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Musician Opens Space Where Folks of All Ages Can Create Music

By Kelly Church

Adam Sweet is the founder and director of South Hadley, MA's Sweet Music Studio and Springfield Mandolin Orchestra. His specialty: the art and music of the mandolin. At his music studio, his goal is to inspire his students of all ages and backgrounds through the art of creating music. He teaches lessons in the mandolin, mandola, violin and fiddle, and uses his orchestra as a means of educating the community on music.

Sweet Music Studio hosts lessons that are one hour each. Lessons are held at Downtown Sounds in Northampton, Center Church in South Hadley, in student's home or office for an additional $10, or online via Skype. Sweet also offers free classes at the Center Church on the first and third Saturday of each month. Free classes are 30 minutes and give the student a lesson in the mandolin, mandola or mandocello. The students in Sweet's classes are how he ultimately developed the Springfield Mandolin Orchestra, something he says is rare nowadays.

"Mandolin orchestras are unique in the 21st century," Sweet says. "There are very few left, but 100 years ago, they were all over the place...in fact, there was a Springfield Mandolin Orchestra that rehearsed at Springfield College 100 years ago."

Springfield Mandolin Orchestra is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and plays throughout the Springfield area. Sweet founded the organization in 2012 with his music students. The organization is supported through donations and memberships that help them repair and purchase equipment, host public concerts and free classes. The orchestra also has a free loaner program, allowing musicians to borrow mandolins at no charge. This is ideal for those who want to participate in the orchestra but don't have their own instrument.

The only requirement for borrowing an instrument is attending weekly rehearsals, and participate in concerts and other events throughout the year. Sweet says the orchestra is always welcoming new musicians.

For music lessons, visit sweetmusicstudio.blogspot.com to find out when classes are held and specific pricing details. To find out how to join the Springfield Mandolin Orchestra or when the next concert is, visit www.MandolinOrchestra.org or call 413.224.8600.

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