Spotlight on Success: Aireloom Music Studio
Mary Ley, owner of Aireloom Music Studio in Mt. Morris has been influenced by music throughout her life. Mary states, "I never imagined that at 8 or 9 years old and strumming my dad's old guitar in the basement would lead to me running a music studio today." From humble beginnings volunteering at a Retreat House and then on to teaching guitar to children with physical disabilities, Mary has come a long way. “Over the years, I continue to come back to the healing qualities of music. It helps Alzheimer’s patients remember and allows us to express emotion that we can’t otherwise express verbally. Music is able to bring it all out!”
After her children were grown, Mary wanted to continue to use her music to help ease the suffering of others. She began recording music, studying old, forgotten hymns, and learning new instruments. She also began teaching lessons in her home. Soon, the high demand for lessons meant she needed to find a space better suited for her musical needs.
Kathryn Stauffer, a talented violin player, quickly became a dear friend and business partner in the creation of Aireloom Music Studios. "We chose to rent a building in Mt. Morris in late 2014 because the entire town of Mt. Morris has such a charm about it.” Mary explains. “It’s such a lovely musical town that we wanted to help it grow and come back to life."
Aireloom Music Studio had been so successful since opening its doors in 2014 that it had to relocate to a larger location. Through the Encore! Mt. Morris group, Mary was introduced to Dave Buchen, Director of the SBDC at SVCC. “Dave has been so helpful and encouraging. He’s really encouraged me in my business and I feel like he’s taken us under his wing. I think of him as a business mentor. He’s taught me about grants, loans and encouraged me to participate in the NIU EIGERlab FastPitch competition.” From competing. Mary learned to not give up, embrace the change and recognize that Aireloom Music Studio had outgrown their space. “This entire experience with SBDC has been so cathartic. I feel like I can become bigger, that there’s no ceiling, and I can do things that I never thought possible.”
“We have six instructors and we teach: Bagpipes, Banjo, Ukulele, Violin, Viola, Mandolin, Piano, Voice, Harp, Flute, Alto Sax, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Drums, Harmonica, Indian Flutes, Penny Whistles. The list just keeps growing. We are able to fix every instrument that we teach and soon, we’ll be making instruments from recycled materials & helping our community at the same time! That’s where our name comes from: “Aire” everything that we do has to flow. It has to flow through the air, our hearts, our souls, our minds, and through everything that we do. If it’s not: then we’re just not doing our jobs!”
Visit Aireloom Music Studio’s new location at 122 S. Wesley Ave in Mt. Morris, IL. They are located on the 3rd floor of the historical college campus, Old Sandstone, where they are a center for the arts. Encore! Mt. Morris’ art gallery is on the first floor. “The college campus was originally a place for the arts, music and law. We’re bringing it all back together. We stayed in Mt. Morris because this is our home. We love our musical community and this is where we belong.”
To find out more about Aireloom Music Studio check them out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AireloomMusicStudio/ or their webpage: http://www.aireloommusic.com/