Cedar Park couple passionate about teaching

Michael and Amy Boyd started teaching music lessons out of their home in 2008, slowly gathering students until moving into a formal practice area last June. Sense and Color School of Music has since added six instructors and more than 100 students.

"I've been teaching guitar pretty much since the day I graduated from high school," Michael said. "My parents were both music teachers, so I kind of felt I had some shoes to fill. Over time I really grew to love working with kids. Sometimes I think I communicate with kids better than I do with adults."

About half of the students are children, while teens and adults make up the other half. Amy said she considers Sense and Color unique because of the close relationships the instructors build with each student.

"We started teaching in our own home, and it was a very personal relationship. So even though now we have our own space and aren't in a house, we still retain that closeness, and we know every student's name," she said. "Sometimes I've found myself almost in the role of a counselor a few times. And you have to take yourself out of the lesson and assess, 'What does this kid need right now?'"

Younger students typically take half-hour lessons each week, although hour-long sessions are available. Michael said his students typically start playing songs they know before moving onto music scales and chords.

"Based on what they're able to do, we will be playing their favorite songs within two weeks. It might be the easy version, but they're going to learn how to play it and learn how to count [rhythm]," he said. "One of the most important things is they've got to want to be there. You've got to be connecting with the student on a level even beyond music, making sure they want to come back."

Students Grayson Gower and Luke Boatman call Michael an encyclopedia—a reference to their teacher's extensive music knowledge. When learning new songs, Grayson said he feels encouraged by his instructor.

"He plays slowly so I can see the notes," Grayson said. "He understands if a song is too hard, and we can joke around with him."

Among the eight instructors, Sense and Color offers lessons Monday through Saturday. Michael said eventually he would like to create a place for young people to experience live music.

"It boggles my mind sometimes that these kids don't know what's going on 20 miles up the road in Austin, the 'Live Music Capital of the World,'" Michael said. "One of my dreams is to expand into a non-alcoholic, under-21 venue where we can put on our own shows and expand the teaching there as well during the day. If we keep growing, eventually we'd like to be running a club for kids."

Lessons and other offerings

Sense and Color offers lessons in guitar, bass guitar, voice, drums, ukelele, mandolin, piano, violin and viola.

All eight instructors are professional, performing musicians, many with their own bands.

Sense and Color also offers other performance-related services such as event lighting, concert photography and ceremony music performed by Michael and Amy Boyd.

300 Brushy Creek Road, Ste. 202, Cedar Park 512-771-4869, www.senseandcolor.com