Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach
I couldn’t think of anything more true. This week’s local business spotlight brought me to the Gwinnett School of Music, a music school housed in a beautiful victorian style home set right in the heart of Grayson. The house is stunning, by anyone’s standards, but it was was what going on behind those walls that was really special – and there was nothing dusty about it. I got to talk for a bit with the owner, Kelly Bowlin, and learn a little bit about the school itself and what makes Gwinnett School of Music such a treasure to the community.
What Makes The Grayson Location Special
The Grayson location is housed in an original victorian style farmhouse that dates back between 1800s-1910. Lots of character and well preserved with the stain glass, wraparound porch, widows peak you would expect from such a grand old home. I stopped by and had to overcome the overwhelming urge to ask for a glass of sweet tea and just enjoy my surroundings on that gorgeous porch. If you haven’t dropped by there yet, you should. Now works.
And as if that wasn’t enough, in the back there is an old barn. Cue small-town nostalgia. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Kelly explained to me that they’re about to restore it and build it out.
The newly renovated barn will be the new home of the Gwinnett School of Dance, currently located at Cooper Rd. and Highway 78. Furthermore, the structure will be designed as an events hall able to accommodate up to 200 people or more. The timing is great, especially since it will be near where the new amphitheater will be built in Grayson.
I don’t know about you, but I would not be sad to see my kids high school prom being held in a small-town old restored barn in my new hometown. Everything about that sounds awesome. The only issue I see here is that I would want to go too, but thats a totally different story for a completely different day.
The School Of Rock
One of the super-cool offerings the Gwinnett School of Music offers is the School of Rock. They made it cool way before Jack Black did – about 20yrs ago – and I don’t know what kid wouldn’t cop to having an immediate “thats awesome” reaction. I’m a grown adult and I suddenly wanted to join a band.
The School of Rock focuses on teaching the students a piece of music that needs other instruments to really complete the experience. Maybe you can play the guitar, but can you do it with everyone playing along with you? Drums, bass, and the guitar are the stars of this program.
..as if that wasn’t cool enough, this program puts the kids into bands, practicing for an hour each week for 10 weeks. At the end of the 10weeks each band performs full 20min set that gets recorded professionally. They also have a concert at the Hard Rock Cafe quarterly. Go ahead, try and tell me that isn’t just flat out awesome. Your inner rock-star is pumped.
I already mentioned the school partners with the Hard Rock Cafe (school of rock), but it doesn’t end there. They host open mikes around town every 6 weeks. The school has it’s own federated music festival where students can earn certificates, trophies and scholarships. Also, the school has two recitals each year at their Duluth location, The Red Clay Music Foundry, featuring a beautiful 260 seat theatre with a professional sound system. Finally, they sing and play all over Gwinnett County at festivals like, Grayson Days, Barefoot in the Park, Duluth’s Fall Festival and more. Kelly explained it best –
“we need to put opportunities out there outside of the private lessons – if not, its like practicing football but never playing the game”.
The Gwinnett School of Music also has locations in Lilburn Swanee, Duluth and Lawrenceville – each has its own special story and background.
One of the more recent, The Red Clay Music Foundry, is affiliated with Eddie Owen of Eddies Attic. Upstairs Eddie hosts a concert series, but downstairs is home to the Gwinnett School of Music’s fourth location where the school has not only private lessons, but also workshops and master classes from performers from Eddie Owen’s concert series.
You can click [here] to read more about what the Gwinnett School of Music has to offer and learn more about their locations. Be sure to check out thier site as they talk more about what they offer, how to get started and other great information. You can also like them on Facebook [here].
You’ll notice we didn’t talk about the amazing teachers that make the magic happen… and that was intentional. Stay tuned as part II of this story features Miss Kim, who tells us what makes teaching music so great. Miss Kim teaches at both the Grayson and Lilburn location – we’ll hear some of her story later this week.
Updated! You can now click [here] to read part II of this story – Local Music Teacher and Musician: Miss Kim on Music, Her Students, and What It All Means To Her