Bull City Music School: cultivating community harmony through music education in Durham

Photo provided by Jeanetta Powell; members of the Brown Sugar Music Project


Durham has long been a center for artistic expression and exploration, and Bull City Music School brings those values to a wide range of individuals.

A program that aims to provide music education for people of all ages, the school fosters an artistic community with goals of making positive social change across Durham.

The school is a passion project for founder and owner, Jeanetta Powell, who has been dedicated to the art of music ever since she was young.

Powell received her degree in Music Education at Jackson State University and has been a music educator ever since. She started Bull City Music School to combine her three passions of music, education and entrepreneurship, and give herself a stable job in art education. 

“I never knew if my job was going to be there because the art positions are usually the first ones that are eliminated,” said Powell, discussing her experience working in public schools.

Bull City Music School was founded seven years ago in Durham and recently expanded to another location in Hillsborough.

Both schools provide a large impact to the community through the gift of music. During the year, students at the school perform recitals to showcase their work. 

Their upcoming showcase will take place at their annual Summer Block Party on June 2. The event will beat the Golden Belt Outdoor Stage in Durham, and will be open to the public. 

Durham is home to many artists and creatives, and Jeanetta hopes to usher in the next generation.

“We are a city that is on the brink of very young leadership that really sees and understands the value of the arts in our economy,” Powell said.

Bull City Music School started as a program for children, but has evolved to include adult programming. 

Teaching children, however, is one of Powell’s favorite parts about her job and it’s what keeps her drive alive. 

“Helping my young musician face adversity and helping them through it. Seeing them grow to get to that end result – that’s what keeps me motivated,” said Powell. “When you teach young children, it keeps you very youthful; they force you to always be innovative.” 

She is always looking ahead for more projects to expand her music school and to impact the community. In the fall, the school will open their own performing arts preschool. 

Powell also founded a nonprofit branch of the school in order to create better access to music education for those musicians to grow in their craft.

Bull City Performing Arts, the nonprofit, manages a program called the Brown Sugar Music Project. The project strives to create a space for girls of color to nurture their creativity and self-development through music. 

Bull City Music School is also offering a new pre-collegiate track that is designed to prepare those who want to pursue a music major in college for an advanced study of music.

The goal of the school’s many projects is to keep music education alive by raising the next generation of passionate music educators. 

“Music is woven into the fabric of who we are,” Powell said.

Jeanetta Powell and Bull City Music School continue to expand their impact and increase the accessibility of music education programs across the city.

Edited by Sydney Brainard and Laney Crawley

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