The Acton Beacon
March 29, 2007
Making music is fun at Music Maker School
The Music Maker School, located at 358 Great Road, Acton, is not your typical music education setting. Students who take classes here not only learn how to play their chosen instrument - be it piano, guitar, saxophone or other - they also learn how to set goals and rarely do they not reach them.
The school offers private lessons, customized ensembles, a summer ensemble workshop program, voluntary recitals, clinics and faculty performances.
The complete music education facility possesses college and conservatory trained instructors from the United States, Japan, Russia, Italy, Yugoslavia and Sweden offering instruction on piano, voice, violin, viola, guitar, bass, percussion, drums, flute, saxophone and clarinet.
Private lessons are offered in 30, 45 and 60-minute time frames.
"We have a unique school, says Jay Ford, Music Maker director. "We understand at any time how busy and over booked school children as well as adults can be. If one of our students didn’t have time to practice we don’t flip out. Our philosophy is even with all our busy schedules there is still plenty of space for musical enrichment using various concepts, techniques and disciplines. We approach every lesson individually to assure the best music education, enjoyment and fun throughout the entire process. If you’re playing an instrument and not having fun it doesn’t make any sense."
A new program launching this year will allow future musical stars to have the opportunity to experience five days of music at the Music Maker School Summer Ensemble Workshop Program. This one week intensive summer course, which will be offered three times over the summer, will give students the opportunity to work on rock, blues or jazz with the schools faculty. "It will inspire and motivate students as they work together and learn self discipline, goal setting and camaraderie," says Jay.
Customized Ensembles are currently being offered for all musical idioms. Musicians and students just need to tell the school what they are looking for and they will try to form the ensemble. All ensembles are led under the direction of a faculty member.
The school itself is in a beautifully restored 200-year-old house. It is decorated with beautiful pictures, wall hangings and instruments. The furniture and accommodations make you feel as if you have entered a relaxing living room. All the studios are windowed and contain the most professional equipment and learning tools.
"Our goal was to create a wonderful, bright and warm learning environment. We get continual compliments regarding our facility," adds Jay.
Every May the Music Maker School holds their annual recital at the Groton Dunstable Performing Arts Center. This is a gala event consisting of over 100 artists performing in a variety of musical combinations and styles. In addition to the afternoon of wonderful student performances, there is also a faculty perfor-mance.
There is even the opportunity for students to rent certain instruments if they don’t own one.
The faculty at the school hails from colleges known for outstanding musicians including New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. Their experience alone is enough to give your son or daughter the direction needed to shape their future.
"Remember, if you’re not having fun it doesn’t make any sense," adds Jay. "You’ll have fun with us at the Music Maker School!"
For more information and to meet the faculty go to www.musicmakerschool.com or call 978-263-4757.
The following is taken from:
The Acton Beacon
Music Maker School hits all the right notes
By David Brusie / Staff Writer for The Beacon
Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Musicians-turned-instructors find success at Great Road facility
Just a few steps inside the new Music Maker School, you're not sure if you're in a school or a good friend's living room. This, said owners Jay and Donna Ford last week, was their goal.
"If a parent is here waiting for a student that might be upstairs ... give them nice magazines and a warm breeze, they're happy as can be," said Donna.
The school, which opened in November and has quickly gained a strong following, is located in an old house on Great Road in Acton.
Jay, a professional guitarist and Berklee School of Music graduate, had spent the last 16 years as a teacher at another music school.
"It's always been my dream to open my own music school ... so we decided to step out and go for it," he said.
The Music Maker School has 11 teachers including Jay, for instruction on piano, saxophone, flute, clarinet, guitar, bass, French horn, trumpet, trombone, voice, and percussion. Lessons are taught in the building's upper level, while a comfortable waiting room and kitchen are located downstairs.
Though the school already looks lived in, Jay and Donna said that the move-in process, as well as the business's rise in popularity, has been a quick one.
"This came really fast. We decided to launch the program in August, and in September we searched for a venue for a school ... we drove by this building and thought, 'What a beautiful building this would be.' I knew I would run a better music school on my own with a building like this," said Jay.
The Music Maker School joins other music instruction facilities in Acton, and though Jay stressed he did not want to disrespect the competition, he said his school is different from these businesses in many ways.
"We've got great faculty ... At the end of the day, what's going to separate us from our competitors is the quality of education. The faculty itself makes it such a nice learning environment."
Jay added that although his school has a small retail section, his school is primarily a lesson-based environment.
"I think people find appealing the thought of an educational facility that is not tied to a retail operation. You know that our entire focus here is educating the students, and to make it fun for the students," he said.
Jay and Donna said their students number "in the triple digits," adding that the school has become very popular very quickly and most of that popularity has been due to word of mouth.
"Everybody calls and says, 'I drove by your sign' ... people drive by and call from their cell phones," said Donna.
Their students range in age from 6 to individuals in their sixties.
Tentative future plans for the school include master classes and workshops for more specific subject areas, and Jay noted that he plans to implement a summer camp in the next couple of years.
No matter what their plans are, the Fords assured that they are going to stay in the house on Great Road as long as they don't outgrow it. After all, since the operation has so far exceeded their hopes, there is no reason to rule out the possibility of the business growing even more.
"It's taking a little bit of time because we've only been here since November, but the goal is a great, awesome music facility, and I think we're doing pretty well so far," said Jay.