Ironic that a person so beloved for his writing would be known for this quote: “Where words fail, music speaks” – Hans Christian Anderson. And yet, for those who have been profoundly moved by music this sentiment rings true. There are times when music can communicate what ordinary speech cannot, and in so doing it gives us a medium to express ourselves. In Preston, Minn., there is a newly opened business that gives students the chance to enjoy the fruits of music, and it is called Studio316. Rachel Ebeling and Taryn Cherrier are co-owners and sisters-in-law who have wanted to open a studio for a long time. Cherrier will be teaching the dance classes and Ebeling will be teaching the music lessons (piano and voice). They decided to open this business together when the right opportunity came.
Previously, they lived and worked in Rochester and in St. Paul. Cherrier worked at the Allegro School of Dance for about six years, until this past spring when the owner retired and the dance school closed. “It’s sad that the school was closing, but it came at the right time because it opened up the opportunity for us to start on our own,” she shares. Previously, Ebeling worked as music director for Discovery Community Church in St. Paul Park, for almost five years. She was responsible for putting together the worship and music program there, and with Ebeling’s experience in music and Cherrier’s experience in dance, they felt ready to go ahead and start their own business. Ebeling explained why it was such a natural step. “For me I’ve been in music ever since I could remember. I started singing when I was very young, and I added on lots of different instruments over the years. I really love organizing and teaching, and that’s where my strengths lie. I have taught in the past and then it seems like everything fell into place to take the music and the dance that we love, and organize that into a space where we can share that with others.”
Studio316, located at 301 Saint Paul St. S.W., had an open house the last week of October and the first classes started November 1, 2021. “I’ve known that I wanted to have a studio since I was 10 years old and was taking lessons myself. For me, it’s been a lifelong dream,” Cherrier explains. For dance, the classes start at age 3 and go to age 13-14. Some of the dance classes offered include ballet ages 3-4 and 5-6, Ballet 1 starting age 7, and Ballet 2 based on skills. Cherrier will also be offering an adult ballet class, and hopes to expand and offer more dance classes in the future.
With the younger classes Cherrier’s approach combines technique and fun. “We’re working on vocabulary and a little bit of technique. Basically just learning the movements and it’s a lot of imaginative play. Like drawing lines with our toes. Picking a balloon off the floor and letting it float away. Making it fun for the little ones but also getting the curriculum in there early so they’ll be able to build that up as they grow.” She will also be offering classes in tap and jazz.
The music lessons offered include voice and piano, and Ebeling takes a two-prong approach to the music her students are learning. “We have our lesson material where we’re learning the techniques and musicality to make the music come alive. Then we have our fun curriculum where the students get to pick something out for themselves.”
When asked what inspired her most about teaching, Ebeling talked about the power of music. “Music is such a thing of beauty. I’ve always been inspired by how you can take something as random as sound and pitch and turn it into something that elicits this emotional and deep response from anyone. You don’t have to be formally trained in music to connect with it. Regardless whether you’re teaching someone or performing, it’s a really cool way to share and connect with other people.”
Cherrier shared her enthusiasm for dance being a non-verbal outlet. “For me when I was in classes, it was a way to express myself, process what I was thinking and feeling. Other people didn’t have to understand it, but it helped me deal with different things in life.”
The normal season runs from September-May, and the best way to obtain information about Studio316 is to either go to their website, studio316mn.com, or to like/follow their page on Facebook. “We are going to be expanding our class list throughout the next year, and all of those announcements will be made through Facebook. So that’s a really great spot to keep an eye out for all the up and coming stuff,” advises Ebeling.
What’s one thing Ebeling and Cherrier want you to know about their business? “We really want it to be approachable for everyone. There’s no one that can’t dance, and there’s no one that can’t sing, you know everything is just training. Like with any kind of sport, you start basketball and you have to learn muscle memory. It’s the same for music! You’re just training different parts of your body to do what you want them to do,” Ebeling clarified, “It’s not too late, we are still accepting registrations for the current session, and registration for spring semester will start December 1. We’re really excited to be in the community and to be able to grow the program.”
If you’re thinking about trying an instrument or encouraging your little one to try something new, Studio316 is a great place to start looking.