By Taylor Tyson
“Art teaches humanity how to coexist…Art is telling the story of life,” said Jeannetta Hopkins, founder of Bull City Music School.
Having grown up in Memphis, Tennessee, Hopkins is accustomed to a very involved arts community. As with most lifelong artists, Hopkins accredits her arts background to her family. With an immediate family of classically trained artists, Hopkins was constantly surrounded by music. “My great uncle toured with jazz singer, Pearl Bailey,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins began learning piano at age five and her interest in arts education is deeply rooted in her childhood education. She attended a performing arts high school where she first fell in love with orchestra. “I remember going backstage and going to concerts with the Memphis City Orchestra at an early age; [I was] learning about the music business even back then,” said Hopkins, “We also learned about producing shows and putting shows together.”
After moving to North Carolina for a job opportunity, Hopkins fell in love with the area. Opening the first Bull City Music School in Durham, Hopkins searched for other places in need. She quickly drifted towards Hillsborough. “There is a strong arts community here, [but] there wasn’t a music school here, so we were definitely answering a need,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins has gone on to establish a fully immersive arts environment with her arts education programs at Bull City Music School. The expansion into Hillsborough has enabled Hopkins to offer classes ranging from percussion and guitar to piano and violin. The school’s growth is a reflection of Hopkins’ lifelong dedication to the arts and to teaching others.
“I want to use my platform to bring light to what a true arts education looks like,” said Hopkins.
Bull City Music School focuses on an all-encompassing arts education, often calling students to interact with their audience in new formats.
“One of the things we do every year is we perform at the Durham Food Truck Rodeo. We have live performances and guitar demos [from] both of our campuses… [, allowing us to] continually engage with our community. [Students] learn about how to interact with an audience and gain confidence [, getting] them outside of this bubble and expand[ing] into their community and beyond,” said Hopkins.
Bull City Music School will continue to be an important part of the community, educating lifelong artists from an early age onward. In the future, Hopkins strives for Bull City Music School to provide a “premiere music education with workshops for artists and art educators.”
On December 15, Bull City Music School will host their annual winter concert, “Portraits of Winter.” Unlike a recital, the concert will show different “portraits,” emphasizing various social justice issues within our community. The concert serves to show different perspectives, featuring a new portrait with each performance. “Art helps us to understand the cultures around us,” said Hopkins.