THANK YOU TO THE FAUQUIER TIMES FOR INCLUDING SOUND HOUSE IN A RECENT FEATURE ON REMINGTON BUSINESSES.
by Liam Bowman
Local musician Maddi Mae worked as a music instructor at private schools and studios for over a decade before opening her own studio in January 2021.
At Sound House, Mae offers lessons in guitar, bass, vocals, ukulele and songwriting. And one of the best parts of the job, she said, is watching her students grow as musicians. “I’m genuinely happy to just spend time sharing music with them because I understand firsthand how music can be a safe space for big personal growth,” said Mae. “Whether a student is exercising their brain and body by learning a new instrument … or just trying to make more space for peace and joy in their life, I take pride in offering Sound House as a safe place for that growth.”
In addition to teaching, Mae is a songwriter and frequently performs live in the area. In 2020, she released her debut album Quiet Corners.
Full Unpublished interview
-When did you open Sound House?
January 2021. I got the keys on the first and welcomed my existing clients into the studio a week later.
-After years of teaching music elsewhere, what’s it like running your own business?
I’ve been running my own business for a decade now. As a music educator for private schools and studios, I’ve operated as an independent contractor. The primary difference is that now I can invest the income more efficiently to improve my services rather than relying on a studio or school with diverse interests to focus specifically on a quality music education experience for my students and for me, as the teacher. My primary investment is in maintaining a spacious, ultra-clean, comfortable, and safe studio environment for my students and clients. My secondary investments involve professional development and sourcing equipment and software.
–How often do you teach there? Do you have any other day jobs?
I teach and consult Monday through Friday at Sound House, by appointment only. “Musician and Music Educator” has been my sole job title for a decade now. In addition to teaching and consulting, I write, record, and perform.
-How many students do you have?
I’m working with 20+ private students a week, with a waitlist. I’ll have additional availability in November and will likely welcome 2-3 new students.
-What is the community like on Main St. with all those businesses so close together?
The other business owners in Remington have been welcoming, warm, and kind. Steve Campbell operates the barber shop next to Sound House and plays music on the side; we always have nice little chats between students and clients. I order sandwiches from The Corner Deli frequently; last week I forgot to pick up my order because I got busy with a recording session, and Stan, the owner, brought it to my door. Pam, the owner of The Garden Gate, maintains planters full of gorgeous flowers all down East Main Street, including the freshly planted pansies I noticed last night right in front of my space. James Steele of Farmers Insurance hosted an event in the spring during which he offered fellow business owners free car washes and meals from a food truck parked behind the Town Hall. The folks at Groves Hardware helped me find the right screws to hang up my sign. There have been so many of these acts of welcome and kindness, and I’m happy to be a new member of this community.
-When did you first start teaching music? What do you like about the work?
I first started teaching professionally in 2011. I’m a professional musician actively navigating the music industry, learning by doing and constantly challenging myself to earn new skills and knowledge. Mentoring other career-oriented musicians gives me the opportunity to synthesize and share these skills and knowledge effectively. And with students who aren’t hell-bent on a music career, I’m genuinely happy to just spend time sharing music with them because I understand firsthand how music can be a safe space for big personal growth. Whether a student is exercising their brain and body by learning a new instrument, digging deeper into their thoughts and feelings through songwriting, confronting fears to find their singing voice, or just trying to make more space for peace and joy in their life, I take pride in offering Sound House as a safe place for that growth.
-With Sound House, have you found what you want to do? Or is there more you’re aiming for as a musician?
I am my best self when I am sharing music with students and clients. But I’m expanding the boundaries of my best self when I’m writing, recording, and performing. I put out a record called Quiet Corners about a year ago. It’s been streamed 85K+ times in 75+ countries since it’s release. I got invested in those numbers for a while, but soon learned that good stats are often a flash in the pan. I think there’s sometimes an expectation that musicians should be hungry for fame and fortune, but that’s often just not the case. I’m hungry to be a musicians’ musician, a master of my craft with a track record of hard work and dedication. 500+ shows in, I feel motivated by musician friends who have played thousands of shows. After twenty-five years of musicianship, I’ve still got so much to learn. In music, I’ll never run out of room to grow. Recently, I’ve been levelling up the quality of my self-recorded demos as I work on fleshing out about a dozen songs for future release.
-What are the pros and cons of growing a business in a small town?
Small towns are all I’ve ever known, so it’d be impossible for me to offer a well-balanced perspective. But I’ll say that in a small town, local government, fellow local businesses, and many local residents are personally invested in the success of a new business. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” as they say. Folks have shared with me that having Sound House thriving in Remington feels like another indicator of growth, of change, and of opportunity. I’m proud to be a part of Remington as a business owner now, and I look forward to welcoming other new businesses as they move to East Main Street.