Music studio revamps, adds tutoring program

Michael Brock

In 2018, Merrilee Schulz and Autumn Mackert opened Sisters Song Studios and began teaching music lessons at 3.5 N. Main St. in Deer Park on the second story.

“We started just as a music studio and had this great opportunity to use this beautiful, historic building,” said Mackert, who is also a teacher for Deer Park School District.

After the COVID-19 pandemic altered school operations in March, the pair decided to start offering tutoring to local students as well.

“I was still teaching online,” said Mackert, the program manager. “At that point, we started hearing from parents about all the difficulties that they were encountering with the school district with online teaching... I was hearing from lots of parents and other teachers and staff.”

The main concern centered around internet access, or the lack thereof.

Cloverleaf Education Services, which they have named the tutoring branch, currently has seven students that are tutored on a regular basis. Some of the students attend Deer Park or Riverside — and come in on the days they don’t meet in person — while others are homeschooled.

“Sometimes we have parents that consult us on homeschooling curriculum in different classes and how to work that into their normal school day,” Mackert said.

With the capacity for eight students at any given time, they are still accepting more students to be tutored. That number can also be increased since there is another full classroom set up if needed.

“The thing that’s really hard for online students right now is the lack of structure in their own house,” said Schulz, the program director. “And also the lack of peer interaction because they’re lonely… They’re not getting to see their friends, and that can lead to all sorts of problems.”

To mitigate this, the studio does team building exercises and breakout activities, such as finger bowling.

“We give them a really good opportunity to see the people that they want to see and do it in a way that is appropriate,” Schulz said. “We are very big on spacing and very big on masking.”

Read the full story in the Nov. 18 edition of the Deer Park Tribune.