As is often the response to the question, “How did you wind up in Lewisburg?” the answer is time and again, “True love and beyond…” Just over three years ago, Rachel Warner moved to Lewisburg to be with her sweetie, settled in, and was soon offering piano lessons from her home. As she interacted with more and more students, she began to see more of a need within the community for a central location that served students of all ages, with a broader magnitude of instrumental instruction offered.
After networking and brainstorming with three other teaching musicians (Amy, Langhorne, and Jim), combined with Rachel’s background in business, the idea for a school was generated. And so it began, in a tiny space (where they were optimistically hoping to enroll 50 students, and eventually wound up with, at times, three times that!). The location soon seemed to be too small, especially with the addition of some toddler and other young children’s group classes. They were actually even using a closet as a tiny studio room, and it was clear that they needed to find a better space more suitable to their rapidly growing needs. The present location was secured (174 North Lafayette Street, just up the street from the Asylum), and an additional studio was opened in Covington, Virginia (310 Main Street). More teachers were brought in, myself included, plus a wonderful office manager to make everyone’s life easier. I teach piano, voice, and some accordion, and I love my job. We presently have about 15 wonderfully diverse teachers, actively inspiring and instructing quite an assemblage of students, all ages, from tiny toddlers to sassy seniors, pretty much newborns to centenarians, and everyone in between.
Warner Music School offers instruction in all of these instruments, and more: ukulele, piano, voice, all woodwinds and brass instruments, guitar, bass, drums, accordion, violin, and whatever else someone may inquire about. If there is an interest, we actively seek strong teachers who are proficient in that area. Some days, it’s a delightful cacophony! We try our best to match the student with the teacher who will most benefit and encourage their progress. We all have our strengths and different styles, but we work together like a family, with much respect and support for each other’s strategies, talents, and personalities.
We offer group children’s classes, from Music Fun Time (fun with rhythm instruments, but also with the gradual mastery of written notes, pitch, time signatures, mostly taught through interactive games, singing, and movement participation), Simon Songs, and a new art-based curriculum class called KICK (Keys to Inspire Creative Kids), which regularly invites guest musicians in to entertain and educate the students, allowing them to experiment with instruments they might not have been exposed to, such as upright bass, flute, banjo or cello, while also implementing open-ended artistic projects to encourage individuality.
We have rewards programs for the students, family rates for siblings who take lessons, family dinners that enjoyably connect the students’ families with the teachers who have become part of their weekly musical lives, and we proudly present free recitals twice a year. We participate in community events, such as the Chocolate Festival and Covington’s Halloween Street Fair, to name a couple. And we were recently honored to receive the Award for New Business of the Year from the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about instruction, rates, locations, availability, instructors, instruments, and more, call Tonya Cook or Rachel Warner at 304-645-3353. You are welcome to stop in, take a look around, and speak with our staff. Again, we are conveniently located on N. Lafayette in Lewisburg, and on Main Street in Covington.
There is an atmosphere of a certain joy of music, a joie de la musique, at Warner Music School, which is evident as soon as you enter the lobby and meet us. (Lovely rehearsal rooms, comfortable lobby, video monitoring in every practice room, good lighting, and friendly reception.) But there is also a professional attitude to instill an operative discipline of technique, theory, and performance strategies.
We have fun, but we also have high standards when it comes to nurturing those who seek to learn and improve, to take a lifelong skill with them, and often to provide a therapeutic and welcome diversion. I have to say, the students love us, and vice versa. We all enrich each other. So it all starts and ends with true love (musically and otherwise) and beyond… La, la, la… la la…
– Susanna Robinson. HashtagWV #117. September 2019.