Tahoe-Truckee School of Music brings self-expression center stage | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee School of Music brings self-expression center stage

Director Ben Martin jams with Kelly Bennet, a wonderful student who recently became a monthly donor and is a huge help to the school.
Courtesy Tahoe-Truckee School of Music |

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The nonprofit Tahoe-Truckee School of Music operates a music booking service called Tahoe Music Professionals with over 100 performers on roster providing a wide array of music styles for various events. The school is always accepting donations of musical instruments and accessories of any kind. It has locations in Truckee (10038 Meadow Way, Suite E) and Tahoe City (2810 Lake Forest Road, Suite M). Visit www.tahoemusic.net to learn more.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — You’ve got rhythm — really, you do — and the Tahoe-Truckee School of Music wants to help bring your inner artist outward.

Making music is a therapeutic, intellectual hobby that will last a lifetime. Ben Martin, the school’s director, sees beyond the instantly gratifying benefits of performance and shared music’s impact.

“The benefits of learning an instrument are extensive,” he said.

Martin grew up in a music-loving family and was introduced to music by his older brothers and sisters; one of his sisters, in fact, also became a music teacher. He moved to the Lake Tahoe area at 19 and has been studying and making music ever since.

“In addition to the joy of playing music, students develop language skills, creative expression, craftsmanship, teamwork and confidence,” he said about what the music school provides and teachers. “Music develops the brain in many ways, resulting in greater brain-power and higher SAT scores.”

Twenty instructors specialize in guitar, piano, voice, ukulele, violin, drums, flute, trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, clarinet and even more at the school.

“We offer so much more than just a music lesson,” said instructor Sam Ravenna. “We offer group classes, song groups, jam sessions with different students who play different instruments that we mash-up together. We have a recording studio;there’s so much opportunity to make music.”

Ravenna learned to play bass when he was 13 and caught the bug. He has been teaching at the music school for the past three years and instructs students in a bit of everything, including guitar, piano, drums, bass, ukulele, voice and recording.

“Music is about actively doing, rather than just watching,” Martin said. “Studying music with an instructor is an age-old tradition. Our large roster of instructors allows us to match instructors and students of all ages based on individual styles and personalities.”

The nonprofit’s mission is to provide music education and performing opportunities for anyone and everyone in our community who is interested, regardless of their experience or financial means.

“Learning with an instructor helps you learn in the right direction,” Ravenna said. “It’s easy to develop incorrect habits or feel stuck in a certain spot, and instructors can help guide you and get your hand to work in a certain way with guitar, for example.”

The Tahoe-Truckee School of Music has grown since its inception in 2009 (the school officially became a nonprofit in September 2012), and Ravenna says he went from having one student to now having 25, plus 20 additional students he teaches at local elementary schools.

“Music is a really cool way to express yourself,” Ravenna said. “Scientists have quantified brain development through making music, plus it’s really fun. It’s like learning a new language — you’re using different parts of your brain from thinking mathematically to physically playing the instrument, once those skills come you naturally start thinking creatively.”

Students from the Tahoe-Truckee School of Music will perform twice in April, at Art Truckee in Truckee on the 5th and the Tahoe Art Haus in Tahoe City on the 20th.

The community can also catch performances from the main stage at the Made in Tahoe Festival on Memorial Day weekend at the Village at Squaw.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.