One time at band camp
When Tim Lake and Kyle Collinsworth set out to open Muzic Fuze, they wanted to make the place feel as much like a community center as it did a music store.
“We want people to come here and feel comfortable, feel like they can walk in here and act like a goofball and not be judged,” Collinsworth said.
They opened Muzic Fuze on Longley Lane on July 1. Lake said the store is more focused on offering services to the community than selling gear. They sell instruments but also offer lessons, guitar and off-site violin repair, music camps, and birthday parties. The staff will also help customers form a band.
To the left of the entrance is a reception desk covered with strings, pliers and other tools needed for guitar repair. Behind the desk, you’ll either find Lake tinkering with an instrument or Collinsworth waiting to greet customers.
To the right of the desk is the retail room, just wide enough to stretch out one’s arms, but long enough to hang up a few dozen guitars and the odd ukulele.
“It’s not a huge room but that’s OK—this is perfect for what we’re doing,” Collinsworth said.
The room is lit by a big window to show off the merchandise, lined with Peavey guitars and amps along with other equipment sold on commission. There’s also all the accessories needed to start off a music career.
Muzic Fuze has six teachers to guide students on guitar, bass, piano, drums, violin or voice lessons. One of the offices is also a make-shift sound studio, where students can record their own sound tracks.
In the very back of the store is a room big enough to accommodate a small rock concert. Basses, guitars, two sets of drums—one electronic—and a djembe clutter one end of the auditorium for people to try out and play with.
“This is our gear and it’s open to be used,” Collinsworth said. “We encourage people to come in and play on the gear. I know a lot of times you walk into a music store, and it’s quiet, and you’re not sure if you should touch it [the instruments] or make noise.”
“We want them to come back here and play,” Lake added. “That’s what it’s about.”
The two aren’t concerned if the instruments get broken, and when you let a bunch of 10-year-olds go wild with music, you can’t get too attached to the gear. Plenty of kids get to try out the instruments, especially during Muzic Fuze’s first music camp that took place during the autumn break. The camp ran for five days, taking students on a musical tour.
“We did drum day, voice day, we did group guitar every day, we wanted them to learn ’Smoking Water’ as one of the little kids put it,” Collinsworth said.
The kids got lessons from the store’s instructors, and were tested on songs they learned such as “Smoke on the Water” or “Iron Man.” They also sang karaoke and wrote and recorded their own songs too. Lake said the camp went well, and they will offer it again during winter break.
He said along with the camp, they are also excited about their band service. Collinsworth equated it to youth sports programs. The store will pair students up into bands of similar skill levels and ages.
One of the instructors will coach the band for three months with weekly rehearsals. At the end, the band should be able to play two to three cover songs as well as write and perform an original song.
Lake is just about to launch the first band filled with 13-year-old rockers. A group of 10-year-olds is geared to start in November, and they are close to signing a band of 15-year-old players.