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The Beverly Review: Former WMC teachers join to open The Lesson Factory 12/8/09 6:15 PM

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December 09, 2009
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Former WMC teachers join to open The Lesson Factory

by Patrick Thomas

In the wake of the closing of World Music Company


(WMC) and the announcement that a new store, the
Music Station, will take its place, another store has now
opened to give music lessons.

The Lesson Factory, 10936 S. Western Ave., opened Dec.


7, joining the Music Station and the Beverly Arts Center
as organizations in Beverly/Morgan Park that provide
music lessons, this despite a sluggish economy that
ultimately forced the closure of WMC.

Instead of teaching independently or joining other local


music schools, a group of WMC teachers demonstrated
their allegiance to each other and carried on their work
from the WMC, which closed Nov. 25 after 13 years in
business.

“It seemed like a unified effort would be more viable than


striking out on our own,” said Doug Summers, a guitar
and bass teacher who owns the new business. Site Map
News content published by
The majority of WMC teachers will reunite at the Lesson The Beverly Review.
Internet Edition managed using
Factory with Summers, who taught at WMC for 10 years. First Day Story.
Among the teachers joining the Lesson Factory are David © 2009. All Rights Reserved.
James, Joe Arteaga, Dave Waterman, Cheryl Lawson,
Paul Lyons, David Maller, Debbie Parks, Candy Heitner,
Suzanne O’Shea, Dave Becker, Marilea Giblin and Nikki
Giblin.

James said the new location is not a music store but a


“lesson factory.”

“We have the most experienced lesson teachers in the


area,” he said.

Summers said many former students from WMC had inquired about taking lessons at their teacher’s home or having the
instructor teach lessons at the student’s home.

Summers said the group’s members felt they could create a stronger foundation working together, rather than on their own.

“It just makes more sense to have a group. It’s very hard out on your own to have new students and advertise. There is no
central location,” Summers said.

Summers estimated his firm will attract about 100 music students from WMC for private lessons. Infant and toddler classes and
the Little Folkies classes will also be offered.

After WMC teachers were notified that the non-profit would close, they banded together and started a campaign, “Save the
World.” They raised about $25,000 and signed up dozens of students, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to cover the balance
owed to WMC’s landlord.

Summers said the group was given only two weeks notice and had to come up with a plan quickly, as teaching was the only
source of income for many of the teachers. While some of the teachers were contacted about teaching at the Music Station, he
said the group’s main objective was to stick together and continue to offer quality private lessons.

“We built a sense of community working there,” Summers said. “There was a camaraderie working there with the teachers,
students and parents of our students. We formed a community, and I think a lot of the people wanted to continue that through
music lessons.”

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The Beverly Review: Former WMC teachers join to open The Lesson Factory 12/8/09 6:15 PM

One of those students, John O’Brien, heard about the teachers’ situation and notified Summers of an available location at
10936 S. Western Ave. Summers said he checked it out and was convinced it was the right place.

But questions remain as to how another music lesson facility will survive with three local centers catering to the same pool of
music students. WMC Executive Director John Devens, who according to Summers is not part of the Lesson Factory, said in a
previous interview that WMC struggled because its enrollment had dropped considerably, mostly due to the difficult economy.
Summers, however, is confident that the Lesson Factory will survive because the group will give lessons in a much smaller
location of 975 square feet with four instruction rooms.

Summers said his firm might hold concerts in conjunction with community events like the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. But at
the moment, there are no plans to host concerts. The Lesson Factory will offer only lessons.

“What gives me faith in it is that it is a much more streamlined approach to a business model. All we are focusing on is
lessons,” he said. “There is no overhead, no merchandise, no sales whatsoever. That keeps our overhead down.”

Instructor Dave Waterman said that during the last few years at WMC several of the teachers were consistently booked, but
the space was so large it seemed almost empty. Even though the Lesson Factory will be in much smaller quarters, he and his
colleagues are ready to continue teaching.

“You could put me in a Mc- Donald’s bathroom. I don’t care where it is,” Waterman said. “All I ever wanted was to teach
music.”

This is part of the December 9, 2009 online edition of The Beverly Review.

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