AUSTIN, Texas - Tucked between E. 5th and E. 6th off I-35, Eastside Music School welcomes people of all ages and all levels.
"I passed it once or twice, and I thought to myself, let me give that a try," said Elyse Ryan, a student.
Ryan is the perfect example of their clientele, a walking distance neighbor who’s rediscovering her musical roots.
"I think one of the things that has helped me feel most at home here in Austin is actually engaging in the music community because you start to feel very much like a part of the city and this school has been a great conduit to do that," said Ryan.
The school has been serving the community for 12 years, but last week there was a bit of a setback.
Owner Alex Ballentine got an early morning call on Oct. 25. A fire had broken out in another business in their building.
"I got here about 6:30 a.m. after someone called me, they had put out the fire, but I opened the door, and it was full of black smoke," said Ballentine. "It was literally just like that nightmare scenario of, what would you do in a burning building, just started pulling out my guitars, keyboards, got as much out as we could, and then you just start to wrap your head around the size of the problem."
The size of the problem is something that’s still being figured out.
"The fire department used water to put out the fire, so the water came under the walls, and we were flooded with a couple inches of water," said Ballentine. "And then the smoke came through the vents and through the cracks under the doors."
Before/after photos of one of the studios at Eastside Music School. Last week, another tenant in their building had a fire. In-person lessons are on hold right now as they figure out the extent of the smoke/water damage. We'll have more tonight after the game.
Right now, they’re examining each of their 10 studios as well as their instruments to see what needs to be repaired, tuned or replaced.
The owner is grateful to be supported by their 300 students.
"The main thing is we can’t teach lessons in person until we get going again."
Normally, they host about 50 lessons a day. One silver lining of COVID is that they were seamlessly able to transition to virtual lessons for now.
"It’s kind of like a replay of 2020," said Ballentine.
The goal is to be partially open next week and fully back up and running in the coming months.
The school is selling gift certificates that can be applied toward lessons in hopes of raising some extra funds to help cover costs. They have insurance, but they aren’t sure how much of the damage will be covered at this point.
To purchase a gift certificate or learn more about the school, click here.