Making a living through a passion can be difficult, but the teachers at The Music Haven in Redmond have been finding a way to do just that for the past couple years.
One instructor, Dave Head, has been teaching guitar in Redmond since 1980, and the 59-year-old is happy to still be playing.
“I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing,” he said on a recent afternoon as he sat in one of the six practice rooms at the music studio.
Some 16 teachers share the space, but Head is the only one with a dedicated room.
It’s filled with guitars ranging from acoustic and flamenco styles to electrics. The walls are covered in pictures and paintings of famous guitarists.
“To me, it’s like meditation or therapy,” he said. “It puts your mind in a completely different place.”
Head has been playing guitar since he was 5, and started jamming with bands in high school.
His family moved from the East Coast to California, before finally settling in the Redmond area in the early 1970s.
He started teaching guitar in 1980 and taught at Bandwagon Music.
He eventually left and in 2000 began teaching at Mills Music. However, when the store sold to a different parent company that wanted to change the terms of their employment, he and around 16 other teachers decided to strike out on their own.
They found another location in Redmond that has since been torn down for development.
Following this, they found their current location in the Village Square off Northeast 85th Street.
All the teachers are independent, working together in the space but maintaining their own students.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Head said.
Teachers instruct students in instruments varying from piano and guitar, to vocal lessons and piano, among others.
Head said potential students can come in and talk with teachers without the pressure associated with taking lessons from a music store.
Head himself is well studied in multiple styles of guitar, including rock, jazz, classical and flamenco.
He’s currently focused on flamenco guitar, a style that can be challenging for musicians who didn’t grow up in a place where the intricate music is played widely.
But Head, who describes himself as a constant student himself, said he’s up to the challenge.
“I’m always searching for higher ground musically,” Head said.
His studio sports some unique guitars, including one Stella that is made with parts from a coffee grinder.
He picks them up from all over.
“I think they got my name painted on the curb at the Goodwill,” he joked.
Students of all ages come into the studio to learn, and he’s taught people ranging in age from kindergartners to seniors.
Head’s advice to those interested in picking up an instrument is to listen to all the music they can, and set up a dedicated practice routine.
Those interested in learning more about the studio can visit TheMusicHaven.org, or swing by as Head said there’s usually at least one instructor in every day of the week.