Photography by Jessica Turner.
The Lake Highlands School of Music band is making some noise at Oktoberfest Dallas this year.
The group practices every Saturday with director of music Michael Boss. He joined the team in 2017, when the music school transitioned to a brick-and-mortar setup. The company has since moved to the Creekside shopping center at Abrams Road and Skillman Street.
Boss met owner and executive director Zach Galindo as part of a failed country band. After hearing Boss play, Galindo brought him on as the person to take over his roughly 40 students when he transitioned to a more administrative role. The Lake Highlands School of Music now enrolls nearly 200 students, with a growing staff to match.
The school’s bands range in ability, with beginner, intermediate and a few advanced levels available to students. They largely play covers on guitars, drums, keys and vocals, using sheet music written by Lake Highlands School of Music staff.
“These kids practice together week after week after week,” says Corey Bowe, the director of operations. “They function as a group. They play gigs. They handle some of their own logistics. It’s very much a musician-training program.”
The school also offers one-on-one and group training for piano, guitar, drums and voice.
Galindo began teaching music lessons while touring as lead guitarist with country band Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward for a little over a decade. He taught just about every instrument he could to have some supplemental income flowing.
“We all sort of worked together to form, I would call it, a mildly impoverished existence,” Galindo says.
The school has had to adapt, and some of its biggest changes took place over the last few years. Galindo tackled the pandemic with a variety of innovations, including online schooling and sound tunnels within the school for distanced learning.
Now, calls are rolling in to get students into music lessons. Kids as young as 3 and adults as old as 70 make their way in on a regular basis.
Each student who walks in the door has different goals and learning styles, and with a variety of teachers and teaching techniques, the school has a fit for them. Even those who don’t stay long enough to master an instrument get to begin to learn the language of music and have a new skill and appreciation that lasts a lifetime.
“I think music can be really beneficial for everyone,” Galindo says.