Walking into Mike Ellis’ Lake Highlands studio, you know you’re in the presence of a real music fan. Posters adorn the walls, proclaiming to the students of today that tomorrow, it could be them.

A lifelong Dallasite, Ellis got his start teaching guitar at the once-popular McCord Music store. He was looking for a job, and the store was looking for an instructor.

Terrill Gardner was McCord’s master teacher at the time, and put the same magic in Ellis’ fingers that he now imparts to his students. A self-proclaimed “unorthodox-radical teacher,” Ellis begins by teaching his students the guitar chords that are easiest for the hand instead of the ones most widely played.

This way, he explains, students advance developmentally through the fingers as they gain strength. While Ellis has enjoyed a life of playing music, it is teaching that is his true passion.

“I want to teach music,” Ellis beams. “I love what I do, and I love working with kids.”

For more information, visit ellismusiclessons.com.