Despite the death of one of its founding partners, the business has pressed on and provided instruction in voice and for any instrument since 1994.
The Music Room has been striking a chord in downtown Palatine for more than 20 years, helping people young and old develop their passion for music through voice or instrument instruction. The business also sells, rents and repairs a wide variety of instruments. Music accessories, amps and sheet music are also available for purchase.
In 1994, Carol Cook and John Giovannoni opened the business at 49 W. Slade Street. Both brought with them unique backgrounds; Cook previously instructed piano, voice and woodwinds, and Giovannoni taught drums.
They began to hire more instructors and the student base began to flourish. In 2005, they outgrew the location and moved down the street to where the business is today at 26 N. Brockway Street at Slade Street.
In late 2011, Cook and Giovannoni began the process to purchase the building. Before the purchase was finalized, Giovannoni was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. The partners knew there was a difficult road ahead. The real estate transaction was completed in February of 2012 and the business remained open during the rehab, which was complete by December of 2012.
“We knew the end was coming soon [due to Giovannoni’s deteriorating condition], but we carried on,” Cook said.
Giovannoni passed away on January 13, 2013, leaving Cook mourning her partner and friend.
“It was a dark and difficult period with huge change; we went into a period of dormancy in the areas that John was chiefly responsible for,” Cook said.
Cook said after Giovannoni’s death, some employees left, and a few former employees came back.
“When someone left the circle, it became tighter. Today, I have so many great people around me; a very strong staff and support from both our vendors and the community we have built over the years,” Cook said.
“We’ve been rebuilding our presence, and redefining ourselves,” Cook said. “We’ve taken pride in not only our practice, but how our building looks, both inside and out. It really is a ‘feel good’ place.”
As a result, The Music Room won 2nd place in the 2014 Palatine Hometown Pride Awards, which are presented by the Palatine Beautification Commission.
In 2014 and 2015, The Music Room was also selected as one of the top 100 dealers by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), a non-profit organization that ‘promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music, while strengthening the global music products industry,’ according to its website.
“We are proud to provide personalized service for our students-we interview them to gain a deep understanding of what they are looking for,” she said. Instructors create customized goal plans that are updated every six months.
Cook also has been invited to speak in front of her peers at the 2015 Summer NAMM, to be held in Nashville, TN July 9-11. She will be giving a presentation on how The Music Room has increased the value of their students’ experiences over the years.
“We’ve created new opportunities for our weekly students, offering them free enrollment in the TMR Academy.” Cook said. “We’ve also created a $100 rebate for students who maintain a year of perfect attendance.”
The business boasts 10,000 square feet of space, consisting of 12 studios and retail on the main floor and the mezzanine level. There are 22 instructors and 10 full-time employees.
On celebrating 20 years in business, Cook said it has been a long and beautiful journey.
“It’s very similar to studying music; it’s always challenging and you’re constantly learning something new,” she said.
Now through June 14, The Music Room is offering new student specials on group classes in ukulele and rock bands for kids and adults, and guitar ensembles for adults. Mention this article and ask for details. Classes start June 15, 2015.
For more information, visit The Music Room online at http://the-music-room.net/ or call 847-934-5440.