Castro Valley School of Music
CVSOM began as an experiment in the basement of a dental office.
Shane Sharkey had a radio production company called Big Toe Audio in a little dentist office on Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley. It was about 1,000 square feet, just enough room for a couple small production studios and a reception area.
The production company was going well, which freed up some of Shane’s time so he could volunteer at his kids’ elementary school.
After quickly realizing that being in charge of selling candy on Valentine’s Day was not for him, Shane decided to become a docent with an organization called Music for Minors II. They train parent-volunteers to go into grades K-4 to teach music classes (budget cuts have removed music from most elementary schools).
After volunteering at Stanton Elementary for years, and being asked over and over “where can I take my child for music lessons” it was obvious that there was a need for music education in the Castro Valley community.
Being an amateur musician and an entrepreneur, Shane put an ad on craigslist to see if any musicians in the area were interested in teaching lessons at the Big Toe Audio studios.
The response was not just overwhelming, but the quality of musicians was beyond incredible. We immediately found amazing, professional musicians and teachers alike who were open to trying this experiment with us.
It didn’t take long for us to outgrow that little dentist office, and in May of 2014 we moved into the big, beautiful facility we’re in now. We moved into this building with 6 teachers and about 30 students.
I’m very happy to say that currently we have 30 teachers here and over 350 students and we’re still growing. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and we are very proud to be able to host important community events like Mental Health and Music Therapy and celebrations like Cliff Burton Day.
While we’ve come a long way from that little dentist office, I truly believe we’re just getting started.