creating a love for music
by Annascott cross
When you walk into Ellington Studios in Angier, North Carolina, one of the most notable things that you will see is a guitar hanging in a case on the wall. This guitar belonged to fourteen year old Dylan Scott, who was a student at Ellington Studios. During his time there, he grew from a shy, reserved person to a confident performer. And then he was diagnosed with leukemia. During his battle with it, as he was in and out of hospitals and treatments, he still spent every moment he could at Ellington Studios until he passed away in March of 2018. In his final performance, he played “Come and Get Your Love” on this guitar and sang, and now his guitar is on display at the studio in honor of his memory. Despite the sad ending, Dylan’s story is beautiful because he was loved by the people at Ellington Studios, and now there is a scholarship in his name so that others can experience the feeling of family that comes with taking music lessons with the Ellingtons.
Rick Ellington, the owner of Ellington Studios, was born and raised in Angier. He studied animal science and business at North Carolina State University and pursued his career for many years. In 2009, he decided to change his course to pursue his dream of opening a music studio in his hometown. He had a vision for teaching music and embracing his community, which has grown to more than 600 students in the past nine years. He teaches everyone from three years old and up, including adults. His goal in teaching is to create a love of music in his students, and to enable them to play anything they want to play. First, he teaches his students to understand music, starting them out playing favorites like Sweet Home Alabama and slipping in theory as they go. As they advance, he teaches them to sight read music, how to play every instrument that would go into a rock band, and to play in a variety of styles, including rock, jazz, Christian rock, and even a little bit of pop and classical. He teaches a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, piano/keyboard, drums, vocals, and ukulele. Each student receives a combination of private lessons and group performances, so that they are accustomed to performing and playing in a band setting. The studio hosts their own concerts, and also plays at local festivals. On top of this, some of their bands are for hire and travel around to play at other venues.
One of the biggest priorities of Ellington and his studio, besides creating a love for music, is to create a family-centered environment where everyone is welcome. He has done this by creating a lounge area for parents and students, a playspace for siblings, a recording studio, ping-pong and foosball tables, a volleyball net, and a fenced-in outdoor area where children can play safely. Another way that he has accomplished this is by sponsoring children who cannot afford to take lessons. He hosts two fundraisers every year and often gives these children free lessons. He also hosts a Christian Youth Night once a month where everyone is welcome to come. Kids play music have free reign of the building, including the game tables and outdoor activities. On top of this, Ellington provides dinner and hosts a local youth pastor to give a ten minute devotional.
When asked about his own inspiration, Ellington shares that his favorite groups include The Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, stating that his favorite single artist is Duane Allman.
Looking into the future of his company, Ellington hopes to open up a second studio in Wake County, and eventually start a franchise so that they can embrace as many people as they can.
To learn more about Rick Ellington and Ellington Studios, check out his website http://ellingtonstudiosnc.com or on Instagram @ellingtonstudios