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Photos by Erica Techo.
Instructor Wes Chambers teaches Tanner Hutson about enharmonic notes on the piano.
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Instructor Michael Shackleford teaches student Alia Bush a few tricks during her guitar lesson.
Birmingham musicians Will and Sarah Mason started giving private music lessons in 2007 and soon built their passion — teaching students to play instruments in a safe, fun, nurturing atmosphere — into a thriving brick-and-mortar business.
They opened the first location of Mason Music in Cahaba Heights in 2012, a second studio in Mountain Brook Village in 2013 and a third location — serving Hoover and Bluff Park — in 2015
And in January, Mason Music opened a new studio in Greystone, to be managed by Ashley Windsor.
“Greystone seemed like a natural fit for us to be able to serve the folks who live down U.S. 280,” said Nicole Patton, Mason Music marketing director.
With 11 classrooms, the Greystone location is the largest of the Mason Music facilities, and it has at least one distinctive feature, according to Patton.
“The drum room floor in this studio is made out of real vinyl records, which is super-cool and sure to inspire the students who walk in the room,” she said.
But the Greystone Studio offers the same popular lessons — in drums, guitar, piano, voice and violin — as the other facilities, Patton said.
And if trends hold, many of the students at Greystone will gravitate to some of the same instruments, she said.
“Though the popularity of an instrument tends to vary based on cultural trends, we typically find that most of our students are interested in either piano or guitar,” Patton said.
In addition to lessons, Mason Music offers music camps, after-school programs, a booking agency, a recording studio and other services.
But music lessons remain the heart of the business.
“Teaching, itself, is rewarding because you get to see firsthand when your students are growing and absorbing what you’re dishing out to them,” Patton said. “Add in the fact that we focus on music, which is an extremely meaningful form of art and self-expression, and you have something very special. To know that we play a part in passing that tradition along to the next generation is truly fulfilling.”
The students at Mason Music range widely in age and ability, but there is a core demographic, according to Patton.
“We do cater to school-age children, especially elementary and middle schoolers,” she said.
Music lessons have benefits that go beyond simply playing an instrument better, according to Patton.
“There are a ton of studies out there that connect music to enhancing math, reading and other cognitive abilities, not to mention teaching life skills like communication, respect, patience, concentration, hard work and teamwork.”
Mason Music will open registration for their spring break and summer camps Feb. 1.
There will be a Spring Break Beginner Camp (ages 6-9) March 27-31, a Singing Safari Preschool Camp (ages 3-5) July 24-28 and the Mason Music Beginner Camp (ages 6-9) July 31-Aug. 4, according to Patton.
For information or to register, go to masonmusicstudios.com.