Monday, October 2, 2023

Sparks Music School comes to Granbury


Granbury’s Sparks Music School opened in September after co-owners Ryan and ZsaZsa Clifford and Michael Manning recognized a need in the community. The school caters to all ages and offers both group and private lessons on 18 instruments and vocals.

Manning first co-founded a music center in Sparks, Nevada and then relocated to Fort Worth, where he opened Sparks Music Center. The Cliffords noticed Manning’s unique ability to teach while taking their son to lessons at the center.

“Mike's curriculum that he has created is just so fabulous. We recognized that a while back, you know, when we first met him when he was teaching our son,” Ryan Clifford said. “We just knew he was so special, so when the opportunity came for us to partner up we were like, ‘Yes, let's do it. Let's do it now.’”

Manning serves as the school’s creative director, and Shelby McPherson is the lead teacher. McPherson has been teaching music for 40 years and taught alongside Manning at his Fort Worth location before coming to Granbury.

The Cliffords said the school currently has 100 students and that they were pleasantly surprised that almost a third of them are adults.

“We had two 84-year-olds walk in saying, ‘Hey, you know, I know how to play.’ One of them said, ‘I know how to play the piano, but I don't know how to play music and want to learn.’ And the other one was like, ’I can play a little bit on my guitar. I want to get good at it if I have another 20 years on this Earth.’ ZsaZsa said. “At 84, why not, you know? It's just so amazing to see what joy it brings to people.”

The Cliffords said they are grateful for how the school has bettered their lives as well as their son’s life.

“The hand of God is most certainly over our business and guiding our lives and our business,” ZsaZsa said. “Our son is actually very much involved in all of this too. He is the one who created our logo and who came up with the fun rewards we use in our rewards program for the kids.”

ZsaZsa is currently taking piano lessons, and Ryan is learning to read and compose music in guitar lessons through the school. Manning has started to compose music for community celebrations.

“It's really something that's just so wonderful to see how enriching it can be in one's life, especially because we see it in ours, Ryan said. “We're not only owners of the business, but we're also patrons of it and so we want to share that with our community. We also just want to be very involved in the community, and Mike is especially doing that.”

The Cliffords are eager to continue reaching new people and hope to set up a band and choir for home-schooled students.

“One of the things that Mike has always said is that it’s certainly about the music, but also about what it can do within an individual's life, especially children’s lives,” Ryan said. “As they're learning, they’re sponges – they'll soak it up and then it translates into so many different areas of life in terms of life skills, decision making, and the way you go about solving problems. We’re all about creating leadership. So, as Mike said again, the idea that music readers are life leaders is something we strongly believe in.”


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