After her son “aged out” of area toddler/parent music programs, Skye Barker Maa began searching for a music school in NE Denver. She quickly realized there wasn’t anything in the area offering exactly what she was looking for, so her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. “I really wanted my son to have a music school experience,” she says. Neighborhood Music was born out of desire and necessity in the basement of Barker Maa’s Stapleton home.
The school concept took off immediately “exploding to 60 students in just the first few months.” Kids took music lessons in rooms “all over the house” and theater productions were held in her backyard. Soon, the school “stepped up to a new level of creative chaos” and moved to a commercial Aurora location to accommodate increasing demand.
In February 2018, the school moved into their new space at the Stanley Marketplace. Private and group music instruction for children and adult students is offered for voice, piano, strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion. “Niche instrument” instruction is taught for harmonica, accordion and dulcimer. A youth orchestra participates in partnership with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra and the school boasts eight rock bands and a fiddle group.
Theater production classes teach acting, dance, full-scale costume design, and theater set design and construction, culminating in four productions each year. Neighborhood Music teaches children’s theater in eight Denver Public Schools (DPS) and provides public school music curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade.
“Try It” is a program for kids who want to play an instrument but aren’t sure which one to choose. “Instruments have a personality,” Maa explains. “Kids take lessons with different instruments to narrow down what they like. Often, the first instrument they choose is the one they wind up playing.”
The school holds recitals and theater performances to help “strip away inhibitions and develop public presentation skills.” Maa says the school environment is a social experience, encouraging students to “interact, play and stay motivated.”
Neighborhood Music is located at 2501 Dallas Street, Suite 130. The school’s hours are Mon.-Sat. from 9am-8:30pm. For information, call 720.378.3668 or see www.neighborhoodmusicstapleton.com