New Studio E music school opens – The Scarlet and Black

By Ohana Sarvotham
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Erin Bustin, who has lived and taught music in Grinnell for 7 years, welcomed visitors to her new music school, Studio E, on Saturday, November 6. The opening was an opportunity for people to visit the new studio. Friends and supporters celebrated the opening of the new business as the students gave their first of, hopefully, many shows in space. Beyond just offering music lessons, however, Bustin hopes Studio E will help fill a void she says exists in the Grinnell music community.

“What I’ve seen in my years here is that a lot of families take their children, or adult students, to Des Moines or Iowa City for classes. At the same time, we have musicians who come to Grinnell several times a week, who are ready to teach, but don’t want to teach in home studios. Bustin’s goal was to bridge these groups of people so that music lessons – which already represent a big financial and time commitment for many – become more accessible to members of the Grinnell community.

The sad truth is that we are at a time when music is something we consume, and not necessarily something that most people actively participate in; there is this tendency to move away from participatory musical creation. -Erin Bustin, owner of Studio E

Bustin, who has been actively involved in music since the age of six, previously lived in Toronto, Canada, where she sang professionally and worked in arts management. Since moving to Grinnell, she has worked in various music related nonprofits and has given singing lessons at home. She currently teaches students between the ages of seven and 70. She leads a group lesson at Studio E called Music Together, which is an international early childhood music and movement program for children from birth to eight years old. His youngest “pupil” is therefore three months old. One of Bustin’s key principles in music education is that music is important at all ages.

“In my own experience, I find teaching mature students incredibly rewarding,” said Bustin. “The sad truth is that we are at a time when music is something that we consume, and not necessarily something that most people actively participate in; there is this tendency to move away from participatory musical creation. This means that when adults with no previous musical experience seek out music lessons, Bustin actively helps them seize that opportunity. “It really matches my own values ​​and beliefs around making music,” she said. “Most of all, as a singer, literally helping people find their voice is, I think, really amazing at all ages.”

Studio E currently offers one-to-one voice and various instrument lessons, with students having virtual and in-person options, as well as group lessons such as the Music Together course. “I hope I can expand according to the wishes of the community,” said Bustin. If the demand for lessons for a certain instrument is high enough, she hopes to be able to bring in regional music teachers to offer lessons at Studio E.

As for the future of Studio E, Bustin’s vision is for it to be a space that fosters the music community in Grinnell, especially after the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I love the community development that occurs in music communities,” said Bustin. “After the pandemic, for music lovers, for those who participate in music, giving up singing together and making music together has been horrible. And so as the pandemic restrictions loosen, people want to make music together. “

The sad truth is that we are at a time when music is something we consume, and not necessarily something that most people actively participate in; there is this tendency to move away from participatory musical creation. -Erin Bustin, owner of Studio E

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