One of the great things about having a personal blog is that you can, of course, write about whatever you want! I get to feature my friends and family and promote their endeavors, in addition to other dreamers and bloggers that I love!
My father-in-law, Wayne, just opened his own business in Mishawaka, Indiana – Wayne’s Keyboard Studio. It’s just minutes from the campus of the University of Notre Dame. He has been selling organs and teaching classes to seniors for years and now is expanding to teach keyboard and piano lessons to kids and families! I wish we lived closer, because I would love our girls to be able to get regular instructions from their grandpa!
Wayne and his youngest granddaughter playing side-by-side!
My father-in-law’s big emphasis, that sets him apart from other traditional instructors, is that he really focuses on making music fun! He wants people to be able to play the kind of music and songs that they want to learn! I’m sure this attitude helps to keep kids, especially, motivated when it comes to music lessons!
I asked Wayne a few questions about starting his own business, and thankfully, he had some time to answer them for me! Here’s some more about the man behind Wayne’s Keyboard Studio!
1. Music has been a big party of your life for a long time. What first sparked your interest?
My interest in music I guess began when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My folks brought home a small keyboard instrument called a Pianorgan. It was electronic and produced a sound similar to an accordion produced by air blowing through reeds. It had about 37 keys, (a piano has 88), but it was enough to play some melodies and just fool around with. Of all of us boys, I was the one that spent the most time playing on it.
I guess my parents felt I might have some potential so they asked me if I’d like to take some lessons. I started taking lessons and eventually my folks bought a used piano so I could advance to more complex music than I could do on the Pianorgan. After about 3 years, and a couple of different piano teachers they realized that I was not reading the music as much as I was playing it by ear. I really didn’t like a lot of the songs in the lesson book so when I practiced I played around with music I had heard on the radio. When I went for my lesson I would struggle to play the song until I asked my teacher to play it for me. Once she played it, then I could play it.
2. What is one of your fondest memories of playing music?
One of my fondest memories of playing music was with my first piano teacher. I was composing little musical pieces at that time and she would write them out for me in a little music book. I had several songs in it by the time she married and moved away, and I moved on to another teacher. I don’t know what happened to that little book of music but that meant a lot to me that she would take the time to write that music out for me.
Wayne with wife Laurie (Adam’s parents)
3. What does Wayne’s Keyboard Studio currently offer? And what plans do you have for the store in the near future?
Wayne’s Keyboard Studio currently offers classes for Adults & Children who want to learn to play music more for fun, rather than the more traditional approach that a more serious student might take. We encourage families to enroll together in the classes, and up to 3 family members can take the classes for the same low price of $12.50 per class. Husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy the hobby of making music. Children 8 and 9 years old can take the classes when enrolled with an adult family member. For those ten and over there is the Kids Keyboard Classes where up to five students can learn the basics together, then choose the songs they want to play. Private lessons are available for those who want to progress a littler faster, and have the time to put into a more in-depth study of left hand chords.
The plans for the future will involve building a performance stage with sound and lights to provide an entertainment venue for professional Lowrey artists when they visit and to allow students an eventual opportunity to perform once they’ve reached a certain level of accomplishment. And, if they like to sing we could incorporate that, also.
4. What is the best part of owning your own business? The most difficult?
The best part of owning my own business is that I can establish the priorities for everything from recruiting new students, to expanding the programs that will maximize my efforts, to choosing the right inventory for the current and future student base.
The most difficult part is developing the necessary systems to streamline the record-keeping aspect of the business.
5. Do you have a favorite movie, quote, or book that inspires and motivates you to dream?
I don’t know necessarily that there is any one movie, quote, or book that inspires and motivates me to dream. It’s more the influence of my dad, who even though he had a rough childhood and never attained everything he wanted to do, always kept on trying different things. Even though during the day he worked as a welder for different companies, he always had some side business that he dabbled in to bring in extra money. From raising strawberries and raspberries, which he sold to the local grocery stores, to raising irises, a common flower, he had something going on. Even in his retirement he raised red worms and sold them to bait stores. That has inspired me and motivated me more than anything else in my life to want to find something that people need, that I enjoy doing, and that I can make a decent living at.
Thanks, again, to my father-in-law for taking some time to share more about music and his new business!
If you live in the South Bend area, be sure to check out Wayne’s Keyboard Studio!