Groove School opens enrollment for 2024, offers guitar scholarship

Published 2:25 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

NILES — A new music school is still accepting scholarship applications for a program offering young Berrien County musicians the opportunity to receive free guitar lessons.

The Groove School is still accepting Good For Your Soul Foundation scholarship applications for its inaugural guitar lesson program, which will begin in January. 

The Good For Your Soul Foundation is a nonprofit created by Groove School founder Jen Tabor aiming to promote music and art activities for Berrien County youth and teens. Thanks to a $5,500 grant from local nonprofit Niles Music and More and instrument donations from the Roadie Clinic in Niles, the Groove School is able to provide 10 scholarships for middle and high school students in the county to take guitar lessons from January through June free of cost. The students will be given a free guitar upon completion of the program.

To apply, applicants must write a letter detailing why they want to play the guitar, what their goals are and what lessons would mean to them. Letters will be accepted through Friday, Dec. 22. Tabor aims to award the scholarships Saturday, Dec. 23, just in time for the holiday weekend. 

Letters can be submitted to the Souldier mailbox at the 217 4th St., Niles or via email at goodforyoursoulfoundation@gmail.com. For more information regarding Groove School, checkout the school’s Facebook page at “Groove School” or email the Good For Your Soul Foundation.

“We’ve had tons of support from the community, especially (Niles Music and More and the Roadie Clinic) showing their support and helping us out with this program is super exciting,” Tabor said. “It’s given us the seed money and laid the foundation to be able to make this happen sooner.”

Tabor is the owner of lifestyle brand Souldier. Founded in 2005 in Chicago, Souldier produces custom goods including fretted instrument straps, dog and cat collars, saddle straps, purses and more using primarily upcycled materials. Souldier has reached an international audience, with recording artists like Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Tom Petty and Panic! At The Disco sporting the brand.

Groove School aims to promote lessons in folk, rock and classical instruments. Located at 415 Sycamore St. – the former Plym family home built in the 1890s – the school will offer a variety of classes including percussion, guitar (classical and electric), jazz piano and more. 

“The Groove Music School’s mission is to allow students to explore the profession of music and be able to put these kids into rock bands in the future and have them play locally,” said founder Jen Tabor. “While we are going to offer more classical music programs, right now, we’re focusing on really getting junior high and high school kids activated in rock bands.”

For Tabor, opening a music school has long been a goal.

“I’ve been working on this since we moved to Michigan seven years ago,” Tabor said. “Having been a former orchestra teacher, to be able to give back to the community is my dream come true.”

Tabor hopes the school will provide students a space to let their creativity shine.

“There aren’t a lot of activities for junior high and high school kids,” She said. “We want to help them find a community through music at the Groove School.”