David's Guitar Goes Back to the Loft
David’s Guitar Loft is returning to its old strumming grounds in the Old Orchard Business District.
David Mark opened his first music lesson studio in the Old Orchard neighborhood back in 2000. He called the place David’s Guitar Loft because the business was situated on the second floor over The Grove Deli.
That original studio quickly became too small and the business was moved to larger quarters on West Lockwood in 2003. The “loft” name still stuck even though the studio was on the ground floor. This month David’s Guitar Loft is moving back to Old Orchard, just a few doors down from The Grove Deli at 8136 Big Bend Blvd. And yes, they’re bringing back the loft. The studio will occupy both floors of the two-story building.
David Mark’s wife and co-owner Lara Mark said that first and foremost, the focus of David’s Guitar Loft’s is teaching music. Other stores offer lessons simply as an afterthought.
“Most (stores) are retail stores, and then they open up a room (to teach),” she said of the competition. “We’re a teaching store that supports our students.”
Her husband David started playing guitar as a child and has been at it for 24 years now. She said he worked his way through college by teaching guitar, but surprisingly, he wasn’t a music major. Instead he pursued a degree in computer information systems.
But once he got into the workforce, he found out that computer science wasn’t as enjoyable as teaching music. He worked for music schools around the city, teaching and creating lesson plans. But that, too, wasn’t enough.
“We decided to do it for ourselves—we wanted to do it our way,” Lara said.
They opened David’s Guitar Loft as a teaching studio that offered hour-long lessons, not the standard 30-minute lessons students find at other music stores. David felt that limiting lessons to a half hour was short-changing the students and that it didn’t give enough for review, questions and tackling new material.
David offers lessons for $40 a session and now has a dozen instructors who can teach guitar, bass, mandolin, drums and keyboards in many different styles from classical to rock. The teachers bounce between their Webster Groves and Fenton locations.
“Most teachers have a masters, and we’re very picky about who we hire,” Lara said. “These guys all love music and have a passion for it.”
Every student is invited to participate in a weekly improv session to learn listening skills, timing and figuring out how to improvise. Lara pointed out that no one picks up the guitar or drums to be soloist—they want to be able to play in a band.
David’s Guitar Loft holds monthly jam session at the Highway 61 Roadhouse Kitchen, which will be within walking distance of the new store.