By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Jack’s Guitar Garage
Address: 243 West Main St., Northborough
198 Worcester St., North Grafton
Owner: Jack Shanahan
Contact information: Northborough 508-393-7200
North Grafton 774-293- 5115
How long has Jack’s Guitar Garage been in business?
“The original shop has been up and running since 2009,” said Jack Shanahan, owner of Jack’s Guitar Garage. “The new North Grafton location opened at the end of last year. Since we had students coming from the North Grafton area and were very busy, we thought we would thin out the Northborough place and give some of the parents a shorter drive. We were able to switch a number of students to the new shop and make time slots available for additional students in Northborough.”
Do you have the same programs at both locations?
“We have the same lessons at both, but there are some different programs at North Grafton. We have a full recording studio there, so we’ve been doing a songwriter’s forum, and down the road we will be teaching recording classes.”
What lessons do you offer?
“We teach guitar, piano, bass, drums and voice. We’ve added a music theory workshop and songwriting forum. We have a Tuesday night jam where students can come by, learn songs and play in a band.
“We have a young beginners’ group guitar program, basically kids 8 to 12. A group is a little less intense learning environment at the younger age. Sometimes we have semi-private lessons, but most are private lessons, primarily after school and Saturdays.”
What ages do you take?
“Usually we start around 5, mostly piano because, developmentally, piano makes more sense for younger kids. We start guitar students between 7 and 8. Anyone above 8 we take in any of the other instruments or voice.
“We’ll be starting an infant-toddler program at the end of the year. Our parents have kids of all ages and are looking for opportunities to get their kids involved in music
“We also have a lot of adult students. Adults always say they wish they could play some guitar. It’s never too late. I have a 73-year-old student, and an 80-year-old who just started piano who loves it. You have to do music for yourself.”
You and the other teachers are professional musicians?
“I’ve been teaching over 25 years, and I’ve been performing since high school. I play a variety of instruments and perform with a couple of bands. This year, two of my former students joined the business full-time. They’ve gone to college for music and have taken a big role in the development of our curriculum.
“We have about 10 instructors. All are professional musicians, gigging and doing it for a living. The majority have been with us almost since the beginning. That gives a really solid foundation for students who have been taking music here a long time. The teachers are a community, and we can talk about the best ways to work with a student.”
What is your approach to teaching music?
“We make sure we teach the language of music, how to read, write and play music. Once you can speak the musical language, you can apply it to different types of music or try a different instrument. We do teach kids rock songs or their favorite songs.
“We’re starting to use different media. Students may download an app that will help them learn various aspects of music.”