Altitunes, a Wheat Ridge-based music school, is revolutionizing the landscape of local music education with its comprehensive, science-based approach.
Susie Frey and Amy Erhard, co-owners of the school, seek to combine musical education with holistic personal development. This multi-dimensional approach goes beyond the traditional scope of scales and musical notes to foster important life skills.
“A lot of the value is in the life skills learned through music, developing great coping strategies,” Erhard explains. “It takes a lot of discipline to develop skill as a musician, so you’re learning a lot of resilience, sticking with something, problem-solving. On top of that, you’re working with other people, learning teamwork and communication skills.”
The music classes at Altitunes might look like any other, with children swaying, clapping and dancing to lively tunes. But what sets Altitunes apart is the owners’ nuanced understanding of how music influences the brain and body, gleaned from their shared master’s degrees in music therapy. The approach is designed to engage the brain comprehensively, helping students to form new synaptic connections.
Altitunes’ influence reaches beyond its students. The music school also offers an environment where families and individuals can experience the emotional and social benefits of a collective musical experience.
“The community of music can bridge so many gaps,” Frey says, “especially now with a lot of these kids who were born during COVID. Some kids are just so excited to be around people, because they weren’t for the first years of their life.
Both Frey and Erhard have observed numerous milestones in their students’ development, a testament to the impact of their holistic teaching approach.
“It’s amazing to see even a little kiddo that’s nine months old, engaging for 30 minutes in class,” Frey says. “I’ve seen kids crawl for the first time, or walk for the first time, or kids that are really shy move across the room by themselves away from their parents for the first time.”
“The most rewarding thing is seeing kids grow up and turn into awesome humans and knowing you have a small part in that,” Erhard adds. “It’s all about the development of the students and the relationships you build with them and their families.”
Recent additions to Altitunes’ repertoire include outdoor classes at Sloan’s Lake and group piano lessons. Frey and Erhard plan to further expand the school’s services in the coming months, and regardless of what Altitunes’ future offerings look like, the school and its staff have already made a significant impact in the Wheat Ridge community.
Altitunes is located at 5630 W. 29th Ave., Wheat Ridge; visit www.altitunes.net.