Danny Williams, musician and owner of the new Lexington Music Lab, has been teaching a long list of instruments to students for nearly 15 years.
Williams, a member of several bands himself – including the Barry Mando Project – began teaching lessons at students’ homes. As his teaching business grew, he joined the crew at Willcutt Guitars on Rosemont Garden.
“I had a fantastic time over there. …We were doing a Rock Band program there that does really well and was a lot of fun, but I had other ideas that I was wanting to try,” Williams said.
“In the last couple years, I just kind of wanted to branch out on my own just to see if I could do it. My student base was getting bigger and I was having a lot of ideas, and I wanted to try it out,” he added.
So, Williams decide to start his own business. He found a studio space on Plaza Drive and opened the Lexington Music Lab in early April.
Williams’ favorite instrument to play and teach is the mandolin, but he also offers lessons teaching bass, guitar, ukulele, drums, voice and music theory.
Though Williams teaches mostly one-on-one, he is open to teaching group classes on theory or composition if he “can drum up enough interest,” he said.
Part of Danny’s more “laid-back” approach to teaching is letting the students bring in music that they like and want to learn to play, he said. He also wants to expand the types of bands created as part of the Music Lab’s Rock Band program.
“I want to do more than just rock. Bluegrass, jazz, whatever – if someone wanted to do just Dave Matthews or Foo Fighters, or old country,” Williams said. “I’ve played all that music and I’ve taught it all. So it would be a lot of fun to have different groups.”
Williams held his first clinic at the Music Lab – featuring local “guitar god” Ben Lacy – shortly after he opened the doors on April 7. Williams plans to hold clinics monthly, the next of which is scheduled for May 12 and will feature musician Willie Eames, a member of the Tall Boys band.
All of Williams’ students followed him to his new space, including his Rock Band program group, the Flash Flood Dreamers.
“I have a good relationship with my students. I do one-on-one lessons and I really get to know them and become really good friends with some of them,” Williams said.
Williams sometimes performs with students, and he has even started a band with one of his students whom he has taught for about six years.
“I’ve done gigs with some of them, which is really nice to come full circle,” Williams said. “It’s really cool to have that camaraderie.”
And Williams’ ability to connect with students doesn’t go unnoticed.
“My son wouldn’t play with anyone else,” said Paula Halcomb, who’s son Max, 18, plays guitar and sings for the Flash Flood Dreamers and has taken lessons with Williams for six years.
Heather Flemm’s son, Christian, 13, also plays guitar and sings in the Flash Flood Dreamers, a name the boys came up with themselves once Williams put them together as part of the Rock Band program.
“He takes kids of all abilities and tries to match kids on each other’s levels,” Flemm said. “They are kids from different schools, different ages, different personalities. But it just works.”
Williams agreed that his group of young musicians “just clicked,” he said.
“We put students together and hope that something sparks and they take off and want to do something. And this band had that happen,” Williams said.
Though the Flash Flood Dreamers’ abilities “clicked” when they came together, Williams spends much time working with the band and instructing all of his students.
In addition to teaching about 25 to 30 hours a week, Williams performs on average three to four gigs a week and rehearses at least once a week. Williams and his wife, have a 3 month-old daughter, Stella Rose, and a 3-year-old son, Jay Morgan.
“Danny obviously loves what he does. … He spends a lot of time with (his students),” Flemm said. “And for him to give up his time with his kids says a lot.”
The Flash Flood Dreamers, which also includes drummer Dylan Edmon, 16, and bassist Adeel Ahme, 15, will continue to rehearse with Williams until they perform, along with other Rock Band groups from Willcutt Guitars, at Natasha’s on May 20.
“The big gig is really rewarding,” Williams said. “It’s so much fun to see them up there rocking it out … and it gets packed in there.”
Music fans can also catch Williams performing with the Barry Mando Project at ONeil’s on April 26 and Lynaugh’s on April 27, or on Wednesday nights in May at Parlay Social.
For more information or to inquire about lessons, visit the Lexington Music Lab’s Facebook page.