Accessible and innovative. These two words best describes The Music Bus that is going around the Elk Grove area and teaching young kids about music.
The Music Bus was originally founded in Arizona by Patti Graetz and is outfitted with instruments, studio headphones and funky carpets to boot. She parted ways with The Music Bus, and NewSongs School of Music Owner Michael Hemsworth purchased the buses to incorporate the concept to his music school in Elk Grove.
The Music Bus classes are limited to eight students and teaches them piano and ukulele. The bus can be found on Babson Drive on Mondays, Wilton on Wednesdays, Laguna on Fridays and Sheldon and Galt on Thursdays.
“We have set locations that we establish beforehand and we let everybody know,” NewSong Instructor Jason Elmore said. “People in the area can sign up for those lessons.”
Elmore, a Cosumnes River College alumni, acts as the driver and instructor of The Music Bus. Alongside Elmore is NewSongs Instructor Juan Gonzales, who is another CRC alumni.
“Parents have a lot on their plate,” Gonzales said. “This way, parents don’t have to go out of their way or move stuff around for their kids to take lessons.”
Gonzales graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in music. After getting his degree, Gonzales said he talked to Hemsworth about helping with the buses.
“Luckily, I came right as he was getting these buses, so I came at the perfect time,” Gonzales said. “Immediately, Hemsworth said ‘let’s try do this,’ so we got the buses and started doing demo classes.”
Gonzales and Elmore said that the program’s main demographic are elementary students and young adults.
“There are a few adult partakers in the lessons but not a lot when there’s Disney characters on the wall,” Elmore said.
CRC’s music department recently developed a partnership between NewSongs School of Music and developed a work study program to progress toward an independent music instructor certificate. CRC Music Professor Kurt Erikson, who helped develop the partnership, said he believes that The Music Bus will eventually cater towards older students.
“It’s a brilliant idea and I think that it will continue to change and evolve,” said Erikson.