Musicmakers offer instruction, recording

Red Silo Studios' approach to teaching music is a bit different than most. The studio, which offers professional recording, music lessons, guitar repair and internships, incorporates all aspects of performing into its instruction.

"No one ever taught us how to deal with being in front of people, how to be professional and how to deal with the nerves," General Manager Matt Graves said. "We try to incorporate that here."

In May, Red Silo Studios—formerly Island Music—will open its doors in its new location on Austin Avenue.

"As far as the instruction goes it's built to help you get to where you can put on a live performance," owner Aaron Kemkaran said. "That's what drove both of us."

Kemkaran has owned and operated his own studio in Georgetown for more than eight years and first met Graves when Graves was 17 and was recording at one of his previous locations.

"This little guy with moppy hair had these big songs coming out of him the songs were great," Kemkaran said.

Two years later, the duo's paths crossed again while Graves was working at the Holiday Inn Express in Pflugerville. Kemkaran introduced Graves to the idea of music instruction and gave him three students to begin building his roster.

"After about a month, I got enough students to supplement my income with just music lessons, and we've been rolling ever since then," Graves said.

As a live performer, Graves also fit the instructor requirement at the studio, which has three instructors on staff.

"Anytime we hire an instructor [we want them] to be a live performer," Kemkaran said. "That has to be part of the skill set."

The studio offers instruction for most instruments, he said.

"What we like to say is all instruments, plus performance. That way if someone is wondering about accordion, they won't hesitate to call, and we'll make sure they get lined up with somebody," Kemkaran said.

Along with professional recording and lessons, Graves has also reached out to Southwestern University theater professor John Ore to offer internships to eight of the college's audio engineering students.

"They'll simultaneously learn audio engineering and prorecording," Graves said. "But I really want to teach them how to make money off of what they're learning about. I want them to be entrepreneurs."

Kemkaran and Graves both said the most rewarding aspect of their work, along with giving students experience in a working studio, is the relationships built and continued with the students long after their lessons.

"I started teaching when I was about 21, so I've had a chance to see this generational thing happen," Kemkaran said. "Little awkward kids just want to play like their favorite band, and now they're attending college with bands of their own. They'll invite us out to shows, and it's super cool."

Red Silo Studios, 203 S. Austin Ave., 635-2228,