NUTLEY, NJ - TAPinto Nutley visited the owners of Nutley School of Music (formerly TK Music) in order to share with our readers the story behind this thriving Nutley business. Owners Kyong Lee and Tom Harney invite everyone to attend their ‘Grand Re-Opening’ on Sunday October 15th from 1-4pm at their recently renovated and expanded location at 211-213 Darling Avenue
TAPinto: Tom and Kyong, thank you for taking the time to share your story. How did the two of you meet?
Tom: We were both students at Montclair State University in 1991, and many times, the last two practicing until after midnight. We got to know each other when the campus police showed up to kick us out so they could close down the music building.
I started taking guitar lessons in Montclair when I was 11. I grew up in Bloomfield since my father worked very close to here at Roche. While my degree is in classical guitar, I was a rocker growing up.
Kyong: When I was 6 years old in Seoul, Korea, I started studying piano. Montclair State is where I studied classical piano performance and met Tom. We got married in 1997. Since 1999, we have been co-founders and co-directors of our Nutley School of Music.
TAPinto: Tell us about your locations.
Kyong: In 1999, we opened our Kingsland St location where we have 5 lessons rooms that are part of the Nutley School of Music. This location (211-213 Darling) has a total of 8 lesson rooms and one recital room.
Over the summer, we expanded the Darling Ave location from 1200 sq ft to over 2100 sq ft in order to meet the growing demand for music instruction from the residents of Nutley and surrounding areas.
TAPinto: Tell us about your students.
Kyong: Approximately 60% of our students are from Nutley. We offer instruction in piano, voice, guitar, bass, drums, clarinet, flute, saxophone, all string instruments (violin, viola, cello, & double bass), and all brass instruments (trumpet, trombone, French horn and tuba). We currently have 22 instructors. Tom and I each instruct between forty and fifty students.
Tom: Our business has grown to over 400 lessons per week based largely on word-of-mouth. We are committed to this community and to being a leader in music education. Now that our expanded space is ready, we can accept even more students!
TAPinto: And what is the age ranges of your students?
Tom: Most of our students are between pre-K and 12th grade. Approximately 5% of our students are adults. The number of adult students is growing. Many of our adult students will say: ‘I’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument and now I’ve finally gotten up the courage to do it.’ This to me is heroic. As a guitarist, playing the instrument is a stress reliever. Many of my students tell me they find the guitar provides a much-needed moment for themselves. Everyone deserves a little “me time”.
TAPinto: What is the most rewarding thing for you as owners of the Nutley School of Music?
Kyong: One of the most rewarding things about owning a music school is that we get to know families through the years. Watching families grow over the years and seeing different families become friends through music is very rewarding during their time with us. We love keeping in touch with our alumni after they go off to college too.
Tom: It was a very rewarding moment for me when we started our rock show program back in 2007 for our young students. Our Nutley School of Music Rock Band is comprised of 8 to 18 year olds who are very special to me. We strive to be the ‘go to’ place for music in the community. To achieve this we interact with many different groups. For example, Nutley Music Boosters’ Café Night fundraiser is one of the events where we cheer on ‘our kids’. It is so rewarding to see them succeed.
Many of our current students, as well as alumni, are performing in the upcoming Parks & Rec Drama Department production of Seussical Jr. One of the lead roles is being played by Lily, a 3rd grader and voice student at our school, and, another by Luke, a 9th grader appearing in the production as well. Luke is our visiting specialist who performs at special events such as our Rock Show.
TAPinto: What advice or direction do you have for parents who are considering music instruction for their children?
Tom: I would suggest looking for a reputable music school, and talking to your friends and music teachers at school for recommendations. Explore the possible instruments your child may be interested in by visiting the music school and setting up a consultation.
Music is so important for children growing up in the hectic world today. In today’s world of instant gratification, it is important for kids to have delayed gratification experiences like learning music. Music is so rewarding yet it is something that requires work and dedication. Music instruction develops character, goal setting skills, and patience. It is a way to learn about one’s self.
TAPinto: Your grand Re-opening takes place Sunday, October 15, from 1 PM – 4 PM. What do you have scheduled for your guests?
Tom: Our student rock band will perform beginning at 1pm. There will be faculty performances and Kyong and I will be performing on guitar and piano as well. In addition, we will have ‘instrument stations’ where guests can try their hand at different instruments throughout the event. We have a beautiful new ‘made in the U.S.A.’ Steinway Grand piano model ‘O’ as well as seven other Steinway-designed pianos.
We want everyone to know we are very appreciative of the years of support from the Nutley community. We welcome everyone and invite you to come by, have fun, and get to know us.
Note: Chris Surretsky is the marketing manager for NSM. According to Chris, the Township of Nutley has been producing a fall town musical for years through the Nutley Parks & Recreation Drama Department. This year’s production will be Seussical Jr. featuring Nutley children in third grade through high school. Show dates are November 30, December 1 & 2 at 7:30 pm at Nutley High School. Contact NutleyPRDrama@gmail.com for information and visit https://www.facebook.com/Nutleyparksandrecdrama/
Nutley School of Music was founded as TK Music at their original location, 588 Kingsland St., in Nutley in 1999. They continue to offer lessons at this, as well as their 211-213 Darling Avenue locations. Instruments taught include piano, guitar, voice, violin, cello, bass, drums, flute, trumpet, and more. Private lessons and group ensembles allow for scheduling flexibility so that parents’ and students’ busy schedules and other activities can be easily accommodated. Lesson hours are from 10AM – 8PM Monday through Friday, 10AM - 4PM Saturdays, and by appointment on Sundays. www.nutleyschoolofmusic.com.
“We need music because it feeds our souls and makes us better people.”-Kyong Lee