He’s a Polish-American concert pianist who’s performed all over the world. He also minored in construction with a dash of marketing. Yet after living in New York City and Denver, he and his wife chose to settle in Rock Island for its history, culture, cost-of-living and job opportunities.
“Everything you could really want is here in the Quad Cities, especially a rich music culture,” said Andrzej “Andre” Kozlowski, who recently expanded the music culture with his new business in downtown Rock Island’s east end.
Mr. Kozlowski has opened The Sound Conservatory – a music academy offering one-on-one lessons to folks of all ages and experience. So far it has five teaching studios: guitar, string instruments, horns, Mr. Kozlowski on the piano (plus voice) and they’re looking for a woodwinds teacher.
“Teachers are turning away students because they’re just too busy,” he said of the need to create The Sound Conservatory to expand music offerings.
With Rock Island focuses on trying to increase downtown foot traffic, he views the city as a perfect opportunity. “It has always been my dream to open a music school. I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years, and after we moved to Rock Island, I realized that this is the opportunity.”
Lessons are currently offered in violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, piano, and voice. “Students can come for a half-hour lesson then enjoy a restaurant or theatre,” he says.
Mr. Kozlowski believes he’ll succeed for two reasons: one, he’s finding a great need for instrument teachers; and, two, his business model.
“The studios are rented to the teachers for a flat, monthly fee,” versus charging them a percentage of their lesson fee, he explained. That covers his building overhead and the teachers have their own, exclusive space. He’s also got a small retail space where he sells instruments, small accessories and books.
While he’s been in business just less than a month, Mr. Kozlowski is already talking about expansion.
Since building out his new space at 2235 Third Ave., he’s already eyeing some of the space of his next-door-neighbor dPhilms, owned by video guru Phil Dingledein.
Mr. Kozlowski said he expects to hire an employee to handle what will become more retail space for piano sales and rebuilding, and a recital space.
Besides blazing this new trail, he’s giving back to the community. He’s helping the nearby Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum expand its HVAC capacity to use the upstairs for concerts. A late spring event is already in the works.
Music, Mr. Kozlowski believes, can aid the healing of America’s divisions. “Music is one thing that helps people look completely past all that, while bringing them together.”
The Sound Conservatory is open Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Mr. Kozlowski at (309) 291-1929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.