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OwnerEllis County Music Center
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14. I grew up in Oak Cliff, where I used to play in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s garage. I was raised in poverty, and I had to work hard jobs for a lot of years to pay for college. I worked as a freight line mechanic for 10 years and as a stainless steel welder for another 10 years. I took private guitar lessons for five years before starting the Commercial Music program at Cedar Valley.
“The best part of my education was getting the associate degree itself. I knew the music before I ever walked in the door there. Actually, the best class I took was a college reading class — a prerequisite to the English class that taught all about prefixes and suffixes. I’m not a very good speller, but I still use those skills today to break down words and get their meaning. That class enabled me to get through the college process and made English a lot easier.
“I never wanted to play music for a living because it would lose its enjoyment for me as a job. I just enjoy the music too much.“More than just getting an education in music, I did learn to think more deeply at Cedar Valley. I do wish I’d taken more computer classes — that’s a very important skill to have as a business owner for Web design and working with accounts and spreadsheets.
“I went to UNT for a little while but realized that wasn’t what I wanted, so I went back to Cedar Valley another year beyond my associate degree to take business and other courses I felt I needed to open my own store.
“I was almost 40 when I started college at Cedar Valley. But earning that associate degree was worth it. When I went to get a loan from the bank to open my store, they almost turned me down. Then, when they realized that at almost 40, I had quit my job and gone to college to earn an associate degree, they knew I had serious intentions. Getting that degree opened doors.”
Tim Grant founded Ellis County Music Center as a store specializing in guitars, amps and drums, with lessons on the side, though it now includes sales, repair and lessons in horns. The store is now a full-line music center that has five music teachers offering lessons to more than 200 students a week, with more than 200 instrument rental contracts for students, many of whom are in local school bands.
Ellis County Music Center is located at the southwest corner of Ovilla Road and I-35 in Red Oak and is open Monday through Saturday.