Garden Music School students (l. to r.) Mitch and Brennen Fountain, Noah Short and Sunita Maharaj learn how to perform together as a band.
Studies show that musical education has an impact on general studies like math, reading and science; and that students who are involved in the arts do better in their core academics. Performance programs also enhance a person’s sense of self-esteem, as well as social skills.
The staff and instructors at Garden Music School believe that music is an important avenue to individual success.
“We view our business as an educational facility,” said General Manager Matt Farrington, who began working at Garden Music as a French horn teacher.
Garden Music, which is owned by Russell Gay, offers private 30 minute lessons for all band and orchestra instruments, as well as a variety of others, including guitar, keyboard, mandolin, banjo and even the sitar — a string instrument used in classical Indian music.
According to Director of Marketing Robin Schultz, who began his career at Garden Music as a violin instructor, the facility’s goal is to complement local school music programs, as well as enrich the community through music education.
Though students typically range in age from 7 to 18, adults are welcome to take private lessons.
The pool of instructors are top-tier musicians with impressive credentials, usually with music-industry notoriety.
“We contract with professional instructors who are out there performing,” Farrington said.
These instructors include Jim Snyder, a top jazz clarinetist who has been a Yamaha performing artist since 1982; and internationally acclaimed guitarist Forest Rodgers.
Students are required to have their own instruments, primarily so they can practice at home. Garden Music has a retail component designed for the beginner, and rentals and rent-to-own options are available.
Garden Music also offers group learning options for school-age students, including Rock Lab, an ensemble class composed of bass, guitar, drums and keyboard players who learn to play together as a band; Camp Rock Band, a similar program that is conducted as a summer camp, where students perform at local music festivals; Scott Wilson’s Jazz Combo sessions that give students the opportunity to learn techniques under the tutelage of Wilson, who is a jazz professor at the University of Florida; and Music and Effects camp, where instructors compose an original musical score that students perform at the Garden Theatre as the movie is screened.
In addition to instruments, Garden Music offers lessons in voice and acting. Geared more toward film, aspiring actors are taughtthe nuances of interviewing, auditioning and practical experience in front of and behind the camera.
“We not only want to teach students how to play instruments, we want them to be able to benefit the community,” Farrington said. “We partner with local schools to help with their music programs.”
Garden Music School also is forging a relationship with HapCO Music Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on serving the needs of youth in arts education, especially students who may not have access to music programs.
Garden Music School is located in historic downtown Winter Garden at 40 S. Main St. Operating hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call 407-654-5277 or visit www.gardenmusicschool.com on the Web.
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