A year ago, Jerry Evans was working alone, teaching drums, bass and guitar on the second floor of building in downtown Wheaton.
The 31-year-old was happy with his work -- he had gone from giving lessons for free in his Wheaton College dorm to playing instruments with students in the Wheaton Grand Theater to opening his own business three years ago.
But Evans saw there was still room to grow.
Within the past six months, the Jerry Evans School of Music has expanded to include additional practice rooms and new teachers who are providing vocal lessons and instruction for piano, strings and woodwind instruments.
"In some ways it's kind of a dream come true," Evans said of his school's recent growth. "I can serve the community, expand the vision of what we're doing. It really is very enjoyable and I'm thankful to do it."
The school at 210 N. Main St. is open Monday through Saturday. Students of any age are welcome, whether they are looking for help with music they are learning in the school band or are interested in playing a certain style of music, such as country, pop or rock.
"Really, we feel like everyone who comes to us has an opportunity to get what they need because we're really trying to be musically relevant for our culture, for different types of music," Evans said.
Since June, Evans has brought on four other instructors in their 20s and 30s, including his sister, Allison Rozsa Evans, who has a master's degree in vocal pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory.
"Even though we all kind of look young, we are a group of very experienced instructors, with many years of teaching under our belt," she said.
Evans said he decided to expand the school because his clientele was urging him to do so. He also wanted to start working with other teachers.
"It can be difficult to collaborate with other musicians and other teachers when you are on your own and by developing this school we've created this environment where we have automatic collaboration," his sister said.
Evans also wanted to create a school that could give students a chance to go back and forth between classical music and music that is "relevant" to their lives, whether that be learning to sing like their favorite artist or practicing worship music to play at their church.
There have been some parents, Evans added, who have watched their children during lessons and realized they wanted to give music a try, too.
"We have a lot of fun family combinations," he said, mentioning father-daughter and mother-son duos that are now playing music together.
Drums and guitar teacher David Christensen said the school is special because of "the spirit with which Jerry approaches music."
"It's so fun, and it's supposed to be fun," he said. "Lots of other institutions that teach music don't particularly care about it being fun. And this is something that we pride ourselves on: finding out what somebody loves about music and gearing our lessons toward that passion center."
Besides private lessons, the school offers rock band classes and hosts a concert series for students to perform every December and May. Evans said he hopes to start offering brass instruction and songwriting classes in the near future.
To register for lessons and learn more about the instructors, visit jerryevansguitar.com or call (630) 359-7725.