In June 2018 the store doubled in size, adding studio lesson space at 411 13th Street, which has enabled more significant growth. That growth included 100 new students, 7 more instructors, additional instrument instruction, and space in the original store for a builder corner and lab where visitors can make their own fun folk instruments.
The expansion was a collaborative effort. Deanna Wolfgong, their first instructor, was completing her master’s degree in music therapy and needed office space to begin her practice. She continues to teach piano, guitar, ukulele and voice for Porch Music Store and now sees her dream becoming reality as a music therapist with her own private practice space within their studios.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Bennett became the lesson coordinator. She facilitated development of an online portal linked to their website, allowing new student sign-up, lesson tracking, and communications between staff, instructors and families.
She has also been instrumental in recruiting qualified instructors. As a result, they now offer instruction in piano, guitar, bass, voice, ukulele, drum, trumpet, clarinet, sax, tuba, beginner flute and beginner harmonica.
The collective of talented, experienced instructors inspires creative fun. Elizabeth Williams, who is also a piano tech, loves sharing music theory and hosts a “Theory Thursday” lesson each week on their Facebook page. Elizabeth, Ashleigh, and Deanna started a Mommy & Me class last year and a new class will be starting in February.
Mike Showers and Ryan Advent, drum instructors, are working with Randy Devlin (trumpet, tuba, bass, guitar) to create a new band room. That area is slightly larger than the current lesson rooms and will allow for small groups to jam together.
The growth of the builder corner and lab is also exciting. They’ve had fun hosting small groups to learn about handmade instruments and build their own canjo or cajon. They keep kits and tools ready for inhouse builds, or can go on site. This year they are planning to introduce new fun instruments for makers of all ages.
It has indeed felt like magic. It’s the magic that results from community. Their students, parents, customers, instructors and fellow businesses have provided support, encouragement, and advice. This story is a shared story. When we discover and enable fun collaborations, we can grow something in magical ways. Visit the Porch Music Store for a tour and share the magic.
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s January 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.