It’s About More Than Just the Tunes at Fortville Music Garage
Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Robby Berry
There is no doubt that playing a musical instrument can be beneficial to young children. It can help children with motor skills, coordination, and emotional and behavioral development.
Krista and Zack Schuyler recognized the benefits music offered to their own children and wanted to share that with the community of Fortville. The couple opened Fortville Music Garage (FMG) in November of 2020.
“We came to Fortville and fell in love with the community,” Krista Schuyler says. “We knew we wanted to do something in this community to make a difference. We took Zack’s passion for teaching and decided to open Fortville Music Garage.”
She says the space fell into their lap, and the rest was destiny. Zack serves as lead instructor and teaches lessons in drums, guitar, ukulele, piano, bass, voice, orchestra instruments, video editing, music production and more.
FMG doesn’t hire outside instructors but instead promotes students from within the organization through the student-teaching program. The year-long program requires one hour per week of dedication from the student. They are required to be multi-instrumentalists.
“A lot of our students are multi-instrumentalists,” Schuyler says. “The music doesn’t change from instrument to instrument – just the mechanics behind playing it. Every three months, the student receives an evaluation and tuition reimbursement. At the end of the program they can stay on as a full-time instructor. The idea is to transfer our ideas and beliefs to the future generation.”
Krista and Zack’s main priority is the students. They believe developing relationships with their students is just as important as teaching. They see FMG as a mentorship program as well. Schuyler says the studio has students ranging in age from 2 to 70.
“A large portion of our students are in the 8- to 16-year-old age bracket,” she says. “Some of those students need a place to feel safe or to feel like themselves. Our goal is to give them a safe space to be creative.”
Fortville Music Garage caters to all musical levels. Schuyler says they have students who have never picked up an instrument before coming to them, and students who have played for many years looking for advancement.
In addition, students can participate in a student band called Overdrive. The band meets once per week for 45 minutes, and currently consists of 12 to 13 students of varying musical abilities.
The couple also owns Beeline Beverage & Snack in Fortville. The coffee shop operates underneath FMG. It provides students with another area to showcase their musical talent.
“Every Friday night we have an open-mic night,” Schuyler says. “It’s never forced on them, but it does allow them to get their music or talent in front of other people in the community. Many of our students’ parents come into Beeline while waiting on their kids. They’re able to sit down, engage with our parents and take some time to relax. The two businesses have been extremely cohesive.”
The Schuylers are very proud of what they’ve created in Fortville. They describe their students and their families as a tight-knit community. They note that they have very low student turnover, based on their relationships within Fortville.
“I can tell you I’ve made some friends I will have the rest of my life through these two businesses,” Schuyler says. “It’s so cool to see. Zack is so creative and I’m so proud of what he’s done with Fortville Music Garage.”
Zack isn’t the only creative type in the family. The blended family’s four kids all play instruments.
“They all have different levels of interest based on their ages, but we have quite the crew,” Schuyler says. “One is a talented vocalist, one loves the banjo, one plays the drums, and the oldest has been playing piano since she was 5 years old.”
The Schuylers are pleasantly surprised at how well the community has received both of their businesses.
“It’s vital to us to remind the community that Beeline only exists because of the support they’ve shown Fortville Music Garage,” Schuyler says. “The community has given us their time, their support and their finances. They have given a lot of love to us.”
The future of FMG isn’t just in Fortville. The Schuylers hope to help others build strong communities through instructor training and licensing of the FMG brand.
“The vision of FMG is to give it away,” Schuyler says. “Give it away to our student-teachers, to inspire the next generation of teachers to value the person in front of them more than the song, and maybe we will leave the world a little better than where we found it.”
Fortville Music Garage is located at 12 South Main Street, Suite 205 in Fortville. For more information, call 317-361-5625 or visit fortvillemusicgarage.com.