At Music On The Westside, music lessons aren’t stressful and don’t require students to overwork themselves to learn the art.
“The intention is to learn enough to play for enjoyment quickly rather take the traditional classical approach,” founder and director Jennifer Brewer said.
Brewer started Music on the Westside because she was tired of looking for a fun, safe, educational music-related activity for her own children.
“I wanted something that was a mixture of fun and classical training that didn’t bore my kids,” she said.
So, she started classes in her home and eventually gained enough students to open a business in Rio Rancho.
Now, she and several teachers offer programs for kids and adults to learn music that they want to play.
“A lot of people go for the typical classical lessons like piano or violin, but we tend to get away from that,” Brewer said.
According to Brewer, kids ages 4-6 can join a small rock band and learn to play keyboard, drums, electric guitar and to sing.
“It can be difficult to keep that age group focused, but the rock band gives them a chance to try everything and find their niche,” she said.
While the music studio tends to focus on kids, it also offers programs for adults like Sip and Strum.
An activity similar to Paint Nite, Sip and Strum allows adults to kick back with a drink and learn an instrument.
At this time, Sip and Strum or private lessons are all that is available for adults.
All students have the chance to play in a venue.
Brew Lab 101 became a location where students can play and get the full experience of playing in front of an audience. However, if students are prone to stage fright, it is not a requirement.
“Most of the students get a boost of confidence from playing, but for those terrified of audiences we offer the band so they don’t feel all of the spotlight on them,” Brewer said.
While the main message is to have fun, some of Brewer’s students have gone on to pursue music as a career.
“We had one girl from our studio teach a summer class that combined creative writing and music to a group of kids. She is pursuing a degree in music now,” she said.
Brewer’s studio has been in Rio Rancho for years now, but she lost some of her customer base during COVID when Music on the Westside was mainly on Zoom calls for classes.
She hopes to gain more customers now and find more venues to play in. She also wants to find more kid-based charity chapters to partner with.