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Chris Loftis

Resident pitches ideas for music instruction that could be offered at Colonial Arts Center in Buckhannon

BUCKHANNON – A local trumpet player approached the Colonial Arts Center board recently with ideas about how they could potentially offer musical instrument lessons at the center.

Trumpet teacher Chris Loftis attended the Nov. 7 Colonial Arts Center board meeting and said he was at a rehearsal for the B-U Community Band when he learned about the classroom spaces in the basement of the CAC.

“I started thinking what the CAC would need to start considering before offering classes, and the first would be finding some qualified instructors, certainly for instrumental, vocal or whatever musical genre that is needed,” Loftis said. “Then the next step would need to be advertising which instruments you have an instructor for, and then the next step is determining price.”

He recommended using an online calendar to avoid double bookings and purchasing music stands and chairs for the classrooms.

“If you’re going to have piano teachers, then you might want to consider purchasing some kind of piano,” Loftis said. “I have a mobile keyboard — it’s 88 keys and weighted, which means they feel just like a real piano. They’re relatively inexpensive, but I know every dollar counts.”

Loftis also suggested a recital schedule to demonstrate how the students have improved.

“Twice a year, we would have a recital — sometimes in our house, sometimes over at Wesleyan — but it was a time for the students to show the community what they learned over that six-month period,” Loftis said.

He also researched student and instructor costs.

“I found two websites that broke down what the national averages would be, and they base it on the location in the country, the teacher’s credentials, the length of the lesson and the student level — younger students and beginning students wouldn’t be able to do an hour lesson, they would be better with a 30-minute lesson,” Loftis said. “The range for a 60-minute lesson would be $65 to $100, whereas a 30-minute lesson would be in the $30 to $50 range; that’s the national average.”

Loftis also asked a local music educator what they charged, which was $15 for 30 minutes.

“The bottom line is, how much would you want to make for the practice room, the advertising and all those other things, plus what the instructors would want?” Loftis said. “You also must ask if that is something the community can and will afford to pay, or is it too much? You must find that sweet spot because you want to make it good for everybody involved.”

John Waltz, president of the CAC board, asked if Loftis would be interested in teaching if the center were to begin to offer classes.

“Are you here to propose that you might like to teach the lessons, or are you here to propose a policy for the Colonial Art Center?” Waltz asked. “We do have a bit of a framework, but we certainly want to continue to hear thoughts and ideas on this because we need help on the framework. At this time, we’re still building that framework, but we would like to start looking into our first instructor.”

Loftis said he would be interested once the board determines what they are looking for and has an official proposal. City recorder Randy Sanders said they would review all the suggestions mentioned during the meeting.

“This was definitely one of the many ways the CAC was meant to introduce musicality to the area and let people who are interested have an opportunity to learn and have instruction with a professional structure,” Sanders said. “I think we’ll take this under advisement and compare it with what we have in place thus far, and then should be ready to move on this pretty soon.”

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