Music instruction is about more than music instruction for these two Sacramento music schools.
With three locations and over 350 students, the Drum Lab and recently-launched Guitar Lab stand out not only for their award-winning music education, but also for creating an all-encompassing experience that emphasizes purposeful learning environments, meaningful relationships, and being unafraid of putting the fun in their fundamentally sound structures.
Led by owner Serge Lysak and a team of instructors who, according to Lysak, are serious about what they do but know how to have fun doing it, the relaxed environment they create gives students of all ages, all styles, and all levels a place to learn, succeed, and be inspired.
“It’s not a boring, uptight school,” said Lysak. “We care a lot about the classical element…and how serious we are about achieving goals and taking a student from 0 to being able to tour or record or do whatever they want with their music career. But when it comes to environment, it’s so much fun and that’s what the students see and that’s what inspires them.”
Lysak, who acquired the Drum Lab at the age of 25 in 2010 after being both a student and instructor there, set out to [re]create a music school that was particularly unique for its environment since “’the sky’s the limit’ is difficult to explain when you’re presenting yourself poorly.” Every detail has been taken into account, from instrument selection to room layout to wall colors to seeking out instructors who will be good role models and mentors.
“The instructors are everything,” said Lysak, who praised his instructors’ passion and love for what they do. “Without good instructors, you have nothing. Without good service or good people who care as much as you do about what you’re doing, you’re nothing…If you care first about your instructors, that means you care equally about your clients.”
The success of Lysak and his team’s efforts is evidenced by the Drum Lab’s 4-year-in-a-row awarding of Best Music Instruction in Sacramento by KCRA 3’s A-List (2012-2015)—an accolade Lysak describes as a marker of their leadership in music instruction and an annual benchmark of their hard work to constantly improve what they do.
It’s no surprise then that, as of October, the Drum Lab expanded into the Guitar Lab, a duplication of the Drum Lab’s core values and structures, but with a focus on guitar. This gives students with an interest in guitar the ability to receive quality instruction by a team as passionate as the Drum Lab’s.
When asked why Lysak decided to spread his musical wings to guitar, he responded that, in addition to wanting to reach a new type of client, he wants “to have another group of people to impact and help and motivate and inspire and build up—both students and instructors.”
While drum and guitar instruction is open to students 4-years-old to any age (their oldest student so far was 78), the impact of music instruction on kids is particularly manifold, says Lysak. He has seen when kids get involved in music it helps them focus academically, motivates them to do something great with their lives, gives them a place to channel their energy or frustration, helps kids with disabilities, helps kids compartmentalize their family issues, improves fine motor skills, builds friendships and camaraderie between other students and instructors, and, perhaps most importantly, gives kids something to pour themselves into that’s positive versus negative.
Positive impact also has a lot to do with an instructor’s investment in their student.
“There’s a lot more to lessons than just music instruction,” said Lysak. “It can mean helping a kid get into a band, helping a kid stay away from bad influences, helping a kid develop self-esteem…I want to make sure we have that combination of caring about students beyond instruction and deeply caring about why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
And what about your teens or yourself, whether you’re 30, 50, or 100 years old?
“If you want to learn, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to have fun with music,” said Lysak.
Just don’t be surprised if amid your lessons you witness the occasional shenanigans between instructors. Lysak says it’s all a part of the fun.
Both the Drum Lab and the Guitar Lab offer one-on-one instruction in clean, well-equipped, acoustically sound teaching rooms. The Drum Lab has locations in Rocklin and East Sacramento, and the Guitar Lab has a location in Roseville and also holds classes at their East Sacramento location a few days a week. For more information or to schedule a free introductory lesson, visit thedrumlab.net or guitarlabca.com.