After meeting at neighboring schools, the two left their jobs and came together to launch Deeply Rooted Music School. Now they're opening a physical location in Arvada, nestled in a nondescript strip mall next to a scuba supply store, a Czech restaurant, a DJ school and an accounting service.
Goodman says Deeply Rooted will revolve around the passion and creation of music. “We both come from pretty strict classical backgrounds, and we both found that it kind of teaches the passion out of you," he explains. "I grew up playing violin since I was five. Honestly, I didn’t love it until I got to college and I got a little more freedom and really started to foster that creativity and love for it.”
Zigman agrees that he and Goodman didn’t really come to love music until they learned to write their own, and that’s part of the philosophy they want to bring to the school. Zigman, who has a degree in music education, found that most people focus on performing or go into teaching band or choir. Neither appealed to him.
“I like working with other musicians,” Zigman says. “I like writing music. I like the idea of playing and having it be this collaborative thing.”
Goodman acknowledges that becoming technically proficient is an important part of the learning process, and that might include studying Mozart or Beethoven. But he also wants kids to be able to learn and play music that might be more relevant for them than that of the old composers. It makes it more fun, and they'll learn more in the end.
“I was, you know, ten and playing Mozart or whatever," he says. "If I knew that I could play music that I was listening to, I think that might have made me like music more."
Goodman remembers that being a solo violinist always felt isolating; he sees the school as a place where the kids can come together, jam, compose and maybe even have a band by the time they walk out the door. The teachers hope to put kids together in groups that play to their strengths in addition to offering one-on-one lessons.
“The collaborative aspect is something we will definitely be hitting on,” Goodman says.
He and Zigman believe their school benefits from the fact that its owners are both musicians. They see their own professional backgrounds as a way to make the experience better for the kids and for the teachers they employ. Music schools can have high turnover, and they want to see their school keep people for the long haul.
“Other schools I’ve worked at or know of, the administrators and the owners, they’re not musicians,” Zigman says. “It’s a business. … We want this to be a place where our teachers work long term. We want to create an atmosphere where it’s a community.”
The two currently plan to offer lessons in guitar, piano, bass, drums, brass, violin, cello and electronic music production. Staff will teach songwriting classes and workshops geared toward ages five to twelve, but there will be some adult students, too.
The school will host regular recitals where students can show off their growing skills, and will offer a full recording studio where kids can record their music and learn the ins and outs of the recording process. Goodman and Zigman also plan to have rows of computer stations for students — something that sets the school apart from traditional music schools.
“We have a big, big focus on technology,” notes Goodman. “That’s just something that drives both of our teaching. Music production and teaching recording is very important to us.”
A shortcoming baked into a lot of music education, they say, is a reliance on old, dead white composers. Even schools that teach more contemporary music can lean heavily into music from the 1960s by bands populated by white men. Goodman and Zigman want to teach their kids that the history of music is so much richer and includes women and people of color.
“We're trying to name our rooms right now,” Goodman says. “We’ve gotten a lot of suggestions from instructors about having women composers and people of color represented.”
“The Florence Price room is a possibility,” Zigman says. “The Nina Simone piano room — that’s one I’m rooting for.”
Deeply Rooted will be a welcoming place for kids and adults of all identities, and Zigman and Goodman say they'll help kids with social and emotional learning. For example, a shy kid might learn how to sing loudly in a crowded room, which can ripple into his social and home lives. Zigman, who is transgender, couldn’t be open about his identity as an elementary school teacher. He went through a period of deciding whether to leave teaching so he could be himself. Ultimately, he did.
“I can be as out as I want,” he says. “Our staff can be as out as they want, and our students can be whoever they are and come in and be able to have a role model.”
Deeply Rooted Music School is located at 6636 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada. A grand opening is set for October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out Deeply Rooted Music online for more information.