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Check Out Neil Schwartz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neil Schwartz.

Neil, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born and raised in northern New Jersey. In 2009, I was admitted to the University of Arizona (“UA”), where I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. Following my graduation from the UA, I worked as a habilitation provider for children at S.E.E.K., Arizona. It was around this time that I decided to pursue a degree in music therapy/classical guitar at Arizona State University (“ASU”). I enrolled at ASU and will be finishing my degree this semester. Throughout my life, I have volunteered to give back to my community. During my music therapy program at ASU, I became involved with a local non-profit organization called Guitars for Veterans. This non-profit provides guitar lessons to veterans. The lessons are provided by music therapy students under the supervision of a boards certified music therapist. The sessions consist of learning chords, basic music theory, songwriting, and create a safe place to reflect on and discuss one’s personal relationship to music.  I worked with the music therapy program at ASU and the local chapter coordinator of Guitars for Veterans to develop a second level class to further improve the participating veterans skills and provide them with performance opportunities in the Phoenix area. It is gratifying to contribute as a positive force in these veterans’ lives and to repay their service to our country by teaching them skills that provide therapeutic benefits. In addition to Guitars for Veterans, I have also been involved with another non-profit organization called AZ Rhythm Connections as a drum facilitator. This organization’s primary focus is to bring the joy of rhythm and percussion to any and all events where rhythm is welcome by using recreational drumming and music for stress reduction and personal/group empowerment. Its goal is to take the team building and group-fun experiences to unexpected levels of enjoyment. In addition to my music therapy program and volunteer work, I am currently teaching guitar and ukulele at Prestige Music Academy in Phoenix. Recently, I was introduced to photography and videography. I find it challenging and exciting to capture people in their element. This appeals to my creative and artistic side, similar to my interest in music. I find it very satisfying helping people overcome issues as well as working with people in artistic endeavors.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As a music teacher, I try to inspire students to enjoy and explore music while improving their skills. This allows them to have a deeper appreciation for the music they create and helps them find the genres and artists that inspire them. As a music therapy student, I believe that music can often help people explore their inner self and learn to express themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.  I have seen first hand how music therapy can help people address both physical and emotional issues.

As a photographer, I often try to capture the subject being authentic in their element. Each photo tells a story, and I always enjoy capturing the subject, expressing emotion while being vulnerable. It allows the viewer to have a window into that one moment where a subject has let their guard down.

I believe it is important to strive to overcome your fears while trying to achieve your goals. Fear has always been an obstacle for me. To overcome my fears, I look for challenges that make me nervous and excited at the same time.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
While I follow current global events, I focus more on the local community.   I try my best to stay in my own lane and find joy in what I do in everyday life. I truly enjoy working with other musicians and artists whether assisting young aspiring musicians hone their skills or capturing musicians and artists while they perform.  I have also found a passion for taking landscape pictures here in the Phoenix area.  The desert is far more beautiful than people realize and I enjoy trying to capture it in ways I can share with others.  Its hard to describe the beautiful sunsets and vistas we have here in Arizona but a picture allows a beautiful moment to be shared with many people.  I believe that the role of artists is constantly evolving. It is important to remain flexible but true to what you want to do.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can find some of my photography at www.capturezine.com.  I would ask everyone to look into the local chapter of Guitars for Veterans, it’s a wonderful organization that provides support for our local veterans.

Contact Info:

 

Image Credit:
Cody Simpson Media

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