Music lessons: Sharing a passion

April 2017 Posted in Community, Music & Band
Nick Champeau and Corey Christensen jamming in the Soundstream studio. (8)

Instructor Nick Champeau and owner Corey Christensen of Soundstream.

By Melissa Wagoner

It’s never too late to learn a musical instrument, according to Nick Champeau, an instructor with Soundstream in Silverton.“I think that any time is a good time to start,” Champeau said. “Whether they’re six or 60, no matter what level, there’s always something you can start with.”

Champeau, along with fellow instructor Grant Burleigh and owner Corey Christensen, make up the Soundstream team. Offering guitar, drum, ukulele, banjo, piano and mandolin, Soundstream is a hub for everyone from beginners to those who have been playing a while.

“We’ve got about 40 active students,” Christensen said. Christensen, 37, opened Soundstream in October 2015 in response to a need.

234 South Water St., Silverton
Music Lessons: Guitar, drum,
ukulele, banjo, piano and mandolin

“We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a solid music school,” he said. “I think we really filled a niche that needed to be filled. A lot of our advertising has been done through word of mouth.”

The studio also filled a need within Christensen. He’d missed teaching music since he moved from Portland to his wife’s hometown of Silverton in 2014. Fate stepped in when he saw an open space in the lower level of the Hartman building across from the Creekside Grill where he was working.

“I was kind of looking to reset,” he said “because I can’t not [teach]. I just love kids.”

Christensen got started in music when he was 10 or 11 and asked his parents for drums.

“I got a guitar,” he said, “and I taught myself how to play. I was sort of a singer/song writer dude. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of musician friends in high school.”  

With the love of music came a love of the stage and in college Christensen earned degrees in sound design and musical theater, which he went on to teach for 20 years.

Champeau’s musical background started with the piano in early childhood. He moved on to the guitar at 13 or 14. His love of music earned him a bachelors of music performance and a masters in performance. Originally from Minneapolis he moved here just before starting work at Soundstream. He has been teaching professionally for about 11 years.

“It’s just a constant growing and learning experience,” he said. “And we want it to be fun. It’s not all about serious studies.”

In order to keep lessons and practice fun, the teachers at Soundstream take a very individualized approach and gear the music selection to individual students as much as possible.

“I always ask the students, ‘What song do you want to play?’” Christensen said.

Champeau starts many of his students out with familiar rock songs.

“I keep them learning songs and then start adding things like theory,” he explained.

No matter what the method, both Christensen and Champeau agree that learning music is beneficial, which is why Christensen hopes to someday take Soundstream on the road.

“I originally had the idea for a mobile studio,” he said. “I found a 1962, 30-foot Airstream trailer, which is sitting in my mother-in-law’s driveway.”

In May 2015 Christensen started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign in order to complete the renovations on his now gutted trailer. Eventually he hopes to take Soundstream to communities and schools lacking a music program.

“The arts in general are integral to society,” Christensen said. “It’s been proven over and over again that a child with arts in their curriculum does better.”

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