Austin School of Music began as one person teaching guitar lessons at the original Strait Music Co. in downtown Austin in the 1990s, but it is now an actual school with private lesson rooms and teachers at two locations.
Austin School of Music President David Sebree plays guitar in the school’s recording studio.[/caption]
President David Sebree, a guitarist who has played with The Temptations and other Motown Records artists, said the Ben White Boulevard location is the largest of the two schools, with 6,000 square feet of space for a recording studio, rehearsal room, 20 soundproof private teaching rooms and offices.
Sebree said he first started the school behind a Strait Music Co. store because teaching was a passion of his, and he was friends with store owner Robert Strait. Sebree outgrew that location, opened a North Austin Location on US 183 near SH 45 in 1998, then opened the South Austin location in 2001 while expanding the North Austin space.
Instead of hiring traditional teachers, Sebree sought actual musicians to teach at Austin School of Music, he said.
Teachers give lessons to one student at a time in private rooms at Austin School of Music.[/caption]
“If you come here and get lessons, your teacher is going to be colorful, whether it’s a violin or electric guitar,” Sebree said.
Though Austin School of Music is always next to a Strait Music Co. location, the two corporations are separate, but the businesses feed on each other, Sebree said. The school teaches, and the store sells and rents instruments to students.
At its peak in 2006, Austin School of Music was teaching 2,000 students per week, but that number has dwindled since teens began losing interest in playing instruments, Sebree said.
“When I grew up, The Beatles were a big thing, and then music exploded through the decades, with classic rock, punk, disco,” Sebree said. “People wanted to play, but by 2010, kids just didn’t want to play music anymore.”
Sebree added that younger musicians have shifted to digital media and now create content on computers instead of with instruments.
To adapt to the times, the school offers analog and digital recording technology classes and occasionally teaches music theory and jazz improvisation, Sebree said.
The school also offers private one-on-one lessons for people of all ages and a rock camp in the summer for children in which students perform at Antone’s at the end of the camp.
Austin School of Music
2428-B W. Ben White Blvd., Austin, 512-476-7666, www.austinschoolofmusic.com
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Fri.-Sun.