Survival and passion paved a path for Triumph Music Academy. After teaching music lessons to pay for college, James Hughes, owner and director of Triumph Music Academy, realized his music lessons were unique.
“It dawned on me that my lessons were different than everybody else’s because I was not a professional music teacher, but a professional musician who also liked to teach,” Hughes explained.
Because Hughes wanted to make a bigger difference in Grand Rapids and noticed his lessons were becoming too much to handle by himself, he called up other professional musicians whom he had worked with and suggested the idea of creating a guitar school that focused on providing the best education with real-world music advice, without the retail element.
However, a voice inside of Hughes told him, ‘one day this guitar school could be something more’ so he named it Triumph Music Academy, instead of limiting its potential to a name like Triumph Guitar School. And that voice was right, as calls for guitar lessons soon transformed into additional calls for piano, drums and voice lessons. Still expanding today, Triumph Music Academy is the place where professional musicians can teach you whatever you want.
Because the community helped Triumph Music Academy evolve through increasing the variety of lessons based on what students desired to learn, Hughes wants to give back to the community by “helping other people discover their own innate musical passions and helping them do it themselves.”
Since its goal is to prepare students for the real world, Triumph Music Academy encourages and assists its students with writing their own music, recording at professional studios, and booking and performing live shows.
It’s not just for kids either; adult education at Triumph Music Academy is also growing. Hughes explained, “A lot of times people don’t think a music school is a place where adults make music, but 40 percent of our student body are adults, and I’ve even been starting to put together adult bands, which is really fun.”
With a diverse staff of professional musicians, composers, performers and artists, anyone can walk into Triumph Music Academy and learn anything they want. Hip-hop, classical, minimalism, EDM, bluegrass, country, punk and death metal are all just a sample of the diverse offerings at Triumph Music Academy.
Hughes wanted his school to be a place where people can achieve their dreams and welcomes all types of music because he believes within music “there are different dialectics and you don’t want to say that this language isn’t legit when people are speaking and participating in it all the time.”
Whether you want to pursue a music career or just play around with your friends, Triumph Music Academy can make your wish a reality. Hughes adds, “If you have the drive and the dream, we have the knowledge and the tools to help you out.”
Living his dream job, Hughes loves seeing his students excel. While students will come in asking to accomplish one skill, they are soon surprised to find out their initial expectations have been exceeded with the ability to master various skills they never knew were possible.
Hughes also teaches his students about the importance of hard work, since talent all depends on how time is spent. “If you spend your time really focusing, you will eventually do it. It’s not magic, it all comes down to desire and work,” Hughes explained.
As for the future, Hughes likes the idea of taking a student band on tour. Other than helping students become more immersed in the actual music industry, Hughes wants to “keep rocking” and “continuing to be better and more killer every year by helping people achieve more and more.”