Bring on 2016!

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Bring on 2016!

2016 is finally here and we can hardly believe it!

Check out what the 402 has to offer this new season.


Sign up for lessons!

The 402 Lesson Studios is always accepting new students especially in 2016. Join the 402 family by following these simple steps:

1. Choose an Art form by checking out our Lessons page. 

2. Check out the Artist Instructors who teach your desired art form.

3. Register for that Artist by visiting their Artist Profile or contact our office today

Sign up for a class!

Check out all the classes the 402 has to offer the beginning of the year.  Sign up for one today! All current classes are available to adult students. We at the 402 believe you are never to old to learn something new. 

Give to the 402 for your end of year giving!


Help us impact those lives that live in your neighborhood right here in Omaha, Nebraska.  We have seen life change through a simple act such as a music lesson or art lesson.  Not only does each of our Artist Instructors gift each of their students with knowledge and skill but they also instill confidence through success. 

General Donations to the 402 goes towards "keeping the lights on" and ultimately is used to help further the 402 impact right here in Benson.  

Urban A.M.P. (Artist Mentorship Program) is a brand new program, started in 2015, that we would like to carry into 2016.  Urban A.M.P. is a branch off of the 402 Lesson Studios Program.  A student of Urban A.M.P. comes from lesser means and is 100% scholarshipped so they can receive 1-on-1 mentorship and guidance in their desired art form.  By giving to this program you are actively changing a student's life in a drastic way. 

Check our resource opportunities.  There is always a need for new supplies here at the 402.  All donated instruments, used or new, are given to a student in need.  We have a waiting list for guitars, cellos, violins and more. By donating to our resource opportunities (whether with money or with an instrument covered in dust in your closet) you are changing a life. 

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Christina Allred : Cello Instructor

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Christina Allred : Cello Instructor

Mastering the Art of Performing


What is performance anxiety?  Most musicians have had moments of doubt when they do not think they are in control of their nerves when they are performing.  The practice sessions daily and nightly that we put in sometimes are not enough, even though we think we have a piece mastered.  

Practicing is an art.  So many times we believe that being able to play a piece ten times in a row will be enough for us to be prepared for our performances, or that practicing six hours a day will bring us to the mastery level.  

Careful and thoughtful practice is difficult to achieve, but when you understand the nature of how to practice and prepare for a performance we can control our anxiety.  

First, find the sections that are difficult for you in the piece or pieces you are trying to master.  Practice those sections at a slower tempo, then speed up five clicks of the metronome until you can play at tempo.  If you are struggling with an intricate finger pattern, change the rhythm or bowing.  For example, if the section is all sixteenth notes, change the rhythm to dotted eighth sixteenth notes or triplets, or add a different bowing.  Practicing just the shift notes and not the notes in between is helpful as well.  

The day of the performance try to stay away from caffeinated beverages, drink lots of water to stay hydrated, and eat a banana which adds potassium to your body that can help control nerves.  If you have practiced the difficult sections to be at 120% mastery, then when the nerves set in, you will perform at 100% mastery.  It is just the nature of the beast, our nerves set in and if we are not prepared beyond mastery, then our technique may falter.  

As musicians we are performers and live for the stage.  

We may not be public speakers, or debaters, but it is our choice to entertain to audiences night after night.  Life is too short not to be prepared for every performance at mastery level.  Don’t waste your time or your audiences’ time by not being prepared for all performances.  Practice smart not hard.

 
 

 

Written by Artist Instructor Christina Allred about her experience as an instructor at the 402 Arts Collective.

 

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Cody Villarreal : Guitar Instructor

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Cody Villarreal : Guitar Instructor

There is a lot to love about the 402. I love seeing some of Omaha’s best and brightest artists intersect, collaborate, and give back to the community. I love having an Aroma’s coffee shop in our building. Most of all, I love getting to help students learn a skill that they will enjoy for the rest of their lives. It is so rewarding to see someone play a song and recognize the melody their own hands are making.

Usually, this happens in isolation - one instructor, one student. That is how Mia and Maddie started last spring. These two girls started lessons at almost the same time, and we scheduled their lessons back to back. It was fun to see Mia and Maddie learn at roughly the same pace, and I often felt like a broken record, assigning similar lessons and practicing similar songs as they both progressed. It was especially enjoyable because both girls were motivated and ACTUALLY PRACTICED!

During the summer, both girls were approaching the end of their lesson book (Guitar Method for Kids, Hal Leonard). The final lesson song in the book is “I’m a Believer” - you know, the one from Shrek. They loved it and played it well, so when we started talking about the fall recital, both girls naturally wanted to play the same song. I proposed an idea: what if they played the song together?

We began overlapping their lessons. Instead of 30 minutes each, I met with Mia for 15, both for 30, and Maddie for 15. That gave each of them an opportunity to work on their solos for the recital, and we took the time together work on their duet. It was really cool to see them interact and to see their guard come down over the weeks leading up to the recital.

For me, this is what music is all about. We don’t learn art in isolation, to use our newfound skill in isolation.

The true joy of any art form is sharing it, collaborating with it, enjoying it together. The 402 is more than a bunch of rooms where skills are transferred from teacher to student. It is a collective of artists, some masters, some beginners, all taking part in the joy of artistic beauty. I am thankful for the opportunity to contribute my small part to the collective and to experience this artistic journey with each of my students.

Written by Artist Instructor Cody Villarreal about his experience as an instructor at the 402 Arts Collective. 

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A Peek into the 402 Recording Studios

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A Peek into the 402 Recording Studios

I thought I’d give a small glimpse into what’s been going on at the 402 Arts Collective’s recording studio, 402 Recording.  Over the summer, we reached out to a few bands and artists about recording a single, for free.  Insane, right?  The idea behind this gesture was to let artists of different genres and backgrounds get a feel for our unique space in the heart of Benson, no strings attached.  

It was a blast working with all these bands and it definitely tested my multi-tasking skills.  I loved working with different styles of music and recording processes.  Some bands recorded all at once and some recorded their parts one at a time.  Some used loud resonant drums and some used soft, towel-muffled drums. It was great! I also had the rare pleasure of playing drums on one of the songs, but my primary role was being the guy in the background translating and enhancing the artist’s ideas.  That has always been my niche, even outside of music, and I try not to stray from that too much.  

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting a new song from these singles on our recording studio’s Facebook page.  If you haven’t already, “like” the page https://www.facebook.com/402recording and keep an eye out for our next posting.  Here’s a few pictures from the sessions and a couple songs to get you started.  If you’re interested in using our recording studio or just want to check it out, contact us today!

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Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Session in Omaha

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Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Session in Omaha

Does that headline seem like something from the Howard Street Tavern and the 1970's ?

In Benson at the 402, good things are happening for traditional straight ahead jazz lovers and the students and adults who want to work on playing that style of music.


When I graduated from U.N.O. in 1977, and got hooked on jazz.  Omaha drummer and educator, Luigi Waites, had been running a weekly session at the Howard Street Tavern in the Old Market for several years. Two  names you should recognize that cut their "chops" at the Howard street are Dave Styrker( 25 albums so far) and Karin Allison (Blue Note recording artist). Luigi influenced tons of musicians many of who still play in and around the Omaha area and others who are based in larger cities.  Check out the websites of Victor Lewis and Arno Lucas

His rules were simple; house band plays first and last set. The middle set was a session;  and the stage was open for "sitting in".  

The fact that the Tuesday sessions lasted so long was due to several things. 1. Understanding club owner  2. Co-sponsor who helped pay the house quintet. 3. Consistent product.  

Having run the Cathedral Arts Project ( CAP) Jazz Workshop for 30 years, I feel I can speak to many positive things I see at the 402's  bi-weekly session. 

1. Traditional straight ahead "tunes" are being "called".  Some american standards but also lots of tunes made famous by Blue note artists like Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver and a host of others. 

2. Nice diversity of age. Since the session is held next to a coffee shop, high school and middle school students are welcome.  Adults who wished they learned jazz in their youth and seasoned pros also are appearing to pass on the tradition. 

3. House rhythm section provides equipment and keeps the 'groove" consistent.  Also the 402 has a stage with lights, house p.a. and sound man. 

So come out and support this great tradition!

 

GUEST AUTHOR : ROBERT GLASER

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402 Rocks Summer Arts Festival 2015

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402 Rocks Summer Arts Festival 2015

Celebrating their 41st year of operation,  The Summer Arts Festival will take place on June 5th, 6th & 7th.  The festival highlights different local visual artists and craftsman.  Not only is the event professional and inspirational, it is also family friendly.   The Summer Arts Festival has a whole section dedicated to art and music loving kids

The 402 Arts Collective has been asked to play a role in the Kids Fair this year by participating in the Artist Collectors in Training tent and Family Entertainment Stage.  A.C.T. is a giant tent filled with different art pieces donated by artist who are participating in the festivities.  The art pieces range from small paintings to wood workings to jewelry.  The A.C.T. tent encourages appreciation for art among the youth up to age 10-years-old. Each child is given the tools to visit the artist of the piece they selected.  By visiting the artist, each child has the opportunity to learn the meaning behind their new found treasure.

Along with staffing the A.C.T tent, the 402 also has several slots on the Family Entertainment Stage.  Two of the 402 Rock Academy bands, Random Samples and Outlines, will perform.  Omaha Street Percussion also has a spot on the stage on Saturday.  Be sure to swing by the festival and cheer them on! 

The 402 is honored to play a small role in this amazing festival.  Not only is this festival one of the biggest annual events in Omaha but it is arguably the most inspiring.  Attend this weekend event and meet some amazing artists with astonishing stories. 

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Rock Academy Spring Semester Kick Off

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Rock Academy Spring Semester Kick Off

As the snow begins to melt and the birds return home from their winter in the south, one can hear a low buzz coming from Studio C in downtown Benson.  Old and new band members alike come together to start yet another amazing semester of 402 Rock Academy.

If you or someone you know has ever wanted to be in a band yet didn't know where to start, the 402 Rock Academy is the perfect place.  Each participant takes their skills to the next level by learning how to rock with other musicians as well as refine their own ability on their particular instrument.

The 402 Rock Academy is a 10-week semester.  Each week, one night a week, the bands will meet with their specific 402 Rock Coach who will assist them in becoming a professional rock band. By the end of the semester The 402 hosts a live full blown rock show right here in downtown Benson. 

If you have a desire to see the end product, join the 402 Rock Academy Winter Semester for their Winter Ruckus which will take place on March 20th. Along with enjoying the show by attending this event, you can also meet the 402 Rock Coaches themselves and ask them any and all question in regards to 402 Rock Academy.

Registration is officially opened for the spring semester! If you've ever wanted to rock, now is your time.  


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The 402 Heat Wave

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The 402 Heat Wave

Winter is still going strong in beautiful Omaha, Nebraska. The threat of more snow is very real as the wind whips across the Nebraskan plains. We can probably all agree that freshly fallen snow is beautiful. Some people even love the icy chill that winter brings and the hot chocolate that is held between two mittened hands but there has to be a light at the end of this wintery tunnel, right?
Think about the smell of sunscreen, the taste of chlorine water, the sound of seagulls at the beach, and even the sight of freshly ripened watermelon. Now do you still wish it was winter?

Summer is on the top of the planning list for the 402. Although it feels bleak out now, the sun will be here before we know it.

When we think of summer we think of activities and with activities comes summer camps and classes. The 402 is excited to announce the summer camps/classes that will be offered the Summer of 2015. Check out the completed list below:

PRE-SCHOOL

CITY DANCE: Weekly, drop-in classes for dancers who have an interest in ballet and/or creative movement. City Dance is the perfect class for aspiring young dancers. This class is currently offered every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10AM-12PM.

PERCUSSION FOR PRESCHOOLERS: A camp inspired by those little table top drummers. Students will learn the basics of keeping a beat and collaborating with others. This camp will take place the beginning of June.

ELEMENTARY TO MIDDLE SCHOOL

FAMILY TREE THROUGH SEASONS: Students will learn how to create a masterpiece using paint and pictures of family members. Each participant will walk away with the knowledge of their family tree as well as a physical representation. This class will be offered in July.

HERO ACADEMY: Students will learn how to build their very own hero from scratch. Each participant will learn character development as well as technical drawing skills in this camp. This camp will take place at the beginning of June.

VILLAINY 101: Students will learn how to build their very own villain from the ground up. Not only will participants think about technical illustration skills but they will also be asked to figure out what makes this villain evil or maybe not so evil. This camp will take place at the beginning of June.

MIDDLE SCHOOL TO HIGH SCHOOL

SILKSCREEN PRINTING BASICS Students will learn how to create their very own design that they will then print on t-shirts, sweatpants, tote bags and whatever else. Each participant will walk away with the ability to prep and clean their screens. This camp will take place in August.

NATURE EXPOSED: This class will take place in Elmwood park. Every aspiring artist has drawn trees and that is what this class is all about. The stepping stone to being a good figure drawer is to first understand trees and how they exist in space. This class will take place on every Saturday in August.

HIGH SCHOOL

DRAWING INTENSIVE: This camp is geared to those in high school who want to pursue art in college. This camp’s environment is very similar to the environment of higher education art classes. Students will be assisted with their technical skills as well the patience and ability to draw for long hours at a time. This camp will take place in June.

OUTDOOR PAINTING: This class will take place in downtown Benson. Students will paint the scene as well as the day to day of the Benson Community. This class will take place twice in the month of June.

Registration for these camps & classes are coming soon!

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The 402 + Girl Scouts

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The 402 + Girl Scouts

The Girl Scouts are a vibrant network of young ladies who are striving for excellence in many different fields. Cultivating the communities around them, the Nebraska Girl Scouts approached the 402, amongst other businesses and organizations, to see if the 402 would be interested in hosting a couple art classes.
At the core, the 402 Arts Collective believes that influencing the community in a positive way as well as creating a sense of belonging is important. This idea stems from the fact that we are all better together. Artists, musicians, bakers, car repair, doctors, lawyers, and more all need each other. Together they create a strong town, city, state, region, country and even world. The Girl Scout community shares this point of view.

Cody Wheelock, 402 Visual Art Instructor, decided to take it upon himself to create a workshop for these young ladies to actively express themselves through creativity. This class took place on two Saturday mornings in Studio C.

“The idea was that we were supposed to do a collaborative artwork together for their action,” described Cody Wheelock.

The first Saturday they brainstormed ideas about what the girls loved about living in Omaha. Some of the ideas the girls came up where ranged from Skatedaze to the Omaha Zoo to the “Ball Drop” at the Children’s Museum to even the downtown skyline. The girls then practiced drawing and painting their idea they came up with on a small 9×12 inch panel.

The following Saturday the girls began to paint on one 24×30 inch canvas using all their ideas.

“We did a big heart in the middle with Omaha in bubble letters going across it,” described Wheelock. “Then the girls each painted the place they love in Omaha into it. The background was filled with the colored plastic balls from the ball drop. The end product turned out great!”

The girls were proud of their final product to say the least and now officially have an original collaborative piece of artwork to enter into their action.

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MEMBERSHIPS NOW AVAILABLE! 402 LESSON STUDIO PROGRAM

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MEMBERSHIPS NOW AVAILABLE! 402 LESSON STUDIO PROGRAM

Here at The 402 Arts Collective we have just put the finishing touches on a new addition to our Lesson Studio program. We are now offering memberships!. Whats this mean for you? Maybe its easier to just lay out for you the two different membership levels and a description of the discounts and perks you receive for each:

MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP
With this 12 month membership you can choose between either “express” – 30min or “standard” – 60min lessons every week with your artist instructor here at The 402. The cost of your lessons are paid automatically on the first of every month for a 12 month period with your credit or debit card information submitted. You are asked to agree to a 12 month commitment. If you choose to cancel your membership within that 12 month period you may do so at any time, however there is a $100 cancellation fee. This is nice for those who don’t want to worry about paying their bills on time every month. For signing up for this 12 month commitment you receive the following perks:

- 15% off gift card (key ring) to Aromas Coffeehouse – 402 Arts Collective T-Shirt – 402 “Golden Ticket” (this gets you free admission for 1 person to all events held at The 402 Venue for an entire year) – Free admission for one(1) person to attend two(2) group lessons or classes offered within the 12 month period at The 402

*anyone who receives weekly lessons for an entire year gets an automatic 4 lessons for free (months that contain 5 weeks)

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP
With an Annual membership you simply pay upfront the cost of 52 weeks of lessons within the 402 Lesson Studio program. This gives you a guaranteed 52 weeks of lessons for you or your student. Anyone who signs up for this membership receives the same perks as the monthly membership only you will also receive a 10% discount on the cost of 52 lessons.

MUSIC AND ART LESSONS THAT GIVE BACK! One of the most exciting developments happening in 2015 at The 402 Arts Collective is the fact that we are posturing ourselves to give and serve like never before. For the past year, all of us in the Collective have really focused on growing our Lesson Studio program and offering high quality music and art lessons to as many people as we can. Now, we are asking for your help… We are partnering with various mentoring programs this year to begin to offer high quality art and music mentorship to the un-reached, underserved, and underprivileged young artists in our city. We need your help to make this happen. We have set up a fund that is designed to help underwrite this activity as well as offer scholarships and fiscal aide to families who cannot afford lessons for their student. The collective is made up of artists who have a passion to make a positive, long lasting impact on a child’s life through music and art mentorship. This is why we are asking for you to consider donating 10% over and above your monthly cost of receiving lessons at The 402 Lesson Studio. When you sign up for one of our two memberships we simply ask you if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation of an additional 10% of your tuition amount to our mentorship program fund.

SIGN UP FOR A 402 LESSON STUDIO MEMBERSHIP TODAY!!

To sign up for a membership or to get further information simply contact our office:

office@402artscollective.org
402-913-1939

Ben Shafer, Executive Director

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THE 402 UPDATE : JAN 2015

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THE 402 UPDATE : JAN 2015

It is officially 2015 and with that comes new things. One new thing that the 402 is offering this year is a NEW video series called THE 402 UPDATE. There will be a new video each month informing the public what is happening at the 402. These videos will also showcase the many different faces that can be seen around the 402 on a weekly bases.
 

Audio Recording Lessons
The Shiver Flowers at The 402 on January 24th
The Caviler at The 402 on January 31st
Figure Drawing Class offered at the 402 in Studio C

COMING SOON: Summer Camps and Classes for 2015 info

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My Life Was Changed When

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My Life Was Changed When

 

       “My life drastically changed when just one person took the time to             invest into me…”

“My life was changed when….” we hear this phrase all the time right? You hear it from people who took part in some great event. You hear it when someone visited a place in the world that inspired them. You can even hear this statement from people who have been faced with great tragedy in their life. The kind of “change” I am wanting to point out is something you might call “the shift” or maybe a “way point change” in someones life. A lot of times around the 402 we call it “the change moment”. These movements are so sacred and so special, that one can scarcely write them down or explain them for fear of cheapening the impact. I am talking about the moment when someone stops what they are doing to invest in themselves only, and instead takes the time to invest into you. Take a minute and think of the last person who made a profound POSITIVE impact on your life. Was it a teacher, was it your parents, was it your pastor at your church? If you would allow me a personal moment I would like to share an experience, “a change moment”, in my life that impacted me in very large way.

I was in sixth grade, attending middle school in a little town in the middle of Nebraska. Choir class was my favorite class. I really didn’t hate sports, but I just didn’t get into it.  I didn’t want anyone to know how much I loved choir because all the popular kids thought it was lame. Truth be told, I looked forward to it every day. One of the reasons I loved it so much was because of the teacher who led the class every day; Mr. Wild. I could just tell he loved his job and his passion was infectious. Mr. Wild was always very intense when it came to music. He would look at you when it was time for you to sing as though the whole world would stop moving if you wouldn’t sing your part perfectly. He demanded excellence without ever raising his voice. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to try to coral 50 some middles school students to sing the right part much less all together at the same time.

One day, Mr. Wild came to me and asked me to meet him in his office after class. I thought either I was in trouble or he was going to ask me to sing a solo on one of the songs we were practicing. It turns out Mr. Wild wanted to offer me something that no-one had ever offered me before… private voice lessons. I remember saying something like “sure…I guess” or something and going home to talk to my parents and getting the okay. He agreed to begin to meet with me on Saturday mornings for one hour. This was all new to me because I really had no plans in my head to become a “singer” or even someone who played music. I truly didn’t really have any plans at all in my 6th grader mind at that point. So just as we planned I began to meet with Mr. Wild every Saturday for voice lessons. I just couldn’t believe he was doing this…I mean what would posses a person to take the time, patience and effort to take the skill that he possessed and pass it down to me? This is exactly what he did. I respected Mr. Wild. I just marveled at his talent and skills to make music come out of his voice that would just always make the song come alive. Every time he would sing play the piano and sing it would almost seem like he would go off into another planet for a brief time.

The focus of this article is not to talk about “what” he taught me, but rather the “why” he taught me. After about 6 weeks of lessons I finally figured out the “why”. One day during our lesson, after I had just gotten done with one of our pieces I was doing for a recital coming up, he turned around on his piano stool and told me to sit down and listen. He said, “Ben…God had has gifted you with a great talent…and I think you should spend the rest of your life giving that gift back to the world…as a gift”. This statement changed me. I have had many “change moments” in my life since then, but this was one of the biggest. I am not sure if he really even knew how much that impacted me or not and maybe not even to this day. But that day the rudder on my ship was shifted away from a life of just “getting” and towards a life of “giving”. You might personally not believe in God or believe that people are “gifted”. The concept of being gifted means that there must be a “gift giver”. That might be hard for you to believe and I understand. For me personally it all  began to make sense when I figured out that talents and abilities must be learned and practiced so that you can turn around and help people with those talents and abilities. Even if it is as simple as singing a song.

“...God has gifted you with a great talent…and I think you should spend the rest of your life giving that gift back to the world…as a gift”

What I went on to do with music isn’t important. What is important is for you to ask your self what you can do in your life to use your gifts and abilities to serve others around you. What is it that you have been “gifted” with? Don’t just stop at “what” you were gifted with…but “why” do you do it. If you aren’t sure what those gifts are, let me encourage you find people who do and find out your can provide resources for them to make an impact in someones else’s life.

What I love the most about the 402 Arts Collective is that the goal of all of our amazing artist instructors and members isn’t just the skills and abilities aspect, but also the “why”. We believe that entire communities and cultures can change for the better  just by taking time to invest in these young artists one at a time. The unique aspect behind the organization is that this network of artists are poised and ready to serve many young aspiring artists in so many forms and disciplines of art. All we need is your support. This great work of “calling out the greatness” of young artists in our city is only done so by the support of our community and the charitable donations from people with the gift of giving. We have been able to serve over 150 students every week with one-on-one music and art mentorship. We would love to reach over 250 this next year.

If you or someone you know is interested in helping us make an impact please feel free to contact me directly: ben@402artscollective.org
402-913-1939

or you can make an online tax-deductible donation here:

http://402artscollective.org/give/

 

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Amazon Smile

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Amazon Smile

It’s officially the holiday season here in Omaha. You might find yourself filled with the holiday cheer and the warm fuzzies that comes with Christmas shopping.  This may, however, not be true for you.  You may, like many others, dread going out in the blistering cold, fighting the long lines and the traffic in and out of shopping centers.  This is why online was invented.  Well that’s not completely true, but this is why online shopping was created.
With online shopping you no longer have to fight the long line for that one toy that will go out of stock any minute now.  You will never have to worry if your wasting your time driving out to a specific shoe store hoping they have the right size in the correct style. No, with online shopping Christmas has never been easier.

Amazon.com has taken it a step further.  Not only are they similar to Walmart in which they have just about everything under the sun, they also have created Amazon Smile to help support organizations.  

They even created a slogan: “You shop. Amazon gives.”

Here is how it work: you log into your amazon account through Amazon Smile.  You then click the organization of your choice.  

The 402 Arts Collective is fortunate to be one of those organizations.

 After this you begin to shop for those Christmas present for loved ones through Amazon Smile (not all items are under the Amazon Smile umbrella).  Once you have found an item and ordered it, Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase to the organization.

0.5% may seem like a small number but imagine if everyone who was shopping online was using Amazon Smile.  There are no hidden fees or extra costs, Amazon Smile donates some of their profit from your purchase to an organization.

Our ask this year is if you would consider choosing The 402 as your organization of choice as you shop on Amazon Smile.

 This will help new students walk through our doors who may not have been able to before your gift through Amazon Smile.  

All of us from the the 402 would like to thank you in advance for your participation in Christmas shopping this holiday season.  Happy shopping!

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Artist Spotlight | Ben Tweedt

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Artist Spotlight | Ben Tweedt

Ben Tweedt had entered into the 402 office one afternoon with Aromas coffee in hand. He had agreed to squeeze in an interview into his already busy schedule. Having sat himself across from the 402, Ben began to tell a little bit about his growing up years.
Born in Brunswick Ohio, Ben and his family moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa when he was 5-years-old. The youngest of four children, Ben grew up playing piano at an early age.

“When I was six-years-old I heard my sister practicing the piano and I had decided that I wanted to do it too,” described Ben. So he had told his parents that he wanted to learn and they put him in music lessons.

Ben grew to love the piano right away.

“When I was younger I really liked practicing and playing. I was fortunate to win lots of stuff when I was younger. You know different awards and such,” described Ben. “But when I got to late elementary school and middle school I stopped caring and then stopped practicing all together. I still took lessons however. That was the part of my life that I regret as a musician. Had I continued practicing I would probably be a lot better now.”

Having grown up with the mindset that “practice makes perfect,” Ben understood then and understands now the value in hard work. As young Ben entered high school he began to experience different outlets in music. From band to choir to jazz, Ben encountered different aspects of music that he may not have otherwise experienced.

“I was never a huge fan of marching band and I will say I am very glad that I never have to do it ever again,” described Ben with a grin. “However I really enjoyed jazz band although I wasn’t any good until my last semester of high school.” Ben also told the 402 that he participated in choir. He was fortunate enough to to be an all stater for all four years of high school. “I didn’t really care for singing that much. I guess it was something that just kept me out of trouble,” laughed Ben.

Jazz band in high school encouraged him to pursue music in college and as a profession. The director of his jazz band in high school, Daren Pettit, is one of the best saxophone players in the area and actually teaches at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“Pettit and other UNO people convinced me to do music. Like I never thought I was good enough but they convinced me that I was,” described Ben. So that is just what Ben did. He enrolled into UNO and is working towards a degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in piano. He is currently in his junior year.

Pettit wasn’t the only influential instructor in Ben’s life. From six-years-old all the way through high school, Ben took lessons from the same teacher.

“She reinforced all the good things from the very beginning,” informed Ben.

This is exactly what Ben is trying to do with his students. He wants to reinforce all of the good things. “What I am trying to do through teaching here is to develop a way to teach kids something that they like to play while focusing on the things that they need to learn. There is way to do that without delving into hardcore classical music, unless if that is something they want to learn. Right now I am working on the star wars theme with a couple students. Pretty fun,” said Ben.

When asked the question what he wants his students to walk away with after taking a lesson from him, Ben answered with,

“I want them to enjoy music! I also want to equip them with the skills that will allow them to continue on should they decide to.”

 

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Rock Academy + Lulla Photography

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Rock Academy + Lulla Photography

Lulla Photography decided to stop by one night to take band shots as the 2014 fall semester of 402 Rock Academy comes to an end. The bands, Audio Amplifier and the Random Samples, posed in their coolest stance to replicate the vibe of their music.
402 Rock Academy is a 10-week semester of intense training with one of the 402 Rock Coaches. Seeing the bands start to finish, the coaches get to witness the growth as each individual musician is joined with other musicians to create an epic up-n-coming Omaha band.

Check out these awesome photos by Lulla Photography and be sure to come to The 402 Fall Ruckus November 1st at The 402.


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Artist Spotlight | Cody Wheelock

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Artist Spotlight | Cody Wheelock

The 402 Arts Collective has been in existence for a little over two years. Since the very beginning, the 402 has always had experienced musicians who have taught and shared their talents and abilities with the general public. Just within the past couple months however, the 402 has begun to make a changes with the help of a man named Cody Wheelock.
Cody Wheelock joined the 402 team just before this past summer began. Cody is a professional visual artist as well as an art teacher at Fremont highschool. “I currently teach advanced art studio, pottery and art one,” described Cody. Although busy with school and being a family man, Cody finds time to volunteer his services at the 402. He is the Visual Art Director at the 402. His work will be featured in the 402 Gallery this November. He also will be instructing a Drawing Bootcamp next month along with his private lessons.

Wheelock grew up in Dewitt, Nebraska. “It’s near Beatrice. Do you know where Beatrice is? No? It is forty-five minutes south of Lincoln. We’re good with Lincoln right?” He chuckled. Growing up in a small town of 500 people, Cody told the 402 that he has been drawing for as long as he can remember.

“I had tubs at home filled with art stuff. I remember having blank comic book pages that I would fill up with my own stories. I also would take computer paper and staple them together to make my own books.”

Around 4th or 5th grade, young Cody tried his hand at teaching. “I would try to give art lessons out of my bedroom to my little brother Dillon. I remember trying to teach him how to draw a giraffe. Yeah, it was horrible,” he laughed. Dillion Wheelock, a couple years younger than Cody, is also a visual artist. He currently teaches at the 402 as well.

When asked the question: When did you officially get serious about art? Cody answered the 402 with, “When I was twelve-years-old I got a book for Christmas. It was by Lee Hammond. It was something like ‘How to Draw Realistic Portraits’ or something like that. It basically showed you how to use a blending tool as well as the value scale. I remember I did a portrait of a football coach. It turned out great. I had never tried drawing anything realistic up until this point.” Finding this successful moment in his art, Cody told the 402 that this moment really encouraged him to pursue the arts. “I started taking things more seriously after this point and then when I was about 14 or 15-years-old I started selling little portraits here or there. People would give me pictures and I would copy them and give them back. I did that through high school. I would say in college I learned more about traditional painting and drawing techniques.”

Cody decided to transfer to University of Nebraska Lincoln after attending Doane College for a year. “I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in Art Education. This past year I finished up my masters through Boston University.” Although Cody told the 402 that he learned a lot about teaching and art while in school, he found himself researching on his own time. He still finds himself to this very day studying the masters in the art world.

“I would have loved to have gone to one of the classical art schools where you basically learn the same techniques that the masters used. That’s my kind of style.”

Cody remembered one of the first projects he did as a freshman in college. He had to draw a self portrait. “I was very confident because I had drawn so many portraits in highschool and I had sold them to people,” described Cody. Little did he know that drawing from a photograph and from real life were two very different things. When his professor gave him a mirror and told him to draw, the outcome was far from what he had expected. “It was frustrating and humiliating,” described Cody. After that moment however, Cody stopped drawing from photographs and now only works from real life.

Having never visiting an art history museum, Cody’s aunt took him to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City during his first year at college. “I remember going right after my first art history class and looking around the museum being like, ‘Is that a real Monet?!’ It was amazing.” Cody told the 402 that both of these experiences, working from life as well as learning about art history, were pivotal moments in his artistic career. These are types of moments he wants to bring to his classroom.

While attending college, Cody taught some at the Lux Center. Although he enjoys working in the school system, Cody loves the freedom that non-profits and other organizations bring to the table when it comes to teaching. This structor allows him, as the teacher, to really focus on what the student wants and needs as a growing artist.

“I would love to give each student the knowledge that what they are doing is legit. Art is a part of a larger thing that is legitimate. Art isn’t just a summer craft that doesn’t take much thought. I want to instill in them responsibility and ownership in their art.”

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Student Spotlight | Ayden Owens

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Student Spotlight | Ayden Owens

Stepping into the 402 office on a chilly afternoon, Ayden Owens sat himself in one of the green cushion chairs in the conference room. His mom, Polly Owens, stationed herself next to Ayden during his interview with the 402. Both mom and son were excited to share their personal perspectives on the 402 Lesson Studios.
Ayden, thirteen-years-old, is the middle child as well as the only boy in his family. Although surrounded by girls, Ayden told the 402 that his whole family has one thing in common.

“Music,” he had said with a grin.

From his sisters, to parents, to great grandparents, Ayden described that he wasn’t alone in his passion for music.

Ayden has played the violin for just about three and a half years. He also tells the 402 that he “sort of” plays the dulcimer. “You’re working on the learning the dulcimer too,” he had said as he looked up at his mom. “Not very hard,” replied Polly assuring the 402 with a smile. Ayden’s sisters play the piano and his dad plays the guitar.

“Ayden’s great grandfather conducted and wrote the music for the Union Pacific Railroad and his great grandmother played piano for silent movies,” informed Polly. Also his grandparents had met performing at The University of Nebraska Omaha.

“We have very rich heritage of music in our family,” Polly had said.

The Owens’ first heard about the 402 from life long family friends, the Thompsens. Sara Thomsen is currently a piano instructor at the 402. “They told us you need to check it out,” described Polly. “So we did just that,” Ayden tells the 402 that he currently takes lessons from Danny Sabra. Not only does he showcase his talent in recitals, Ayden also takes what he has learned from his lessons and implements it in a string group at his church.

When asked what his goals are with music, he smiled and said, “Well I like the idea of a hobby, however, I do like the idea of being a professional.”

He has a strong passion for learning the violin and has a drive that many students his age do not have.

“That’s exactly him,” described Polly as she had smiled with pride at her son. As a mature young man, Ayden knows the difficulties that come with learning a new instrument.

When asked what his advice would be to those who are considering taking music lessons, he replied,

“Try it out!”

His can-do attitude should inspire anyone who is thinking about trying out either a new instrument or refining already developed skills. Polly told the 402 that she hadn’t known a lot about the organization before getting involved.

“We just kinda jumped in. But what I thought was neat and what I learned at the recital is how much of a non-profit and ministering to the community the 402 does. That’s huge. I love being apart of that bigger picture.”

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Artist Spotlight | Axelle Verboon

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Artist Spotlight | Axelle Verboon

Axelle Verboon is a 402 Artist Instructor who teaches piano, violin and viola.  She was born in Belgium and moved to the United States when she was 5-years-old.  After living in Maryland for a couple years, she and her family moved to Nebraska when she was 7-years-old.

She tells The 402 that she has lived in Millard most of her life. 

“Me and the Millard Public Library were best friends when I was younger.”

“The first lessons I took part in was piano.  One of my favorite memories of playing piano was on my parent’s piano.  It was ancient, like 1880s,  old saloon style piano with carvings. I’m pretty sure it was from Europe. It was horrible. It was so out of tune. It was a terrible piano, terrible, terrible, terrible!” Axelle laughed.  “But I just remember they had this little tiny red piano book.  I remember I was five or six and I just learned how to read.  So I was looking at this book and was like like, ‘Oh! I could play piano!’ There were pictures and diagrams so I taught myself how to play like three songs. I just remember being so excited and telling everyone, ‘Hey guys! I can do this!’”

Axelle and her sibilings were required to play piano until they were 15-years-old. “My mom would make us practice 2 hours a day. It was basically what we did. Back in the day there was six of us all playing piano at the same time. We had two pianos going.  One was on one side of the house and the other was on the other side.  Otherwise we would start at 9am and we wouldn’t finish until 9pm. It was like our jobs growing up.”

By the time Axelle turned fourteen, she felt as if she had reached her highest potential on the piano. “I wish I could remember all that knowledge that I had as a middle schooler,” she laughed.  At this point in her musical career, young Axelle decided to make the transition from piano to strings.  “So I started learning violin and viola and that was a really humbling experience because I knew how I wanted it to sound or how the song should sound but I couldn’t get it right the first time. It was very frustrating.” 

“I remember days I would get so frustrated I would be like, ‘I quit!’ Then I would go play the piano and I would be like, ‘Ok I can do this,’ then go back and play the violin.”

As Axelle grew up she always knew she would pursue music as a profession.  “It was just something that I knew and always had done.” Attending The University of Nebraska Omaha for Music Education, Axelle is certified music teacher for kindergarden-12th grade.

“I currently teach at OPS.  I am the traveling music teacher for five schools.  I teach the Beginner Strings Program at Washington, Beals, Belle Ryan, Hartman, and Miller Park.”  Along with teaching strings Axelle teaches piano as well as beginner cello and bass.  “I do teach cello and bass but only to beginners and once they hit a certain level I tell them, ‘You must go forth and find another teacher because I have given you all that I know.’”

“Starting to teach made me a much better musciain.  Everytime I teach a concept it comes out a little different.  You have to really know your students.  I have to learn how to communicate with each and every one of them that it would make sense to them personally.” 

When asked what she believes is one of the most important aspects of taking lessons along with learning fundamental skills, Axelle responded with,

“Seeing students grow as individuals.  Music is a tool for life experiences such as discipline and dedication. It is more of a gift that can be used and not just an end in itself.”

   

 

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Student Spotlight | Naomi Turner

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Student Spotlight | Naomi Turner

 

Naomi Turner and her mom Barb, sat down with the 402 on an early Monday morning. Just in the next room, young preschoolers where learning the art of rhythm.  Naomi sat her cello behind her seat and sat up straight. She smiled at the noise coming through the wall. While the continuous beat and the rattling of shakers played in the background, the 402 asked Naomi and Barb a few questions about their experience at the 402 Lessons Studios. 

“I have been playing the cello since the 4th grade,” Naomi described.  When asked why she picked the cello in the first place she laughed and said,

“Because everyone else in the class picked the violin and I didn’t want to be like that.”

 Naomi will be starting high school this fall.  She told the 402 that she is a excited but a little nervous.  She has participated in orchestra since the 4th grade and will continue this school year. 

Barb told the 402 that her daughter first started taking lessons at the 402 in June. After starting lessons, Naomi said one of the first things she learned was how to play the right notes.  “In orchestra they don’t go around to each person and say, ‘This is how your hand is supposed to look.’ I also didn’t straddle my cello before, instead I used to sit to the side of it,” she then demonstrated with an imaginary cello in hand. “So I have changed a good deal I’d say.” When asked why she decided to start taking her lessons her face lit up.  “Well I am doing a pageant in November and it is the first time I am required to do a talent.  So I thought that since I already play the cello, might as well enhance my skills for my performance.” 

Music is a fun extra curricular activity for Naomi.

She told the 402 that her biggest dream is to become a fashion designer like her dad.  “My dad has two fashion lines already! So I kind of want to follow in his footsteps,” described Naomi with a big smile.

When asked the question who has the biggest influence over her music, Naomi looked over at her mom, “Am I the only one in our family that plays music?” Her mom nodded her head in response and added, “Well Grandpa did play the flute and Papa messes around with the guitar a little.  Her dad and I along with her brothers, however, don’t play.” Although her family doesn’t actually play music,  Naomi says they still have a huge appreciation for music and are supportive.  She also added that she likes listening to cello music in her free time. 

The 402 turned to Barb and asked how she and Naomi first heard about the 402. She responded with,“We have friends whose son plays drums here. I had seen his mom post a few things and he seemed like he got pretty good pretty quickly. I thought, ‘Oh wow!’” Barb smiled.  “So I emailed her asking where her son takes lessons. She told us about this place. So thats how I knew that we should come here.” When asked if her view had changed at all since being here Barb continued, “I think it has been really good for her to come here. She hasn’t felt intimidated at all. She didn’t know if she would be meeting a teacher who would be really strict,” she chuckled.  “Conner has a really good way of teaching her. They sit and laugh, a lot!”

“Oh he said how I hold the cello,” Naomi chimed in. “Pretend that there is a baby duck in between your palm and the neck and if you squeeze the cello to hard you are going to crush the egg. Then the egg can’t grow up and live a happy long life.” Everyone laughed.

“Whenever I start I am like, ‘Okay my baby egg is fine, my thumb is happy and I’m not killing the cello,’” smiled Naomi.

Naomi was asked if she had any advice for those who thought about taking music or art lessons, her response was this, “They should do it and it is a really a lot of fun.  Usually lessons aren’t but these are.” Be looking out for Naomi Turner because who knows, maybe one day she will be Miss America. 

 

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