New school fills void left by Music Pro in Barrie
Nate Douglas, Rob Drake and Kene Hyatt, all professional musicians, have joined forces and opened a new music school, offering lessons to local students. They opened Barrie Music School last month after Music Pro’s education centre closed. JESSICA ROSATI/PHOTO
When one door closes, the creatively inclined open another.
That’s what happened when three music teachers found themself out of a job with the closure of Music Pro’s education centre at Cedar Pointe.
Nate Douglas, Rob Drake and Kene Hyatt found some space in the south end — on King Street at Mapleview and Veterans — and opened Barrie Music School last month.
“Luckily, most of the students followed us,” said Nate Douglas, adding that they were able to open with a good amount of clients right away. “(That) was huge. It’s really hard to build (that) up.”
Douglas had been teaching guitar at Music Pro for the past two years and prior to that worked at R&B School of Music, which was owned by Rob Drake, who had to close the school when the building was listed for sale.
Both moved over to the Music Pro school where they met Kene Hyatt, who had been teaching there since the school opened.
All three are professional musicians who also have their own projects.
Douglas, who released his first album, Take Me With You, earlier this year, performs regularly around Barrie area with his own band. He also freelances with a variety of musicians from Natalie McMaster to The Fitzgeralds, StepCrew. He performed here recently with Next Generation Leahy and continues to join the Leahy family whenever they tour and teaches guitar lessons to one of the boys.
Hyatt’s main instruments are bass guitar, cello and drums. He is a session and freelance musician with bluegrass bands.
Drake teaches drums, is a member of the local band Zeus, is a session musician and plays with Douglas’s band.
All three musicians also have kids. Drake and Douglas are expecting their first child within the year.
They brought three other music teachers into the mix and can offer a wide variety of lessons from guitar, bass, drums, piano and violin. Most teach music by ear and most is popular music. That is their focus, although they are qualified to provide music reading skills or lessons in classical repertoire if requested.
“What’s important to me for this school is our teachers are also professional musicians, perform regularly and have some real useful experience,” said Douglas, who has really embraced teaching. “I remember the feeling learning guitar and getting so obsessed with it. I like seeing other people when something clicks and they’re really into it and how much music can affect us positively.
“I like working with kids and, honestly, I think you get better at your own instrument,” he added.
The school expects to feature the students in concerts at Sticky Fingers two or three times a year, complete with lights and PA system. They will be playing in bands with their fellow students. The first one takes place on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.
“You can’t teach that; they have to just do it and experience playing with another person,” Douglas added. “It’s just so cool to watch how excited they get, all of a sudden, that it’s important to practise.”
The other key member of the team is Patty Rosati, who serves as receptionist, manages the schedule and is the contact person for the school.
Visit www.barriemusicschool.com or call 705-726-5051 for more information.