Amy Munsell, BA Music Education, 2009
What are you currently doing with your career?
I am currently the director, owner, and founder of VIBES Fine & Performing Arts in Casper, Wyoming.
VIBES Fine & Performing Arts has grown to serve hundreds of students enrolled weekly in various classes in the four years since opening. VIBES has also served over 425 preschoolers through outreach programs to help serve the community and support children’s brain development through music. Additionally, VIBES teaches band, orchestra, and enrichment programs in three elementary and junior high schools in Natrona County School District #1.
We lead an Award Winning Maestro Top Program (Top 5% Best Kindermusik Programs Worldwide) and employ sixteen instructors ranging in diverse styles of music who have had professional performances all over the world. These instructors range in educational backgrounds from bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees teaching music to all ages.
We are also adamant about giving our students many opportunities to perform in public. VIBES students perform in fall and spring recitals, master classes, participate in various competitions at the state and national level, and partake in community performances with drumline, band, orchestra, vocal groups, jam groups, and jazz combos. We have planned large-scale events and collaborate with world-class professional musicians to motivate and inspire our students free of charge to our members and the public. Guest artists have included: The Blue Man Group, Denver Broncos Stampede Drumline, Denver Nuggets Skyline Drumline, Geoffrey Castle, Brent Daniels, and more.How has your career allowed you to give back to UW?
We are excited to give back to the University of Wyoming in a variety of ways. We are eager to help our students achieve their highest goals in music including helping students be more prepared for their college experience, auditioning and receiving music scholarships, and encouraging increased enrollment at the University of Wyoming.
We are also pleased to have hired several graduates from the University of Wyoming in part-time, full-time and salaried teacher and management positions. We are proud to build our business around instructors with their bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees and look forward to employing many more future graduates.
We are also thrilled to announce future collaborations and events with the University of Wyoming Music Department faculty this coming spring semester.
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
I love that we have the opportunity to give back to our community in many ways and bring new experiences and resources in music education to Wyoming families. The most rewarding part of my career and business has been creating a positive environment where people of all ages come together for music. There’s an upbeat energy about our business that resonates in our students each week and we see them carry that energy into their everyday lives.
It’s also been fulfilling watching our students’ confidence grow beyond anything I could have ever imagined: from seeing a baby walk for the first time in our Kindermusik classes, to enjoying the excitement from a student learning a new note on their instrument, or watching our students perform in a drumline battle in front of thousands of people.
Many of our most rewarding moments also include having our students get involved in giving back in the charitable events and activities that contribute to the community each year. Our students put on community performances for patients at Wyoming Medical Center; perform throughout the community in many giving gatherings, and our VIBES drumlines have had the opportunity to become teachers themselves giving mini-lessons and performances to children at the Boys & Girls Club of Central Wyoming.
Our instructors have also provided Kindermusik baby and toddler classes at Assisted Living Centers to reconnect the community and music therapy, create safe environments for teens through our VIBES Teen Open Mic Nights, and offer seminars and lectures for parenting and pediatric centers. VIBES works with seven different child development centers with music classes and music therapy for children with varying disabilities.
We have also established a full after school band, orchestra, and drumline program to help fill the need for programs modified in the schools and created a homeschool orchestra, piano, guitar, and drumline program.
VIBES has partnered with local nonprofits in support of their programs including ACM, the Arc of Natrona County, Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, Child Development Center, Boys & Girls Club of Central Wyoming, and Troopers Drums & Bugle Corps.
I am so grateful to share these moments with our students. We are so appreciative to our supportive families and students who have embraced our business into the Casper community.
What is your favorite memory from UW?
My favorite memory at the University of Wyoming was performing and winning the Dorothy Jacoby Concerto Competition. I became the first saxophonist and first Music Education major to win the competition. It was in that moment that I realized the transformation that had taken place for me as a musician and person while attending the University. From my very first private lesson as an inexperienced musician with many hurdles to overcome, to performing solo with the full orchestra in front of hundreds of people in only three short years; I credit my journey and life lessons learned to
Dr. Scott Turpen and many of the extraordinary faculty in the University of Wyoming music department. I am incredibly grateful for my education and years of study at UW. The individualized attention, education, mentorship, and guidance I received helped shape my journey and my future.
To this day, I am still humbled by meeting people from around the state that will tell me about their memories from that performance and how my playing moved them in an impactful way. These are reminders of my journey and my hopes; that I can give the same education and guidance to our students so they will be even more successful in all aspects of life.
It just takes one idea and one person to create ripple effects or VIBES in the lives of those around you. For me, I hope that those VIBES will resonate through our students, parents, and instructors lives and they will carry those vibrations throughout our community, state, nation, and world.