As we celebrate the Mozart School of Music’s 10th Anniversary in the village, Owner and Director, Olga Lockwood reflects on the school’s history and her journey.
Olga’s journey starts in Manitoba, where she raised her kids and had a stable job teaching music out of her own home. While she found teaching music to be fulfilling and did so to be close to her children; when her children moved onto university, she decided it was time for a change of scenery.
“I loved teaching piano…but when you’re teaching privately in your own home, it’s very isolating. I really wanted to be able to collaborate with other musicians and that became one of my motivations for starting the school.”
“I asked myself whether I saw myself staying in Manitoba for the rest of my life, Olga recalled. “Once I had my answer, I knew very quickly that I wanted to establish my own music school”
In 2008, Olga decided to sell everything and leave Manitoba. “I wasn’t in my 20s or 30s at the time, and it was tough deciding to leave stable teaching work and my beautiful home. I didn’t know where my school was going to be but I knew I wanted to be in Vancouver, partially because of the climate”.
After 8 months of searching for the perfect location for her school, Olga vividly remembers her first visit to Wesbrook to look at the unit where the school is. “It was very early on in the construction of the village. Blenz Coffee had just opened a few weeks before but everywhere else was open fields and dirt roads - it was quite unbelievable to see…especially compared to what people see here today.”
“I remember feelings of exhilaration and excitement; I felt so strongly that this is where I should be building this school. Once I saw the vision and plans UBC had for the entire neighborhood over the next 15 years, I was very optimistic” Olga said. “Today Wesbrook Village has such a young, vibrant appeal with all the students around, yet it is also stunningly beautiful here that is attractive to everyone.
Ever since they opened their doors, Olga credits the growth of her school to the neighbourhood’s proximity to the institutional core of UBC and the ability to attract talented teachers from the UBC School of Music. “One of the most rewarding things that has come out of this school is being able to give talented people work and work closely with them”. Mozart is also active in the community. Every month, students and the faculty of Mozart School of Music give a recital for residents at Tapestry on Wesbrook Mall.