When David Reedy wanted to start a major independent private piano studio after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, his piano teachers were skeptical.
A pianist with a music degree who studied with four-hand piano specialists Dallas Weekley and Nancy Arganbright, Reedy wanted to teach piano as a career in a professional studio and knew he could be successful.
Reedy, an Arcadia, Wis., native, said he had the UW-L business department conduct a study about the feasibility of a studio in the La Crosse area.
He found no independent studios in the area, and knew music studios were popping up all over the United States. More parents also were having their children taking music lessons at an early age.
Soon after college graduation, Reedy opened Reed Music Studio.
After 25 years, Reed Music Studio is a successful, flourishing business looking to grow. The studio is marking its 25th anniversary this week with its annual honors recital on Sunday, Oct. 7.
The studio is the largest independent music studio in the La Crosse area with 15 instructors and more than 400 students taking lessons in piano, strings, guitar and flute.
“I go full forward in every project I do, and I decided the studio was the right move,” Reedy said. “The mantra was always professional instruction in a professional, attractive atmosphere with top quality instruments and well-trained teachers.”
Reedy opened a piano studio with 30 students in the fall of 1987 in the King on Fifth building in La Crosse. He is now in his fourth location in a suite across from Manny’s Restaurant on Midwest Drive in Onalaska.
“We’re pleased with the success, but we’re always trying to do the next new thing,” Reedy said. “We’re outgrowing our space, but we still have the best visibility we’ve ever had. So I’m looking at a satellite branch in south La Crosse some day.”
Over a quarter of a century, Reed Music Studios has held hundreds of recitals for hundreds of students and 22 honors recitals.
“I now have former students of mine bring their children to the studio for lessons, which is a great honor,” Reedy said.
The 48-year-old Reedy has taught more than 50 students every week for 25 years. He has had more than 50 of his personal students become first-place winners in the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association state competition.
Two adult students, Janet Roth and Ann Rice, have studied with Reedy for all 25 years.
Rice and Roth played piano as children and were interested in studying at a private studio. Roth played bassoon in the UW-L symphony in 1985 when the orchestra and Reedy performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
“David is fun, easy going, but he expects a lot from you,” Roth said. “Ann and I have done four-hand piano together. One of my goals was to perform a piano concerto with the UW-L symphony.”
Roth played Mozart’s No. 23 concerto with the UW-L symphony in 1991.
Rice, a Sparta, Wis., piano teacher, wanted to keep learning and performing at a high level.
“It’s fun taking piano lessons with David,” Rice said. “I don’t feel pressure. He accepts my abilities and pushes me forward.
“I’m constantly being challenged,” she said. “Piano keeps your mind sharp, and I do enjoy it. If I didn’t take lessons, I just might not sit down and play piano.”
After teaching many children, Reedy said he enjoys teaching adults.
“With adults, there’s a comfort zone and they become friends,” Reedy said. “Both Janet and Ann are dedicated and play at a very advanced level. They have played most of the major repertoire, and it keeps me on my toes.”
Rice even sits for Reedy’s dog, Rachmaninoff, when he leaves town.
“You build up relationships over time,” Reedy said.
Reedy said he considers the 25th anniversary “an accomplishment, milestone and the start of something new.
“I always wanted my own business, and I have led an alarm-free life since lessons are in the afternoon and evening,” Reedy said.
In June 2002, Reedy sold a partnership in his business to Rita Schuman, who taught at his studio.
“Rita had wonderful skills for business and was a good fit for us,” Reedy said. “She is professional and well organized.”
Schuman, who teaches 40 students (including seven adults), said the studio was an ideal place for her. “I like everything about the studio,” she said. “It has an excellent faculty, and it’s a pleasant place to be.
“The business continues to grow,” she said. “Piano has been dominant, but I’d like to see the instrumental program grow.”