Bach to Rock celebrates five years

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A group of young ukulele players pose during Bach to Rock's 5th anniversary party in Port Washington (Photo courtesy of Melissa Spitalnick).

Elana Hayden said the goal for Bach to Rock was to provide a place where people, especially children and adolescents, could feel comfortable. And that was certainly the case on Tuesday night when dozens stopped by to celebrate the music school’s fifth anniversary.

“When our customers walk in, it’s fun and warm and the kids just want to come in and say hi, even when they’re not there for a lesson,” said Hayden, who currently serves as the site director for the Port Washington location.

Hayden has been with Bach to Rock since the very beginning. She was the first person to be hired for the location, as a vocal instructor. She was surprised how quickly the anniversary has arrived.

It’s unbelievable, it went really fast,” Hayden said. “I can’t believe it’s been five years, and I can’t wait for the next five.”

There are 28 Bach to Rock locations around the country, with four located in New York State. The one in Port Washington is the only one on Long Island.

Hayden said lessons cover all instruments and are available for practically every age. The youngest are six-month-old babies, who come with their mothers to experience music for the first time. The oldest is an 85-year-old guitar student who made an appearance at Tuesday’s party.

The biggest change over the past five years, Hayden said, was how the community has embraced the music school. Starting from scratch, the school has about 500 students today. This has led to the creation of over 20 ensembles and bands that have played around Port Washington.

“The kids have learned how to give back to the community,” she said.

She said the success of the school is due to the atmosphere she and other teachers have worked to create.

“A lot of the other music schools in the area have more of a generic, very sterile vibe, and our vibe is laid-back and fun,” she said. “We’re near Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School and [Paul D. Schreiber] High School and some of the kids just pop in after school.”

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