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Cool Schools: Music school in Arvada teaches more than playing notes

Deeply Rooted Music School uses innovation to create a community of well-rounded musicians.

ARVADA, Colo. — An independent after-school program called Deeply Rooted Music School (DRMS) is capturing the ears of music students across the Denver metro area.

Former Jeffco Public Schools elementary music teachers Joel Zigman and Sam Goodman founded DRMS because they were looking for a space where they could be more creative with their lesson plans.

“We challenge traditional music education that’s really repertoire-focused and focused on reading the music and playing the right notes,” Goodman said. “That was something that taught the joy of music out of Joel and I.”

“I want it to be a student-driven curriculum,” Zigman said. “So, I want my students to come in with their own goals and their own things that they want to do, and we sort of build around that.”

Credit: Byron Reed
Credit: Byron Reed
Deeply Rooted Music School co-owner Sam Goodman

Goodman has a music background playing classical violin, and Zigman comes from the composition and writing side of music. Both teach piano, guitar and songwriting as part of their curriculum.

The goal of DRMS is to provide a space where students can freely express themselves and have access to high-quality music technology and instruction, they said.

Credit: Byron Reed
Deeply Rooted Music School co-owner Joel Zigman teaches a virtual guitar lesson.

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“Nowadays, you really need to be a well-rounded musician,” Goodman said. “In our professional lives as musicians, we’re proficient on our instruments, but we also use a lot of technology (and) we create all the time, so I think it’s huge just to be able to have all that under one roof.”

DRMS teaches about 50 students how to write, play and record music in a space that’s based on motivation. Zigman said they named lesson rooms after musicians and artists they admire.

Credit: Byron Reed

“We have Robert Moog practice room, who was a pioneer mathematician and synthesizer creator, the John Coltrane room, and we’ve got the Joanie Mitchell room,” Zigman said. “It’s been important to me to introduce my students to role models that look like them, or to a diverse set of role models, so they’re not just seeing Beethoven and Bach or even The Beatles.”

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According to DRMS, music is a vehicle for self-expression, confidence, discipline, innovative thinking and problem-solving skills, along with behavioral and emotional growth.

Goodman and Zigman said the creative thinking and expressive skills developed in music education are invaluable assets in the workforce and in college success.

Credit: Byron Reed

“You don’t have to be a virtuoso on your instrument or be able to play something perfectly, but just find a place for music in your life,” Goodman said.

“What a powerful moment that is for our students where ‘I get to be loud in front of lots of people,’ and I think that confidence-building, that self-esteem, there’s really nothing that can replace that than in the performing arts,” Zigman said.

Both co-founders agree that they want to turn out well-rounded musicians who want to learn more than just notes.

Credit: Byron Reed

“I think all of that exposure to music in general and music education has been huge, and I think kids love coming and seeing all the stuff and being able to come record themselves in the studio or watch a lesson that’s going on in another room,” Goodman said.

Credit: Byron Reed

“I want them to feel like they have an identity as a musician,” Zigman said. “And that music is a safe place that they can go to.”

For more information, click here: https://www.deeplyrootedmusic.com.

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