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Marching to the beat of the business drum
by Sarah Cooper
Aug 26, 2010 | 907 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Debra Reid - Reno artist Mier spray painted rehearsal room numbers at the Musician Rehearsal Center in Sparks on Tuesday. The new business offers secure, soundproof rehearsal space for local musicians.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Reno artist Mier spray painted rehearsal room numbers at the Musician Rehearsal Center in Sparks on Tuesday. The new business offers secure, soundproof rehearsal space for local musicians.
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<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Joey Benedickt, 19, tapes rehearsal room number templates at the Musicians Rehearsal Center on Tuesday. The new Sparks business offers secure, sound-proof rehearsal spaces for musicians.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Joey Benedickt, 19, tapes rehearsal room number templates at the Musicians Rehearsal Center on Tuesday. The new Sparks business offers secure, sound-proof rehearsal spaces for musicians.
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SPARKS — The now-vacant halls of the Musician Rehearsal Center in Sparks reverberate with new hopes based on old dreams for owner Bill Woody. A musician himself in the 1960s and 1970s, Woody hopes to open a tailor-made rehearsal space for local bands by the end of next week.

The new business is a novelty for the Reno-Sparks area. Woody will charge bands between $275 and $550 per month to rent one of his 50 sound-proofed and acoustically designed rehearsal rooms. Some rooms in the 18,000 square-foot facility can fit a four- or five-man band, others can accommodate more.

“Practicing in your own home sometimes doesn’t cut it with the family and the wife,” Woody said. “If they (band members) are serious about their music, they have to have some place to practice. A lot of people can identify with the fact that there is a band practicing in their neighborhood that they don’t like.”

Tucked away in the Sparks industrial area, the din of drums and the scream of guitars will be sheltered by soundproof walls between rehearsal rooms, which have double layers of sheet rock, three-fourth inch of air space between walls and acoustic insulation.

The business model, and Woody’s approach, is a unique one. The former national director of dealer development for a kitchen and bath design company does not plan on advertising his location or working a 9-to-5 schedule. As for business permits, the business does not fit into any specific category either, so obtaining the proper permits could have been a big hassle, Woody said.

“There is a little bit of a handicap because they don’t know what label to put on you as far as permitting,” he said. “That’s why I set up in Sparks, actually. They were really good and I didn’t run into many issues.”

His reasons for not advertising the location are based on security concerns.

“One of my main concerns is security,” Woody said. “These people are going to be storing expensive music equipment in these rooms.”

His entire advertisement model is based on word-of-mouth marketing. In order to rehearse at the Musician Rehearsal Center, you must know somebody who knows somebody. Woody also has distributed his location and information to local music stores that will refer bands to the rehearsal space in exchange for a free venue in which to host their classes and clinics.

“Over time, it will take on a sense of community,” Woody said. “When I talked to people about this, they said that they were just happy to have a place to practice.”

The business model is active and affluent in larger music epicenters such as Seattle, Nashville and Los Angeles. However, the idea would be a first for the Reno-Sparks area.

“There is a business model out there, but it really flies under the radar,” Woody said. “I played music in the 1970s in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was into stuff like the Doobie Brothers, Santana, Jefferson Airplane. I was looking for something to get back into it and I ran across this business model in Portland (Ore.).”

People interested in finding the practice spaces can network their way through the local music scene, which will lead them to Woody’s front door.
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