Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

“We really appreciate the help and guidance of the SBDC. They shared their experience, energy and kindness with us when we needed it most – as novice business owners. Thanks for all you do for our Napa Valley community.” 

Peter and Victoria Sykes

The Napa School of Music is a private music school owned by Peter & Victoria Sykes, which opened in 2005. All styles of music are taught, including classical, rock, jazz, flamenco, pop and metal.  Instruction is offered on accordion, bass, cello, clarinet, drums, flute, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, piano, saxophone, steel guitar, trombone, tuba, ukulele, upright bass, viola, violin, and voice. Music programs include: Garage Band 101 for kids and adults, Rhythm, Melody & Harmony: a music foundation class for K-2 and Songwriting 101.

Challenges included the steep learning curve for running a business: learning about tax laws, employment laws, accounting and bookkeeping, payroll, employee relations, and marketing.

Peter and Victoria found excellent mentors and trainers for each area of running a business. Receiving guidance from experts in their fields was the most important steps they took. They had the Customer Service and Musical Instruction areas well in hand, but the rest was new. Experienced mentors are vital.

Now in its 9th year of operation, the school has provided thousands of lessons to families in the Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. The school has conducted over 40 Garage Band 101 sessions, and it is the North Bay’s fastest growing private music school with more than 400 students taking lessons every week from 18 highly qualified teachers. They offer private lessons on individual instruments including voice and several themed classes. About 20% of their students are adults. They are experts in teaching music and helping adults feel comfortable in a learning environment. And they make sure it is FUN. 

Instructors are musicians with years of teaching and performing experience. Most have a BA in music or in some cases an MA or a Ph.D. Many teachers are qualified to teach a number of instruments, theory and performance skills.

The school has 2 recitals per year, attended by the family and friends. The 30-minute private lessons are $167 per month with a yearly registration fee per family of $40.

The Adult Garage Band students perform two shows per session to sold-out crowds at Silo’s twice a year.  The kids Garage Band 101 students have been performing their rock shows at Napa Valley Opera House and at the Napa Downtown 4th of July Celebration for over 5 years. In 2010 NSM and Justin-Siena High School teamed up to provide a high quality music program to their instrumental and vocal students, with excellent results. This is win/win marketing for all involved. 

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.