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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
The Lafitte Music Center opened its doors in Citrus Heights three years ago, born out of its owner’s passion to create a different kind of comprehensive music education for its young students.
Jordane Lafitte, owner of Lafitte Music Center (pronounced “luh-feet”) located at 8089 Madison Ave., Suite 6, named the center after her late French father Jean Lafitte, who passed on his passion for travel and music. (There’s no direct connection to the famous 19th century pirate who went by the same name, though.)
She also owns The Lil’ School, a preschool just around the corner in an adjacent blue and white building.
Lafitte said she currently has 150 students participating in programs at the center, adding that some 300 students have participated in school classes since her center opened.
Prospective students are welcome to tour the school and observe individual music classes before deciding to enroll, with students young and old invited to sign up.
“We’re the only music school in the greater Sacramento area that has a curriculum for kids as young as three years old,” Lafitte said.
The site of her music school was once that of a community church. Its interior layout worked well for Lafitte’s use, featuring four classroom-sized spaces for private lessons and a larger room that is perfect for a recital and performance space, she said. The recital room, which features a colorful background mural and stage, hosts monthly concerts.
When the leased space became available and its potential as a music school became evident to her, she moved quickly to take it.
Today, the center offers classes for piano, guitar, percussion, voice and more to students of all skill levels, from age three to adult. Instruction is also offered in drums, congas and cajon, ukulele, clarinet, saxophone, harp, double bass and trumpet.
In an interview with The Sentinel, the soft-spoken Lafitte said what sets her music center’s overall teaching philosophy apart from other schools is the background and diversity of experience the 15 instructors at her school have. She looks for instructors who “value improvisation and creativity and know how to motivate their students.”
Lafitte said she offers a package of four 30-minute private lessons at a cost of $140 and a package of four one-hour group lessons costs $100.
Another benefit is smaller class size. She prefers to offer classes that have three to four students per session, with a maximum limit of seven. She encourages her students to listen to one another as they learn and practice together. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch as they gain confidence in their playing,” she said.
New students meet with a team member who will recommend the right teacher for their individual interests, skills, goals and schedule. Before starting their lessons, each newcomer meets with their teacher to make sure the fit is right and to set a schedule.
“We are the only music school in the Citrus Heights-Fair Oaks area that offers instruction in all of these instruments in one complete location,” Lafitte said.
The Lafitte Music Center is an authorized Yamaha music school. The Yamaha Music Education System encourages students to learn by ear first in an environment that encourages fun and inspires a love of music.
“Every student’s learning path is different.” Lafitte said. “I believe that each student’s musical and artistic journey takes a form that reflects their uniqueness.”
Lafitte herself has a classical music background, but says she loves all styles of music, especially jazz. Born and raised in France, she earned a medal for piano performance from the International Conservatory of Music in Paris.
“We are still growing and are hoping to work with more home schooled and attract public school students this year,” Lafitte said.
One of her chief goals this year is to step up the Center’s visibility in the community and reach out to more schools for future students. She’s hoping to add a new staff member to help achieve the Center’s marketing goals. Lafitte said she is hoping to open a second location in Elk Grove next year.
The Lafitte Music Center is located at 8089 Madison Avenue, Suite 6 in Citrus Heights. For information on class enrollment or to tour the school, those interested can visit www.lafittemusiccenter.com
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