Founded on the unique concept of matching private music teachers with students, CMS prides itself on developing and nurturing musical talent.
In tune with the musical aspirations of its growing number of students, California Music Studios is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“Our success and expansion over the past 25 years has been absolutely amazing,” said founder and President Jennifer Paterson. “It’s exciting to see how we’ve evolved and continued to offer a unique service to future singers and musicians throughout Southern California.” Students currently take private music lessons in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
CMS matches qualified music teachers with students of all ages who take classes in singing and a wide range of musical instruments, including piano, guitar, violin, brass, flute and drums. A number of students have established successful musical careers. Former students include singer-songwriter and “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert and Miss California 2010 Arianna Afsar, a former “Idol” contestant and drama student at UCLA. Today, she also works with California Music Studios as an independent, private teacher.
Lessons are held in students’ and private music teachers’ homes, as well as independent studios, depending on students’ needs. CMS sets high standards for its teachers. Before being accepted, instructors are thoroughly screened and undergo a series of extensive face-to-face meetings with CMS staff. “Most of the teachers selected have music degrees,” said Paterson. “Many have had professional recording careers and hold teaching credentials. More than 5,000 potential teachers were screened to create the pool of over 350 teachers we work with today.”
Just as teachers are screened individually, prospective students are interviewed in depth. Over the past 25 years, California Music Studios has placed about 20,000 students. “We help them find the right instrument and teacher,” she said. “This is not an Internet company. We identify what they want and guide them.”
Another unique feature of California Music Studios is its method of helping students track and share their accomplishments. “We hold more than 65 recitals each year,” said Paterson. “We videotape performances, which students keep as a record of their progress.” The recitals also help students gain self-confidence and give them a taste of what it is like to perform in a professional production. They practice diligently before each concert and dress for the occasion. Each venue is decorated with flowers and other lavish touches, and elegant cookies and other refreshments are served. “We always exceed people’s expectations,” said Paterson, “and I like that.”
Paterson’s passion for her work comes from her background as an opera singer and music teacher. She holds degrees from three universities and was principal soprano for the Boston Lyric Opera Company. After teaching voice lessons in Boston, she and her husband moved to Encinitas, near San Diego, in 1987. Paterson continued teaching, and gained so many students she started providing students to other music teachers to help them build their businesses. “Within a year, I was working with more than five,” she said, and the unique business grew into the company it is today.
“It’s been exciting watching the company grow,” said Paterson, “and I think we’re heading into a period of even bigger growth.” She finds her role as the company’s founder and president rewarding “because we’re providing teachers with a way to make a living – but the most important thing we do is create musicians.”