John Dewey started teaching violin in his basement 16 years ago. Today, he's managing a music academy that resounds with explosive growth and international acclaim.
As the owner and director of Okemos Music Academy
, John Dewey has grown his music school from a tiny home-based studio to a private academy with 11 studios, 19 teachers and more than 300 students. Because of phenomenal growth and progressive teaching methods, Dewey's academy received top recognition as the 2016 Music Studio of the Year by the South Carolina-based Music Academy Success
"To me, receiving the award validated everything we do and all the different systems and opportunities we provide students to be successful," Dewey says. "We have a really wonderful community here, and give students the chance to play the music they want to play at the pace they want to learn it."
Dewey said the Okemos academy was selected from a field of more than 170 music academies worldwide, and was one of six finalists from the U.S. and Canada. He accepted the award in early spring at the program's annual conference, and held a community open house in mid-August to celebrate.
Evolving from Dewey's original business "String Connection," the Okemos Music Academy offers lessons in guitar, piano, ukulele, drums, voice, viola, cello, fiddle, flute, clarinet and saxophone. The studio serves mid-Michigan students who come from as far as Portland or as close as an Okemos neighborhood.
The classically trained Dewey earned his degree in violin performance from Eastern Michigan University and has worked as a freelance musician and music teacher most of his adult life. He envisions the studio as a safe, supportive environment for students of all ages to take music lessons, participate in on- or off-site performance opportunities, and build community among each other.
"One of the things I'm most excited about is offering more casual performance opportunities for those who choose not to perform in our more formal recitals," says Dewey. "We'll be ordering hot and ready pizza and offering it every month in our café area, so you can just come in, play music and hang out."
The Okemos Music Academy is located at 3444 Hagadorn Road in Meridian Township. The three buildings create a walkable, campus atmosphere, complete with a café, coffee and waiting area for parents, friends and guardians.
Source: John Dewey, Owner and Founder, Okemos Music Academy
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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