Music school expands its range

A longtime local music school, known for its methods to teach pitch to toddlers, is expanding.

TeVelde Music Inc. — founded in 1997 by Bonnie teVelde of San Luis Obispo — opened its second location on South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo this summer and will open teaching centers in Atascadero and Orcutt early next year. The original location is on Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande.

The school’s attendance and revenue has grown more than 300 percent over the past three years, teVelde said, though she declined to provide specific financial details.

The school has more than 200 students and employs the equivalent of 12 full-time instructors.

The San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande locations have five classrooms each.

The school’s attrition rate is 22 percent, teVelde said, which she says is significantly lower than the average music school. She attributes the school’s growth and student retention to time spent examining each student’s particular personality and pairing him or her with the right instrument and teacher.

Half of teVelde Music’s students are preschool-age youngsters learning the “tap method” she developed to teach absolute pitch while toddlers are still in a critical period of auditory and cognitive development.

TeVelde’s parents were Dutch immigrants and musicians whose first piece of furniture in the United States was an organ. She has taught music for 30 years.