WEST OCEAN CITY — Lori Thompson and Gina Servant didn’t decide to open Around Sound Music blindly. As it turns out, the recently opened lesson-based music studio is almost four years late in opening.
The couple decided to open their studio in 2007 but life had other plans. The upside was that the delay worked in their favor, allowing them to do the kind of extended research that allowed them to score what every band parent will admit is a major coup.
In addition to finding the best instructors available for the private lessons they offer, Servant and Thompson struck a deal with Menchey Music Service to be the local representative for band instrument rental and repair.
Any parent who has been even tangentially involved in any kind of school band programs knows that instrument rental and repair can be can be a problem.
Until this year, all rental and repair of band instruments had to be done through one of the Salisbury-area music stores. Although the schools have been able to facilitate some of it, if something went wrong with an instrument, the parent had to make the trip to Salisbury.
Former and self-pronounced band geeks Thompson and Servant have decades of experience with maintaining and repairing any instrument one might find in a school band. Moreover, for the problems they can’t fix, they have a deal with Menchey that allows them to provide a loaner for any rental during the repair process.
Menchey has been in the business for 75 years and understands that the only thing worse than having to send a child’s instrument out for repair is having to make do with an inferior loaner or worse, no loaner at all.
Kids who become involved in the school band tend to go all in before long and having a reliable instrument for performance and practice is something that becomes more critical to them each year they play.
It is this understanding between a child’s relationship to music that informs everything they do at Around Sound Music.
There is a radical difference between the raw talent to play and the cultivated talent to inspire others to play. Music is a commitment and each of the instructors is paired particularly with each of the students to ensure a quality relationship as well as a quality musical education.
“We know it’s important the right teacher gets the right student,” Thompson said. “We’ve been interviewing instructors since April.”
To that end, Thompson and Servant have committed to founding a scholarship fund that will allow students of promise but without the financial means to participate in music education. Among some of their early ideas are to run regular free lesson events where kids are encouraged to come in and spend some time exploring the percussion instruments.
For students who take lessons regularly, they also hope to offer a jam band class wherein students who have been identified by their instructors as ready for the next step will be matched with others of the same skill level for a weekly jam session.
Playing a piece of music by oneself is much easier than integrating that play into a band situation. By participating in this kind of program, students can learn the teamwork involved in ensemble work role each instrument must play.
Although the shop has technically been open three weeks, the student experience is already a positive one, according to Thompson.
An out-of-town student came in for a month’s worth of voice lessons while she was vacationing with her parents in Ocean City. As the vacation and, by extension, the lessons come to an end, the student has already re-upped for next summer, happy to know there is a place she can continue her studies.