Thursday, Jan 29, 2015
Travel & Leisure

Knowing the score

KIM DAME Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 12:58 PM

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Most would agree that the impact of music, in any capacity, is immeasurable. It narrows generation gaps, bonds cultures, bridges differences in people and provides outlets for broken or wounded hearts. And you don't have to play the guitar, write lyrics, compete on American Idol or dance in the New York City Ballet to benefit from all it has to offer.

But if you wanted to learn to play an instrument, receive vocal coaching, get your instrument repaired, or record a demo CD, your best bet might be a trip to All About Music in Spring Hill.

As the name implies, All About Music caters to most music-related passions. They offer lessons in guitar, drums, woodwinds, strings, brass, piano, voice and harp. They also sell and rent instruments, carry various parts and accessories, and do instrument repair. And they have a full state-of-the-art recording studio in-house.

All About Music originated from the dream of two former Nature Coast Technical High School teachers, chorus instructor Scott Tilson and band director Merritt Tilson. In 2006, the couple was impacted by the closing of a Brooksville icon, Makin' Music, which closed after the owners retired. The store had been the lifeline for local musicians.

"I read an article about the store's closing," Tilson said, "and I remember thinking 'who's going to service the community. Who's going to take care of the kids' needs."

With no prior knowledge of running a music store, the Tilsons relied on their extensive background and talent in music. "I have a Masters in Vocal Performance with a passion for Opera," Tilson said.

He did, however, spend a good portion of his working life in business and management related careers. "I had some business background," he said. "But I never dreamt of opening a music store. They were always two separate things. There was what you do to pay the bills and then there was the music. It was an interesting concept to be able to marry the two."

After spending a lot of time researching dynamics, they determined Spring Hill was where they needed to be. All About Music opened on Spring Hill Drive in a building about half the size of its current location. "We actually wanted this storefront but it wasn't available." Tilson said.

The first year was a challenge. "We started with nothing but a dream and a location. A little too late for the band rental season, but our reputation for quality instruction created an immediate following," he remembered.

Lessons, he said, were always the main focus of the store and still are. In fact, the store's legal name is All About Music Lessons. But as they became known and their student base grew, they molded their services to include so much more.

"When we first opened in our old location, we only utilized a small portion of our space and built on as the need arose. We eventually reached eight teaching rooms with a retail storefront," Tilson said.

In a twist of fate, their original choice for the store became available. All About Music moved to 4045 Mariner Blvd. in June 2009 where they continue to build on a very firm foundation.

They currently employ 14 instructors and have 150 students enrolled. "We have an amazing group of teachers," Tilson said, all with extensive training and educational backgrounds. At least two attended the Juilliard School at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

"We have been blessed to provide music instruction to over 800 families in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus Counties over the years," Tilson said.

Students range in age from five years to 70 years with varying degrees of skill. "Anyone can learn to play or sing," said Tilson. "It's usually not the student's inability or desire. It has more to do with the ability of the teacher to connect with the student that makes the difference."

All About Music has different instructors for different instruments. "Most of our teachers are degreed and extremely proficient in their instrument," Tilson explained. "That way you have the education coupled with the practical experience. That makes for a really good result."

Josh Looman, a guitar instructor for All About Music, is also an active, performing musician. "Musicians learn to play by ear, by music, or by theory," Looman said. It all comes down to the right fit between instructor and student.

Both Tilson and Looman agree that the benefits of adding music to a child's learning platform is immeasurable. Music opens the pathways to brain development, enhancing the ability to multi-task.

"When you're playing, your eyes are forward, moving ahead, hands are busy assessing the next movement, all in a split second," Tilson explained. "Fast thinking demands concentration."

The recording studio, which operates under the name I AAM Records Music Publishing, offers arranging, recording, production and mastering. The impressive facility is directed under Mike Rea, whose experience was grounded in some of the industry's best known acts under labels like Capital Records, Columbia Productions and Atlantic Records.

Finally, its impressive repair shop services many school band programs in Hernando and surrounding counties. "We are also the go-to shop for private players looking for quality service and quick turn-around," Tilson added.

All About Music is, without question, all about the music.

All About Music is open Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Name: All About Music

Address: 4045 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill, FL 34609

Telephone: 352-683-3555

Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame can be reached at

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