Headwaters School of Music and the Arts

A nonprofit organization

27 Donors

100% complete

$1,000 Goal

Headwaters School of Music and the Arts opened in 1992 offering private music instruction.   Since then, we have expanded into a non-profit, multi-disciplinary community center for the arts, offering private instruction in a wide range of musical instruments along with group drawing, painting, theater, writing and dance classes and camps, and community events and programs.    We employ 18 part time music instructors, one part time pottery instructor, four part time admin staff, and contract with over 20 artist instructors each year.  Our programs are designed to enrich the arts education of children and to unlock the creative potential of teens and adults.  Our vision statement: “Seek Music, Engage the Arts, Build Community.”      

Headwaters collaborates with a number of area organizations each year.  For example, we partner with downtown organizations to hold a community New Year’s Eve celebration and worked with the local Audubon society to establish an urban garden space for native birds and bugs. Our programs include community chorus for seniors, a bell choir, two youth art clubs, monthly open mic coffeehouses, monthly community art exhibits, early childhood music and art classes, a chess program, and a pottery program for youth and adults.  

About half of our programming revolves around our music program, with up to 200 children and adults involved in year round private music lessons along with recital and community performance opportunities and regular music enrichment events. The yearly fee is $900. We strive to make music education accessible through our financial assistance program.  Our 2018 goal is $13,500 to provide music education scholarships for 15 K-12 students.    

Headwaters School of Music & Arts is the only nonprofit music program in the Bemidji area, and the only one that offers financial assistance for private lessons.  We are the only music and art program located in downtown Bemidji, and have remodeled our building to be wheelchair accessible. We are unique in that we offer lessons on 13 instruments as well as voice.  This means that sometimes a student takes lessons on more than one instrument or they eventually decide to try out a new instrument.   We often have siblings taking lessons at the same time with two different instructors.  Several of our instructors are members of Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA); we offer to our students the opportunity to take Minnesota State music exams through MMTA, earning certificates or trophies for their achievements. When we query our adult students or the parents of young students, they tell us that they value these services and options, and that they appreciate our safe and friendly environment.

 The Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce staff have stated that they mention Headwaters Music & Arts to those considering relocating here.  They identify us as a valuable asset to quality of life in the Bemidji area.  

As for how the community specifically benefits from our music scholarship program, the 15 families currently receiving assistance state that they would not be able to have this experience were it not for this assistance. As a music and arts organization, we are pleased to be able to share tidbits such as “current brain research shows young children who received piano lessons compared to those who received computer instruction scored 34% higher in math” (Foundation for Music Literacy). Just as important, involvement in activities such as music and art are factors that build a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Based on Search Institute’s research-based model, they have identified 40 assets - positive experiences and qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults.  Over time, studies of more than 5 million young people consistently show that the more assets that young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Children and teens who take part in Headwaters Music program directly experience at least 9 of the developmental assets, including receiving support from adults other than parents, service to others, high expectations, building friendships, and positive identity. 

We at Headwaters Music & Arts- our admin and instructing staff, our volunteers and board members, and our community partner and supporters - are proud of what we do here.  What we do matters.  We know, deep in our bones, that we make a difference.  Thank you, thank you,  for your interest and for your support.  And stop by sometime for a visit or a quick look around!

Organization Data


Organization name

Headwaters School of Music and the Arts

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Community

Significantly impacted by pandemic

Significantly impacted by pandemic


519 Minnesota Ave NW

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