Quinton Morris has had a successful career as a violinist. He has recently returned from a world tour, and the first thing on his to-do list is open up a nonprofit organization, Key to Change, a violin studio for middle and high school students.
Growing up in Renton, Morris started playing the violin 30 years ago, after seeing that most of the kids in his neighborhood played some sort of instrument.
“I was influenced and inspired by my environment,” Morris said. “I saw how much people enjoyed playing instruments.”
Ever since then, he has never stopped playing the violin. He did have some setbacks when he was younger. He noticed there weren’t any places where he could get help with the violin or a good space to practice. Despite that, he was able to succeed and become world-famous.
“I went to Renton High School and being in that area I know first hand what it’s like not having arts programs in my neighborhood, or a teacher I had access to.” Morris said.
Now that he is back from his world tour, he wants to make sure students have a place to learn and practice the violin. He wants to help students that would normally not have a place to practice or wouldn’t be able to afford a place to learn and practice in. He is opening two studios, one in Renton and one in Maple Valley.
He plans to open the studios in January and is taking applications. He is looking for students who are in middle and high school in South King County area such as Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Tukwila and Maple Valley.
“I’m looking for students who are eager and want to learn,” Morris said. “I want students who want to advance in their instruments.”
Students who have limited financial resources will not have to worry about being able to afford the studio. The studio will provide scholarship opportunities for them, there will be assistance so students aren’t left behind because of a financial situation.
“I’m opening this studio to provide resources for students of color or low social economic status,” Morris said. “With that being said, any student is more than welcome to attend.”
His idea for the studio happened during his world tour. He had the opportunities to see many children in different parts of the world where he learned so much from them, he said.
“I thought, man, what can I do?,” Morris said. “I have this amazing opportunity to travel the world and meet people and kids, what can I bring back to my community from what I have learned?”
The next logical step was to bring back what he has learned to his community, which was that communities want resources like the studio, that students need these resources, he said.
Students who attend the studio can expect to get one-on-one help from Morris or one of his volunteers. His volunteers include his students from Seattle University where he teaches. They will mentor and help students. The students will also work with guest artists and professionals. They will also take college prep courses if they choose to and they will have help with auditions and college applications.
“I feel like the studio is a really needed resource because these types of resources are not generally available,” Morris said.
For information on how to apply visit www.quintonmorris.org.