of the challenges/rewards as president and CEO of The Music School of Delaware?

The Music School of Delaware is a wholly positive place where individuals and families turn for expert guidance to pursue the magic of music-making. The standard that our faculty bring to the process inspires me every day. Some of the greatest rewards during my tenure have been establishing the Suzuki Academy and the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra; attaining national accreditation for the first time in 2004 (and re-accreditation in 2010); becoming the only statewide community music school in the nation; and working with 90 outstanding music educators and musicians.

There is such an emphasis now on STEM education. How do you continue to push the relevance of music education?

Certainly, continued demand for our programs and offerings and serving an audience of 7,000+ annually is evidence that value for music education is very much alive. We partner with many schools that recognize its significant intrinsic benefit and demonstrated impact on comprehension, synthesis, problem-solving and other skills.

What will the next few years look like?

The Music School Board and I have been charting our path forward. While the content of our performances and instructional activity is likely to remain similar in the immediate future, we continue to expand our statewide scope and further develop key areas – growing enrollment, especially in Kent and Sussex Counties and increasing participation of adult learners.

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