What began as piano lessons in a little brown cottage around the neighborhood has grown into a musical training center for the whole community of West Michigan. Wright and Jody McCargar, co-founders and co-directors of The Piano Cottage, invite all ages to pursue their musical desires and feel inspired as they learn from local professional musicians in a warm, cottage-feeling atmosphere.
Instead of driving to a music teacher’s house for a lesson to learn one instrument and performing at a recital once or twice a year, Wright and Jody McCargar established The Piano Cottage to be a performance-oriented community for aspiring musicians.
Do not be fooled by the name, though – The Piano Cottage is more than just a place to learn the piano. This studio offers various musical lessons and programs, including voice, guitar, drums, ensembles and bands, composition, audition skills and more.
As musicians themselves, Wright and Jody McCargar understand how difficult it can be to be a freelance musician, which is why they focus on providing a home to not only their students, but also to the teachers of The Piano Cottage since teachers can “inspire students with the amazing gifts they have,” said Jody McCargar. “We want to collaboratively raise musicians that are super passionate about music and the arts.”
With at least 10 to 12 performance opportunities throughout the year, students are given the chance to not only make friends with other performers, but also be exposed to great music that motivates them to continue to practice and improve.
“It gives them a goal to shoot for instead of just practicing alone all the time and never really sharing their gifts,” said Jody McCargar.
Students are already rehearsing and preparing for the studio’s biggest concert of the year, The Piano Cottage Rocks!, which will be held at Wealthy Theatre on Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. This seventh annual summer concert series is the studio’s only audition event, where students earn their spot from an outside panel of experts in the field and “learn what it takes to put on a professional production,” said Jody McCargar.
Two weeks before the acts strut onstage, Wright McCargar explained that rehearsals almost turn into an “intensive music camp,” where students are coached by professionals and practice their numbers, choreography, staging and quick scene changes.
However, the collaboration, talent and leadership skills of the students who will be performing have made the process of rehearsals very enjoyable and made Wright and Jody McCargar even more ecstatic for the approaching event since they have been amazed by the strength and progression of each student.
With 25 inspiring songs, covering an assortment of genres, including pop, jazz, rock, blues, musical theatre and more, there will be a variety of great numbers for the entire public, ranging from a single piano act to large ensembles with everyone performing together on stage. “It is a full out rock show, all done by kids,” said Wright McCargar.
To purchase tickets to this rocking show, which raises awareness and money for the Crescendo Foundation that aids access to tuition-free, quality music education in West Michigan, visit The Piano Cottage’s website.