Updated: Mar 1, 2021
by 4Squares Residential Group in Partnership with Judi 411
Music to Our Ears
Last month's love language was food. This month: Music, the universal language. We interviewed Laura Brereton of The Medford Music Studio to learn more about the family business, her Medford connections, and all she loves about living in Medford!
What brought you to Medford? I know you lived in and around Boston for many years, but what made you choose our community?
So we wound up in Medford a little bit by chance. We were renting an apartment in a three-family home in Cambridge and knew we wanted to buy. But Cambridge's prices were out of reach for us, so we began looking at surrounding towns. Raleigh's work required him to be close to 93, so proximity was high on our wish list. I also had a dear friend living in Medford, so we at least knew someone.
Funny enough, the house we bought was the only house we looked at in Medford. Naive, but true! But our purchase was also intentional; we knew we needed to have space for a home office and that we were eventually going start a family, so a house we could grow into was important. It just so happened that the stars aligned, and we found what we wanted on the first try!
You mentioned your home office, also known as The Medford Music Studio, which you own with your husband, Raleigh Green. What instruments do you teach? How can aspiring musicians connect with you?
Raleigh and I have some overlap in that we each teach guitar and piano. I also teach voice, and Raleigh teaches bass, ukulele, and music technology. Our students are primarily kids and teens, but we have many adult learners as well.
For all our lessons, we tend to meet students where they're at; we'll teach them music theory and technical skills around music they can relate to, which is often the music they listen to most. It's exciting when students introduce us to artists we've not heard of; we get to learn as much as teach. The music technology piece is a lot of fun for kids interested in hip-hop/rap and want to create beats or understand the art and science of sound production. We're always happy to speak with aspiring musicians. Folks can contact us via www.medfordmusicstudio.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of technology, the pandemic has meant that you're teaching all lessons remotely. How has that shift worked for the studio?
Funny, I was going to chime in about that. While we're certainly in strange, surreal times, we feel fortunate because our work lends itself to adapting, and our students have embraced adapting as well.
When the pandemic hit in mid-March last year, we pivoted to teaching all of our lessons online via zoom, and the business has grown. People were looking for things to do and things to occupy their time, and ways for their kids to express themselves, so the business took off in the spring and the summer, and it's continuing.
We've been swamped and feel lucky for that because we know a lot of musicians whose primary source of income is performing. Our main gig is teaching, and the performances are supplementary to that. Students and families have been incredibly patient, flexible, and everybody's got a sense of humor and as we all ride this wave together.
In addition to being a music teacher, you're a community leader. You're calling Medford home now, and your involvement in the community -- Circle the Square, West Medford Open Studios, The Mystic River Celebration, Medford Community Coalition -- demonstrates you're committed to living here. What do you love about living in Medford?
First and foremost, I really like the people here. They're interesting, creative folks whose salt-of-the-earth quality is refreshing. While there's a certain hip-ness in our community -- we have loads of great restaurants and boutique bakeries and coffee shops -- it's not overwrought.
One of the great surprises to living here is the greenspace. I live on Winthrop Street, within walking distance to the Mystic River, my children's school, and the grocery store, all while enjoying beautiful surroundings on my treks around town. There are lots of playgrounds nearby that are either a short walk or drive from our home. I love to access nature while still living in a semi-suburban environment, with such close access to Boston.
It seems natural to me (pardon the pun!) to give back to the community in ways that highlight what I love most about living here. As a founding member of the Medford Community Coalition, working with Medford residents, organizations, and local businesses to sustain a thriving community is important because it benefits the people I've grown to know and love. Circle the Square highlights our business and arts community, and coordinating music for that event is a lot of fun, as is The Mystic Rive Celebration. And performing at the West Medford Open Studios with Raleigh and other musicians in our community brings me a lot of joy.
What do you love about your Medford home and neighborhood?
I love that we're centrally located. We're on Winthrop Street, close to the Mystic River and walking distance to Medford Square. We also have lovely neighbors on either side of us who we know pretty well, and we enjoy conversations over the fence with our neighbors behind us, so the community is also a huge benefit.
What's tricky about our house is the road and the rotary. We knew when we bought it that we were on a busy strip. The offset is how accessible our home is to other parts of the city. I can walk the river path, my kids' school, the grocery store, and the post office. I can grab take-out at any number of great restaurants, and I can walk to the Middlesex Fells when I want to be in nature. And if I can't walk for some reason, it's a five-minute drive to any of the above.
I also choose to look forward to things like the new library opening, which will be blocks from our house, and the day we can return to the Chevalier Theatre, where we've enjoyed world-class music and comedy. When the Green Line Extension is complete, we'll be able to walk to the MBTA. I also think about what those developments mean for my kids; by the time the Extension is up and running, they'll be able to exercise their independence by hopping on the Green Line. They'll have an opportunity to explore beyond their backyard.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about moving here?
DO IT! Oh, I'm continually trying to get people to move here. Medford is a welcoming and exciting community. Not without its quirks, but you've got a diverse mixture of people. You're right outside of a major metropolitan area but yet it doesn't feel overwhelming. You've got all this beautiful green space and opportunity to go outside and nature. The schools are good, and there's fantastic food and a world-class university as your neighbor. And we're always evolving. Our family has grown as Medford grows.
Finally, as a committed community contributor, where do you see Medford headed?
I'm very optimistic and hopeful about Medford. You have a community that feels safe, where there's art and culture, and a community that expresses itself in many ways. We need to continue to have progressive leadership in our elected officials, who have a good vision about moving Medford forward in ways that are inclusive and strength-building: green energy, good schools, speaking out against racism and inequity. But I see good things, all good things.
The Medford Music Studio has been teaching students of all ages for over 15 years. Learn more about Laura Brereton and Raleigh Green at www.medfordmusicstudio.com or reach out by email at email@example.com. Be sure to tell Laura and Raleigh that 4Squares Residential Group sent you!
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Laura Brereton.