Lemon Street Music may have undergone a “makeover” with their recent transition into a new building while picking up the name Lakeland School of Music. But the same heart that started one of Lakeland’s premier music schools continues to transcend into this business’ exciting new season of growth.
Announcing Lakeland School of Music
Shane and Chalis Butler are the owners of Lakeland School of Music (formerly Lemon Street Music), one of Lakeland’s premier music schools which has been evolving over the past 10 years. Shane recounts his early years as a young, developing musician. He relates how he felt limited in his art, and that going back to school to better understand music was vital to his growth as a musician.
“I got serious about studying music and recognized how important formal study really was,” he says. That’s when he enrolled in music classes at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, and then continued his studies at Southeastern University where he graduated in 2008. He also notes the importance of coupling the study of music with practical, hands-on experience. “Growing up as a kid, I played in bands, and that was a big thing. That’s an aspect that I think is important — to just play,” Shane says. “I didn’t have a formal education in the beginning, but I had a passion for music and creativity, so I just did it.”
Since then, Lakeland School of Music has grown to include 250 students and 15 instructors. The studio offers weekly lessons including guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, violin, flute, ukulele, jam bands, and more. They teach in a variety of genres as well, including rock, pop, worship, jazz, country, blues, and classical. These classes are taught by qualified instructors, all of whom are required to have college training or professional performance experience.
Shane and Chalis met in 2005 when they were both teaching for BlueNoche Music Academy. Shortly after they met, Chalis traveled abroad to study worship leadership at Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. Returning in 2008, she re-settled in Lakeland and in 2011, she opened her own teaching studio in downtown Lakeland, called Play Me A Song. Shane and Chalis reconnected around this time, and although they were now competitors, they were able to work together and maintain a good friendship. In 2014, they were married and so were able to join forces. They combined their studios to form Lemon Street Music (now Lakeland School of Music).
“We want to help instill a passion for music. We want them to get excited about it.”
In a continued effort to grow and refine the studio, the school recently received a huge overhaul with a new name and location. Lemon Street Music officially moved to 115 West Oak Drive, across from Southgate Publix, and took on the name Lakeland School of Music. “We’ve outgrown the current facility,” Shane says. The new facility has almost twice the square footage of the space they previously occupied. This new space provides a more central location for clients and additional lesson rooms for students. The new name also pays more homage to the city Shane says greatly influenced him.
So, what sets Lakeland School of Music apart from other music schools?
“It’s not about being in a classroom; it’s so much more than that,” Shane says. The Lakeland School of Music emphasizes the importance of gaining a thorough knowledge of the language of music. “From a practical standpoint, we want them to come away with a real understanding of music, knowing the vocabulary and the lingo. We want them to know how to read music and to be prepared to pursue a college music degree if they want to.”
However, Shane also believes that the students’ success depends not only on their academic understanding of music, but on their engagement with it. “Let’s not just learn in a classroom all the time. Let’s try to get out there; share your gift with the world,” Shane says. Lakeland School of Music desires to raise up and equip their students to be successful artists, and one of the main ways they accomplish this is by giving them plenty of opportunities to perform. “It gives them motivation. It gives them something to always look forward to,” Shane says. “We see the dynamic in the performances. They are watching their peers play. They’re seeing people who have been in the program for years, and it gives them the perspective to see what they’re capable of doing, too.”
In addition to giving students a tangible goal to obtain, performances instill in them the confidence to thrive in what would oftentimes be an intimidating environment. “When you perform in front of an audience, there’s a whole other set of skills you need to have,” Shane says.
Lakeland School of Music students will often play in various events in the community, like Explorations V’s annual Children’s Day event and the Downtown Farmers Curb Market. Some of the students have also performed the national anthem at Florida Tropics’ games. Students also perform at Open Mic events that are regularly hosted by Lakeland School of Music. Studies have shown that learning music enables kids to cultivate social skills, refines their discipline and patience, and boosts their self-esteem. “I think consistency, building trust, honoring the kids, and trying to be positive role models are all big elements along with the music,” Shane adds.
In addition to their emphasis on performance, Lakeland School of Music also continues to thrive in our community because of their intentionality with each student. “We want to help instill in every student a passion for music. We want them to get excited about it,” Shane says. One way they do this is to meet the students where they are. “A lot of times we find out what type of music they’re into and then we custom-tailor the lessons based on what they like.” This allows students to learn music they actually like and gives them motivation to keep growing.
“The biggest thing is that they know they are valuable and that they have had someone constantly pouring into their lives week after week, and pouring into who they are, whether they become a great musician or not.”
The instructors try to find ways to make a connection with their students, striving to always start each class on a personal level. “We try to let them know they are valuable, loved, and accepted no matter what,” Shane says. When it comes to music, some people have a natural ability and natural gift. And these people will often take this gift and create a career out of it.”
However, no matter what students decide to do with their music skills, Lakeland School of Music aims for every one of them to walk away with an understanding of their value and worth. “The biggest thing is that they know they are valuable and that they have had someone constantly pouring into their lives week after week, and pouring into who they are, whether they become a great musician or not,” Shane says.
Lakeland School of Music teaches over 12,000 lessons annually and has a 100-percent success rate for students auditioning into the Harrison School for the Arts’ music program for jazz piano, jazz guitar, upright bass, and voice. “Any time we’ve had a student let us know they got into Harrison Arts, that’s a pretty big deal,” Shane says. Many students also go on to being admitted into collegiate programs, and they credit the skills they were equipped with to their classes at Lakeland School of Music. “What they got from us was able to carry them to that next level,” Shane says.
Despite the changes, the values and mission of Lakeland School of Music remain the same — to serve the Lakeland Community through mentorship, quality music instruction, and performance opportunities to students of all ages, making the world more beautiful through the gift of music.
Lakeland School of Music
115 West Oak Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803
863.640.2810 // www.lakelandmusiclessons.com