High Notes in Colorado
by Danielle McCraney
When is a music school more than a music school?
When it is a creative way of meeting people and making contacts in the local community. Gracenotes Music Academy is doing just that in Castle Rock, Colorado, and expanding the outreach of Truth Free Will Baptist Church, a Free Will Baptist mission church starting in Colorado.
After making the decision to move to Castle Rock to join the church planting team there, I began praying about my specific role in the church. Music has long been the passion of my life, and I knew that my ministry would lie in that area. I had been trained as an instructor in a music program that taught music to toddlers, and I planned to utilize my training in some way. After sharing this desire in one of our itinerate services, a pastor encouraged me to contact his brother and sister-in-law. He told me they had developed a similar curriculum that was keyboard-based and biblically focused. Mark and I contacted them about the possibility of using their curriculum, and they were thrilled to partner with us in creating a new music school.
After we arrived in our new home, we talked with neighbors about the possibility and practicality of starting a music school for preschool children in Castle Rock. Most seemed interested and wanted to know when we were opening and contemplated enrolling their children. After much prayer, many phone calls, and lot of searching, we found an ideal space adjacent to a pediatrician’s office and signed a lease. We named the school Gracenotes Music Academy and opened our doors for business in October 2011 with three students. We have since grown to 15 and started three new classes in January.
Gracenotes offers music classes to children as young as 12 weeks and continuing through age eight. In each class, the student and his partner use the keyboard to learn the fundamentals of music. One of my favorite parts of teaching classes at Gracenotes is that in every class, we intentionally include songs about Jesus. For example, one of the songs says, “Jesus is a friend of mine; He is with me all the time.” Each time we sing and play the song in class, and each time the students practice it at home, we plant seeds in precious young hearts.
Several networking opportunities in the local community helped get the school off the ground. While making contacts for the school, we have also been able to make promising contacts for the church as well. I recently met a lady who is an advertising manager for a direct-mail magazine. She helped both the school and church become official sponsors for the annual Star Lighting, one of the biggest events in Castle Rock. She has since enrolled her two children in our school and does not currently go to church anywhere. She also introduced me to the magazine’s owner, who is planning to do an editorial on both the school and church in an upcoming edition of the magazine and is working to set up interviews about both on the local radio station.
From the beginning, Gracenotes has been an intentional effort to both teach young children music and to expand the range of contacts for our church. As we teach students from homes practicing different faiths, we are using music to point them to the Savior. Seeds are being planted, and we hope to see them sprout soon. Please pray that God will use Gracenotes Music Academy to bring people to Himself through truth.
About the Writer: Danielle McCraney and husband Mark have joined Donnie and Susan Burke in a team effort to plant a new Free Will Baptist church in the Castle Rock area. Learn more about Free Will Baptist Home Missions at www.homemissions.net.