Before becoming the owner of Hitmaker Music School, Mike Irene worked in music production for eight years in New York City, and moved to Leander to start teaching and performing.
Irene graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1993 and opened the music school in 2013.
“The idea that we could take part in fostering development of a future artist [and] musician is the motive for our service,” Irene said.
Irene and six musicians and teachers offer lessons in a variety of music styles, including classical and contemporary, and students can perform in regularly hosted recitals, Irene said.
Hitmaker students also perform at public events, such as festivals, fundraisers and expositions.
Yvonne Carreon’s daughter Sydney has been taking vocal and piano lessons with Irene for about five years. Yvonne said Irene helped Sydney with her confidence, self-esteem and stage presence.
“Mike Irene is an amazing instructor,” Carreon said. “He listens to Sydney and finds ways to keep her engaged.”
The school’s music students range in age from 6 to 65 and come to Hitmaker for different reasons.
“The majority of them are just having fun,” Irene said. “We want it to be a fun experience for them. But we also want it to be a process to be productive and get them the chance to reach a goal.”
Joshua Rogalski is taking piano and voice lessons at Hitmaker and ended up auditioning for an advanced music class at his school, said his mother, Beth.
“Mike is very talented. And the school just feels like family,” she said.
Music lessons offered
Music under the oak tree
The school’s recitals are open to the public. The next recital is scheduled for April 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $2. Students perform on the Red Oak Stage in the school’s backyard. Guests can bring lawn chairs or blankets.