Stillwater Music has taken on the private lesson program offered by the now-closed Katzin Music.
Jeroen van Tyn, executive director of Stillwater, said given his organization’s mission of providing music education in band settings, it made sense to assume management and operation of the private lessons that Katzin Music had provided for 39 years before its closing at the end of March.
“I am happy to say that everything has worked out,” he said. “We made a seamless transition as of this past Monday. The music instructors are in place with no schedule changes and the nearly 300 students are taking lessons as before.”
Stillwater, a nonprofit, will expand into Katzin’s old space in the Crossroads Center in the 1300 block of Main Avenue. The logistics worked as Stillwater and Katzin were neighbors in the Crossroads Center.
“In terms of the community, to leave 300 students and 20 instructors scrambling didn’t make sense,” van Tyn said of assuming Katzin’s private lessons service. “Our thought immediately when we heard Katzin would be closing was: How do we say ‘yes’ to this.”
Van Tyn said if the private lesson program had closed for even two or three weeks, “it could have torpedoed the whole thing.”
Stella Dickson, who had organized scheduling and administrative duties for the private lessons for Katzin, has been hired by Stillwater to fulfill the same role.
“We wanted students to be able to walk in the next week and have their lessons on the same schedule, in the same studio with the piano still there,” he said.
Dickson’s availability to oversee the program also is important to provide a seamless transition for students and instructors, he said.
To honor Katzin’s 39 years of offering private lessons, van Tyn said the program would be named Katzin Studios at Stillwater Music.
Stillwater will receive 25 percent of the independent tutors’ fees for lessons using its studio space.
By expanding into the Katzin space, Stillwater will gain 3,900 square feet of space and 12 individual studios for private lessons. Previously, Stillwater had only one studio available for private lessons – with most of its music education delivered in band and group settings in larger rooms.
Marc Reed, chairman of the Music Department at Fort Lewis College, said the assumption of private lessons is great news for the community and music students at FLC.
“A lot of our students end up teaching, a lot of times it was out of Katzin. It is an avenue for employment for them, and it was a recruiting tool for our students,” he said.
A good number of music students at FLC, Reed said, got their start with private lessons at Katzin.
In addition, Roger Smith, who had handled repair of band instruments at Katzin, will continue to offer his services in the same space by subletting from Stillwater. He will operate as an independent contractor handling the repairs along a similar business model as the private music tutors who offer individual lessons.
“This is something knit into the fabric of the community, and we intend to keep it that way,” van Tyn said.