By Katie Keogh
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Sixteen years ago, Justin Levy set out to teach children a second language: music.
Today, the 32-year-old biochemist and musician has built a growing business in the heart of Towson in which he revels in the chance to teach students to create their own original music, much like he does as a member of a band called The Eureka Birds.
“Music is like a language,” said Levy, the owner of The Music Space on West Chesapeake Avenue. “If you learn the language you can write music and you can say what you want to say.”
The excitement of seeing his students grow into musicians with unique talents is one of the most meaningful parts of owning the studio, Levy said.
“Sometimes I see kids make connections that I made at some point or I wish I had made earlier and it is like planting a seed,” he said. “I am really helping them and giving them the potential to be even further than I am.”
Levy, who became hooked on music after receiving a drum set for his 10th birthday, graduated from the University of Maryland in 2006 with a degree in biochemistry. Throughout his college days, Levy would attend class during the day and teach music at night and on Sundays.
He continued teaching music after graduation. For five years, Levy worked long hours in the science field during the day and provided music lessons at students’ houses at night. He eventually decided to end his career at the National Institutes of Health and pursue his dream of opening The Music Space in 2015.
The studio provides a place for musicians to record music and learn to play bass, drums, piano, vocals, guitar, clarinet and many other instruments. With five different rooms for lessons or recording, The Music Space has grown to be a much greater success than Levy imagined.
“I was teaching in this [the Towson] area going door to door for about three years,” Levy said. “I reached a point where I had enough students that I could move them [to the Music Space] and I could pay the rent and be OK. I figured some students would drop but everyone stuck around and it has only gone up from there.”
Levy recalls the “grind” when he would wake up early to continue designing the studio, shower at the gym because there was not enough time to go home in between lessons, and skip meals simply because he was devoted to opening the shop.
With more than double the students than The Music Space had at opening and eleven teachers with different expertise, the studio provides a variety of unique talents and experiences to students.
From wedding gigs to being in a Led Zeppelin cover band, Roxeanne Wehking bought her own guitar at 14 years old. Wehking has been teaching for over two years and has enjoyed her time working at The Music Space.
“Seeing someone become interested and transform into a huge music buff is so enjoyable because it reminds me of myself,” Wehking said. “I enjoy watching people succeed at something that they knew nothing about and being able to help them figure out what kind of music they like is so rewarding.”
After single handedly installing hardwood floors and sprucing up the space, Levy has created a bright environment for his students to explore their talents. Levy strives to create a comfortable space for bands to perform, including his own rock band, the Eureka Birds.
The Eureka Birds formed in 2006 and have been performing and reaching out to fans. With two albums, over 800 likes on Facebook and 59,000 views on YouTube, The Eureka Birds has developed quite a following. In 2014 the band played at the largest free arts festival in America, Artscape.
“Music for me, it’s my passion,” Levy said. “I’d sit down and write music for three hours and then realize that I have to go to my job. There is sort of this magic there.”