Teaching Music in Minneapolis
Music has been a big part of Brad McLemore’s life since he was a small child listening to his aunt playing the piano. Her talent and zest for music was the driving force behind Brad’s own love affair with it and was a driving force behind his desire to become a rock star.
Now, with a successful business, he devotes a lot of his time to making sure successive generations are given the opportunity to learn how to play and enjoy musical instruments, while also making sure they keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, through Brad McLemore’s House of Music.
Becoming a musician wasn’t always top of the agenda for Brad, as he grew up in Dallas which meant that sports was always seen as a pinnacle of achievement. As he says;
‘growing up as a kid in Dallas Texas, sport was everything. Everyone wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy right?’
But for Brad, the idea of becoming a sports star was soon put on a back burner as he became fascinated by the way his aunt could pick a tune out from her piano and play. That became a source of intrigue for him and despite not coming from a musical background, Brad became determined that this was something he too wanted to be able to do.
He would spend as much time with his aunt and uncle as possible, even travelling with them in their car when they went on vacation, to be able to listen to the music of John Denver and Johnny Cash on their 8 track cassettes.
He graduated from that to learning guitar and then, when he was 14, he was given an electric guitar and a whole new world was opened up. Now he had to learn new things and with that came new styles of music like AC/DC and Peter Frampton.
The ultimate goal for Brad was to be a rock star and to do that he needed a band. So enlisting friends to join him, and then teaching them what he knew, seemed to be the obvious next step.
Of course, back in those days there was no internet or YouTube to help get you noticed and almost all musicians had to serve their time. The only way to succeed was to have a band and get noticed through newspaper and local magazine articles.
Playing and practising until they had a few songs under their belt then led to playing at school, then parties and so on.
Of course, it wouldn’t be rock and roll if you didn’t get in some trouble now and again and Brad recalls an incident where they played a set while trying to raise money for the senior prom and played a risqué song of the time which had his Principal in a flap;
‘a very popular song of that time by Eric Clapton was Cocaine, so we start playing the song Cocaine and my teacher was running sound and the Principal said, ‘okay this song has just become an instrumental’ and unplugged the PA, so we had to finish without any vocals.’
Eventually Brad settled down with his wife, and her desire to move back to her native Minneapolis to be closer to her family was the thing that went a long way to changing his life from playing in a band at weddings and parties, to making a transition into teaching music.
And it was an unexpected move into the London Hills area of the city that Brad stumbled across the Lindon Hills House of Music. That chance encounter saw Brad help run the business for the owner for a year, before he was offered the chance to buy it.
With a great community to back it up, and with the idea of a music school having always been in his mind, Brad agreed to buy, but remembers a question his tax advisor asked;
‘are you buying a business or buying a job?’
Well, he needed a job and having the business fulfilled his other great ambition, so it seemed like a no-brainer and as Brad says himself;
‘teaching was the big thing that connected all this stuff.’
Now Brad McLemore’s House of Music is a thriving hub for young people, where they can learn from 24 different tutors who come from a range of diverse backgrounds and personalities, each with a wealth of unique life experiences which all adds to the flavor.
With fantastic community support from local families, Brad McLemore’s House of Music continues to grow and thrive and provides a setting for kids to learn through positive role models that are sometimes absent in other learning environments.
It also acts as a buffer between the good decisions and the bad ones, showing that hard work is the cornerstone of achievement and that you can have the raw talent, but without putting the work in you get nowhere.
For Brad, music will always be there, and this was brought home to him recently, when a 15-year-old student became ill with an infection in his brain. Losing many basic functions, like the ability to speak, was scary for him and his family and friends, but when he eventually recovered he came to an understanding that while it was unlikely he would be able to play sports at the age of 80, he would still be able to play guitar.
In his free time Brad gives something back to the community that has shown him such great support, by helping out at the local school. He is also always on the lookout for exciting new teachers to join him and even if he doesn’t have a vacancy you can be sure that he always keeps resumes.
It looks like learning to play instruments at Brad McLemore’s House of Music is going to be around for a long time to come, and with each new generation of aspiring musicians who walk through his door, there may be one or two who will become famous. But for the others, the experiences and mentoring they get will stand them in good stead no matter what they go on to achieve in life.
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