Open Tone Teaches More Than Just Music

Updated: Feb 16, 2018

By Katie Hickman

Students are being transformed into musicians every week right here in Kenmore.

Open Tone Music Academy began just two years ago with a simple idea: to offer tuition-free music lessons to fifth- through eighth-grade students. What started as a word-of-mouth opportunity has grown to an over 20-student program, featuring three total hours of weekly music training that includes theory, piano, sectionals and group lessons.

“This is no free babysitting service,” said Dennis Reynolds, one of the program’s directors. “This is a conservatory for students who are serious about music and want to study it on a high level.”

Reynolds said students are dedicated to their music; giving up their Saturday morning to go to Open Tone Academy because they want to.

Additionally, their learning extends far beyond simple As and Bs.;

“It’s more than just reading music. It’s learning integrity. Learning how to work together. Learning how to empathize in a way other disciplines don’t teach. These kids are gaining character,” said Matt Garrett, the program’s director.

Between Open Tone and Live Music Now, music opportunities are erupting in Kenmore, bringing a little extra “soul” to the Boulevard District. When asked the impact music can have on Kenmore, Dennis responded, “Revitalization in the Kenmore community starts with these kids.”

Open Tone Music plans to expand this unique opportunity in the next few years, starting with an intense summer music camp in June, potential programing for high school students, a recital series, expanding the academy’s size and even branching out into other art areas.

For now, join Matt Garrett and his horn-blowing friends, the Open Tone All-Stars, every first Thursday of the month at Live Music Now!, 952 Kenmore Blvd. For more information, visit

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