Main Street’s sound of music

By Posted on Dec 13 2020 | By

Newly opened Modal Music Studio embraces the musician in all of us

First, the numbers. Fifty combined years of playing music. Fifteen instruments in their playable repertoire. Countless hours devoted to teaching hundreds of students’ musical instruments and voice.

Welcome to Modal Music Studio and the two enthusiastic guys seeking to channel the world into a calmer, saner place by tapping into the deepest instincts of music. They created the company in June of this year but until recently were forced to teach digitally due to Covoid-19.

On November 9, their studio at 90 Main Street opened after they unexpectedly found suitable quarters. Their mutual goal is sharing musical skills with whoever harbors an urge to play an instrument or sing.

While only a small percentage of folks will succeed in making a living through music, the joy of eliciting beauty from an instrument is reward enough.

The two musicians pulling it all together are Chris Bauer,27, and Dan Mudge, 36. It’s often cited that the music instinct and ability to play an instrument or sing springs from one’s DNA. In the case of these two teachers and performers, it holds.

Chris Bauer was originally a Baltimorean. At the age of four, he started playing the violin, switched to guitar in the seventh grade, and chased piano, drums, and voice as a young teen. “By the time I was in high school, I knew music was what I was going to do with my life.”

His high school years were devoted to practicing, playing with friends and in bands, and recording. He graduated from the Shenandoah Conservancy Arts Academy in Winchester, scoring a degree in music composition. He then taught music lessons, performed and wrote music for three years.

Dan Mudge hailed from a musical family and grew up with the love of music reverberating around his home. “By the time I was 11, I decided music was going to be my career. It’s like I didn’t have a choice. Music clicked, and that’s what I went with.”

In 2017, the men were employed as instructors at another studio. In addition to teaching, they created the Loathsome Wind comedy band centered on music in the Weird Al Yankovic genre.

Affirmation of the band’s success occurred this year when it won the Fauquier Times Readers’ Choice award for Best Band in Fauquier County.

Because of the pandemic, live performances have been largely eliminated, a situation that has affected bands nationwide. Next year, they hope to see a resurgence of gigs. In the interim, the band practices to keep its skills honed.

Making it happen
The biggest tip both instructors have for students is to practice every day. If a student is committed, success will follow. “Yes, it’s fun, but it’s also a commitment. You can’t skate by practicing just a couple times a week,” said Bauer.

The guitar is the most popular instrument studied. Rock music is centered on the guitar, and the resulting popularity comes as no surprise.

The goal of the instructors is consistency. They recommend one 30-minute lesson every week on the same day and at the same time. Hour-long classes are available but typically are for more advanced students.

Newbies are given homework assignments and return for the next lesson demonstrating either success or the need for more focus on the previous class. Bauer thinks some people are born with natural talent springing from their family lineage.

But everyone can build on whatever strengths they possess, even if it’s minimal.

Bauer cites as an example one student, “Who started with almost negative musical ability. He really struggled, but he had a passion for it. I taught him for five years. By the time he graduated from high school, he was performing in a band.

“Natural talent will start you at a higher learning point, but it’s all about your determination to practice. Even talented people who don’t practice will not get better.”

Currently, the business is doing well, with each of the men having a good number of students. Because of the new Main Street location, they are attracting even more business.

In addition to music lessons, the company also functions as a semiprofessional recording studio. Students who want to cut a record can do so at a far less cost than a professional studio. “We can make a YouTube video for students who want to share their talent with family and friends,” said Mudge.

Other formats include cutting an EP album which consists of just three to five songs. It is then typically released digitally online.

Students are charged $140 a month for four half-hour lessons. The studio is opened Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday by appointment, and closed on Sunday.

“We are here to enrich people’s lives through music. Everyone enjoys music, either as a hobby or professionally,” said Bauer.

Mudge underscores, “Many people put off learning an instrument they’ve always wanted to learn. But it’s never too late. If you have the desire, we’ll get you to where you want to go.”

To explore the full range of services offered by Modal Music Studio, drop by


Published in a November 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES