‘We don’t just teach music, we make musicians’

(ROCKWALL-May 5, 2013) When you walk into the Rockwall School of Music for the first time, you may be surprised at what you see. And hear. And don’t hear.

Meghan Stokes is instructed by Adam Eason.

The 3,000 sq. ft. facility comprises 12 teaching studios – each a distraction-free zone with soundproof walls and solid doors with windows. On any given week, more than 330 students pass through these doors for private or small group instruction in piano, guitar, drums, violin, viola, cello, bass or voice. Professional, degreed instructors share their passion and expertise in a supportive setting that welcomes beginning and experienced musicians alike.

Twelve soundproof studios provide a distraction-free learning environment.

“We are the only school of music in Rockwall County. We provide lessons in private studios where the education environment is paramount,” said Russ Porter, who taught at the school with his wife before they purchased it nearly nine years ago. “When parents stop in for a tour, they’re excited to learn that entire families come here, learning to play different instruments with different instructors, often at the same time. It’s all under one roof, and they really like the concept and convenience.”

Lauren Hutson strums guitar in the studio.

This year marks Rockwall School of Music’s 15th anniversary. While the school has grown significantly in size and scope, its instructors stay in tune with students’ individual needs. Even small group sessions are usually limited to three students. Currently there are 19 highly qualified and meticulously screened faculty members who teach Monday through Friday – ensuring students receive exemplary instruction in a safe and nurturing environment.

Jackson Thornton focuses on his drum lesson with Ben Croucher.

“Some of our instructors have been part of an instrumental group; others perform in MusicFest’s Greater Rockwall Philharmonic Orchestra. Our piano instructors often play at local churches on weekends,” said Porter. “They are more than degreed teachers. They are plugged into the community.”

Rockwall School of Music supplements the general music education children receive in school by focusing on specific areas kids want to pursue.

“If there’s a child who’s really passionate about voice, then that’s where private and small group lessons come in – to target the desires of these students,” Porter said. “We also provide opportunities within the homeschooling community by offering a choir and an orchestra. Music therapy classes are also offered for those with special needs. We try to expand our students’ horizons beyond just doing private or small group lessons; we see how they can be more integrated into the entire community of musicians that exists here in Rockwall – and literally around the world.”

Kati Edsall, a graduating senior at Rockwall High, has been enrolled at Rockwall School of Music three times – first for viola lessons, then twice for voice.

“As Kati’s schedule got busier, we tried taking lessons at school, but she felt like she needed something more. That’s why we ended up going back to Rockwall School of Music,” said Susan Edsall, Kati’s mom. “The instructors are encouraging; they want to see the kids succeed – and that support system reaches outside of lesson time.”

Kati has been accepted into Texas A&M Commerce where she’ll study music education. She plans to be a high school choir director.

Gideon Boley will pursue a music business production degreet at Belmont University in Nashville. He recently earned a scholarship from Lakeside Civic Chorus.

Gideon Boley, who studies guitar at Rockwall School of Music, will graduate from Rockwall-Heath and pursue a degree in music business production at Belmont University in Nashville, “probably the premier school for that degree,” said his mom, Bethany. “Rockwall School of Music is very professional. The teachers give the kids their best; they offer competitions and motivate the kids to work.”

Two-time Grammy Award winner Chuck Pangburn, composes music with a student.

Gideon currently takes guitar lessons from two-time Grammy Award winner Chuck Pangburn, who has been with Rockwall School of Music for nine years. “Chuck and all of the instructors really push you to want to learn,” Gideon said.

It’s not just high school seniors whose lives have been enriched through music. Music Sampler Classes offer elementary age students the chance to experience a half semester of piano, and a half semester of voice or guitar. “If they don’t know which direction they want to go, they can come see where their passions lie,” explained Porter. “For kindergarten and first graders, there’s a Music Exploration Class which includes piano, singing, moving to music, and music education activities.”

This summer, Rockwall School of Music is offering private lessons as well as several special interest programs that run June 10 through August 15. Among them, an Introductory Class for Beginner Guitar Students, Top 15 Rock Songs of All Times, Blues Class, Girl’s Guitar Band, and Rock Band 1 & 2 (guitar, bass and drums). Other summer offerings include Pre-College Music Theory, Percussion, Voice, Beginning Violin, Beginning Piano, Intermediate and Advanced String Ensemble, Songwriting, Kindermusik and Five Day Choir Camp.


To learn more, visit RockwallMusic.com, call 972-722-6874, or visit Rockwall School of Music at 749 Justin Road.

By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News, all rights reserved.

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