Sam Goodman and Joel zigman are classically trained musicians who cut their teeth as elementary school music educators in Jefferson County. Teaching children was a rewarding endeavor, they say, but they always felt that music education, both public and private, was lacking.
After meeting at nearby schools, the two quit their jobs and reunited to start Deeply Rooted Music School. Now they are opening a physical location in Arvada, tucked away in an indescribable shopping mall next to a diving supply store, Czech restaurant, DJ school and accounting department.
Goodman says Deeply Rooted will revolve around passion and musical creation. “We both come from pretty strict classical backgrounds, and we both found that it kind of teaches you passion,” he explains. “I grew up playing the violin since I was five. Honestly I didn’t like it until I was in college and I had a little more freedom and I really started to foster that creativity and love for it.
Zigman agrees that he and Goodman didn’t really like music until they learned to write theirs, and that’s part of the philosophy they want to bring to school. Zigman, who has a degree in music education, found that most people focus on performing or teaching a group or choir. Neither did he like.
“I like working with other musicians,” Zigman says. “I like to write music. I like the idea of playing and that it’s this collaborative thing.
Goodman recognizes that becoming technically proficient is an important part of the learning process, and this can include studying Mozart or Beethoven. But he also wants children to be able to learn and play music that might be more relevant to them than that of older composers. It makes it more fun and they will learn more in the end.
“I was, you know, ten years old and playing Mozart or whatever,” he says. “If I knew I could play the music I was listening to, I think that would have made me love the music more.”
Goodman remembers being a solo violinist always felt isolated; he sees school as a place where kids can meet, jam, compose and maybe even have a band as they walk through the door. Teachers hope to bring children together in groups that build on their strengths in addition to offering one-to-one lessons.
“The collaborative aspect is something we’re definitely going to tackle,” says Goodman.
He and Zigman believe their school is benefiting from the fact that its owners are both musicians. They see their own career paths as a way to improve the experience of the children and teachers they employ. Music schools can have high turnover and they want their schools to keep people for the long haul.
“Other schools I’ve worked in or know, administrators and owners, aren’t musicians,” Zigman says. ” It’s a company. … We want this to be a place where our teachers work for the long term. We want to create an atmosphere where it’s a community.
The two currently plan to offer lessons in guitar, piano, bass, drums, brass, violin, cello and electronic music production. The staff will give songwriting lessons and workshops for children aged five to twelve, but there will also be mature students.
The school will host regular recitals where students can show off their growing skills, and will offer a full recording studio where children can record their music and learn the ins and outs of the recording process. Goodman and Zigman also plan to have rows of computer workstations for students, which sets the school apart from traditional music schools.
“We’re very focused on technology,” Goodman notes. “It’s just something that drives our two teachings. Music production and teaching recording are very important to us.
According to them, an inherent flaw in much of music education is the dependence on old dead white composers. Even schools that teach more contemporary music can rely heavily on music from the 1960s by groups populated by white men. Goodman and Zigman want to teach their children that the history of music is so much richer and includes women and people of color.
“We’re trying to name our rooms right now,” Goodman says. “We received many suggestions from the instructors regarding the representation of women composers and people of color. ”
“The Florence Price Room is a possibility,” Zigman says. “The Nina Simone Piano Room – this is the one I’m rooted for.”
Deeply Rooted will be a welcoming place for children and adults of all identities, and Zigman and Goodman say they will help children learn socially and emotionally. For example, a shy child may learn to sing loudly in a crowded room, which can affect their social and family life. Zigman, who is transgender, couldn’t speak openly about his identity as an elementary school teacher. He went through a period of deciding to quit teaching so that he could be himself. In the end, he did.
“I can be as outdoors as I want,” he says. “Our staff can be as outside as they want, and our students can be who they are and come in and be able to be a role model.”
The deeply rooted music school is located at 6636 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada. A grand opening is scheduled for October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Deeply Rooted Music Online for more information.