Damariscotta resident Carol Preston gives music lessons to anyone willing to learn at her Preston Music Studio.
A public school music teacher for 15 years, Preston has also been teaching private lessons her whole adult life. She now does so full-time after stepping down from a teaching position at Nobleboro Central School.
Preston was born in North Dakota, attended college in Minnesota and graduate school in Iowa, and worked in the Washington, D.C. area before moving to Damariscotta.
Preston’s mother was an orchestra teacher in school. At college, Preston double-majored in violin performance and English for technical writing and editing, which allowed her to move to the D.C. area and work for high-tech companies.
After some time in D.C., Preston decided to move to Maine in 2000 because some members of her family had also moved to Maine.
In 2000, Preston started teaching private lessons under the name Preston Music Studio. When she bought her house in Damariscotta, it seemed like a perfect match for music lessons. “The minute I came in, I saw this room back here and thought, ‘That’s it! That’s the studio!’” she said.
While Preston Music Studio has been open ever since, she did not widely advertise the business until recently.
It wasn’t until last spring that Preston put all of her efforts into her business. After years of teaching elementary music, chorus, and band at NCS, Preston decided to focus on private lessons.
“Last spring, I decided that it was time to be done with schoolteaching, and I was really ready to try to pursue teaching more lessons, which is my first love,” she said.
Preston is passionate about teaching music. “I like it more than I like playing,” she said. “I’ve always played, but what I really love to do is teach, and I mostly love teaching kids.”
Preston prefers the Suzuki method, in which children begin lessons at a very young age. The method encourages parental involvement.
The idea of the child, parent, and teacher working closely together is known as the Suzuki triangle. In the triangle, parents must attend each lesson with their child and learn the fundamentals of the instrument in order to be the teacher while at home, and they must make practice part of the student’s daily life.
Although Preston prefers the Suzuki method, she still offers lessons to adults who wish to learn a musical instrument.
Preston teaches a variety of instruments, including string instruments such as the violin, viola, and cello. She also teaches band instruments at a beginner and elementary level.
Preston teaches most of her students after school, but offers lessons at just about any time. Preston Music Studio also offers group lessons, which involve games, on Saturday mornings.
Preston charges $24 for half-hour lessons, $36 for 45-minute lessons, and $48 for a full hour.