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Jul 19, 2013

Bach to Rock Brings New Look to Music Instruction


Motivation to start a business comes in different forms, and husband-and-wife Dave Leonard and Ellen Good’s decision to open Bach to Rock music school in Wayne was sparked by a loved one.

“I was inspired by my granddaughter taking lessons, and thought about kids getting into music at an early age, and we knew with schools that it was getting harder and harder for kids to have a real music program these days,” Leonard said. “Then we started talking to some folks about the idea, and we really liked the Bach to Rock concept.”

Bach to Rock opened this week in the Devon Square Shopping Center at 222 Sugartown Road. On Saturday, it will celebrate with an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Leonard and Good live in Kennett Square, and spent a good amount of time assessing potential locations.

“We wanted to be close to neighborhoods with young families that are a key part of Bach to Rock’s business, and then you also have to find places that are available,” Leonard said. “This particular development is brand-new and we knew the Wayne area had young families and exactly the kinds of kids that were going to its D.C.-area schools.”

The Wayne location is Bach to Rock’s first in Pennsylvania and eighth overall, with others in New York, Maryland and Virginia. Its program is much more than just lessons. The school combines performance training with a curriculum built on music theory, ear training, technique and repertoire. Students learn to read and write music, and in coupling individual instruction with band work, they can showcase their new found abilities through a variety of events. The school also features its own recording studio.

Good said there is significant difference when it comes to Bach to Rock’s curriculum, compared to most music instruction.

“First of all, that there is one,” Good said. “A lot of teachers that do it on their own really don’t have a curriculum and just kind of make it up on the fly. The other thing is that it’s very comprehensive.”

Leonard and Good had a lengthy process for selecting their 10 part-time teachers, many who are from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and a couple from West Chester University. After meeting candidates at career fairs in the spring, they held performance auditions and personal interviews before bringing them together for a band performance and children’s workshop at the Devon Horse Show.

“I think we really found the ones who were the best fit, because they had an interest in kids and were also good musicians,” Leonard said.

Leonard said the new teachers were impressed when they saw the depth of Bach to Rock’s program.

“I think they were very excited and a little surprised, that somebody had invested the effort, money and time to develop this for all the different levels of instruction,” he said.

While students start off with individual lessons, bringing them together is a big part of the program.

“We do encourage after six months or so to get into a group performance area,” Leonard said. “The reason for that is that a lot of the time, you’re practicing by yourself for yourself, and if you get the kids playing with other kids, they have a lot more fun. Kids progress much better and they stick with it longer if they are part of a group.”

Read the article on Daily Local.