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Meet Gavin Farrell of Powers Music School in Belmont

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gavin Farrell.

Gavin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I jokingly tell people that my career really started in the parking lot of Harbor Docks restaurant in Destin, Florida. That’s where the singer and guitar player in the band I joined out of college got into a fist fight and essentially ended my dream of being a rock star. With the band breaking up, I had no income and moved home to help care for my terminally ill father.

After his passing, I got my act together and went to graduate school in Baltimore at the Peabody Conservatory. I stayed in Baltimore and at Peabody for 20 years, working on the faculty, then on staff, and eventually rising to be Executive Director of the school’s Preparatory division – a community school for music and dance that served over 2000 students a year in Baltimore and the surrounding communities.

Running a division of a larger organization had its plusses and minuses, but after 20 years of being in one place, I started looking for new opportunities. At the same time, Powers long time Director, Helen Clapp-Stevenson was retiring and the board of directors was in the midst of a search. Long story short, I applied, they liked me, I liked the school – and most importantly, the people here – and I won the job and moved to Belmont with my wife this past summer.

The first few months have been a whirlwind, but I’m thrilled with my new position and with the possibilities and potential of Powers and I’m looking forward to a long tenure as its Director.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Aside from the aforementioned fist fight, I’d say the road has been relatively smooth. It’s taken a long time to get to where I am, so any frustration I felt was largely due to being impatient with myself and the world around me. Now that I’m here, it’s like this opportunity was meant for me all along. In hindsight, I’m glad some other possibilities never panned out.

Please tell us about Powers Music School.
Powers Music School provides high caliber music instruction from a nurturing and talented faculty and community outreach programs that foster a lifelong appreciation of music.

The core of our school is individual vocal and instrumental instruction on virtually any instrument and any style of music. While most of our students are school aged, we pride ourselves on providing a lifetime of opportunities with early childhood classes beginning as young as six months old to lessons and ensembles geared specifically for adults and seniors.

Our long-running and extremely popular summer programs Pow-Wow and Music on the Hill ensure that students have year-round opportunities for music making while our outreach efforts like the Musical Story Telling Program and Neighborhood Concert Series engage Belmont and the surrounding communities in concerts and productions for the entire family.

What sets Powers apart from other community music schools is our faculty. 75% of our teachers hold advanced degrees and another 25% hold certifications in Suzuki, Dalcroze, or other methods. Two of our faculty have been nominated for Grammy Awards, while others have performed the world over – from Carnegie Hall to the famed CBGB’s nightclub in Los Angeles. Our teachers are a truly remarkable group of individuals who are a big part of why Powers is a special place.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think it was standing on stage at Peabody last June during an award ceremony for students when I received a standing ovation from parents, faculty, and students who knew I was departing. As I think about that moment, it was a reflection of my work over the previous 20 years, and it was only then that I fully grasped the impact I had on so many people’s lives. It was in some sense sad, as I was leaving a place and a group of people I truly loved, but it also gave me hope for the future as I knew I’d have a chance to have an even greater impact at Powers.


  • Private Instruction – $89 per hour
  • Group Classes — $20-30 per hour
  • Ensembles – $10-20 per hour
  • Summer camps – $350-1,995

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