Hey folks. Parker here, you may have seen me around the Shed teaching, behind the desk, or chatting with the barber Rolando next door. I started playing guitar at age 10 with much excitement and frustration. After a couple of years of hammering away on my poor guitar, I enrolled in private lessons and have been studying ever since. I still take lessons occasionally to this day and am always looking for ways to improve my playing and teaching.
I am an Atlanta native, and while I was finishing grad school for music education in Austin, TX, my wife (then fiancée) and I decided to move back to Atlanta to be closer to our families. I was looking at commercial spaces in Atlanta while I was still in Austin and stumbled on Kirkwood by chance. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and am a self-proclaimed bad employee. It was a natural fit to open up my own music school and it hasn’t seemed like “work” a single day that I’ve been here.
A landlord I was working with suggested a space in Kirkwood and once I checked it out, I knew that was the spot for Guitar Shed. She was completely on board with my vision and we have a great working relationship. We would definitely not be where we are now without her support. I started with one room and 4 students the first week we opened in August of 2015. Now we have almost 30 teachers, over 400 students, and a wide selection of instruments. We have recently expanded into an additional commercial space in our shopping center for our drum lessons and band rehearsals.
I went to school at Paideia, not far away, but I was blown away at how quickly all of East Atlanta had grown in the past few years. After a few months of being in business, my wife and I bought a house within walking distance from Guitar Shed in Kirkwood. We recently moved to Lake Claire in 2021, and the walk is a bit longer.
I like to think of us as a modern music school. My wife helped me with the interior design, and our lobby feels more like a living room than a doctor’s office. In my experience, several schools (not just music schools) have a sterile feeling that isn’t very conducive to learning. We also have someone in our lobby at all times, whether it is myself or someone from our admin team, to help parents and students with scheduling and billing. That way, all our teachers have to worry about is teaching.
Another thing that sets us apart is our teachers. Our teachers are all great players AND great teachers. The two don’t always go hand in hand. I’ve played gigs with most of our teachers so I know firsthand they are great players, and I knew when I met each one of them that they were passionate about teaching. They are also great people, that helps too!
Our studio is also very diverse on multiple levels. We have students and teachers from several different backgrounds, and if you’ve been to a recital of ours, you know we have a wide variety of music as well. I am a firm believer that anyone can learn to play an instrument, so we try our best to be as inclusive as possible. Most of all, we are all big proponents of lifelong learning. From our Jaminals classes for toddlers to our veteran guitar players who have been at it since the ’60s, we believe that you are never too old or too young to start the journey of learning music.
I still teach a handful of students, but I’m not taking on any new students at the moment. I love talking to parents and students about guitars, local restaurants, concerts, soccer schedules, yoga, and more. If you see me around the Shed, please don’t hesitate to say hi!