Hands in Harmony opens new studio on Near West Side

Rev-Up MKE runner-up moves to larger space

The new Hands in Harmony studio.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

At the Rev-Up MKE pitch competition in September 2017, Annalies Tilley-Grantz, owner of Hands in Harmony Piano Studio, described her plans to open a larger studio space on Milwaukee’s Near West Side and sought the capital to make it happen.

Now, Tilley-Grantz has brought that dream to fruition with a new studio space at 3301 W. Highland Ave.

Hands in Harmony was the runner-up in the 2017 Rev-Up MKE competition, held annually by Near West Side Partners Inc., winning $4,000.

When she made her pitch last September, Tilley-Grantz taught 75 piano students and had a 32-student waitlist for her lessons, offered at after-school programs on the Near West Side. With the addition of the 2,200-square-foot studio space and an expansion to six piano teachers giving lessons there and at three schools, Hands in Harmony now teaches 200 students and is continuing to add more, she said.

The company offers piano instruction, music theory and composition for children and adults. The new studio, a home leased from Near West Side Partners member Potawatomi Business Development Corp. with the help of NWSP supporter Colliers International Wisconsin, has five soundproofed lesson rooms and a small performance area.

“The challenge that we were facing was that I wanted to keep a homelike place, even though I knew we were going into a bigger space,” said Tilley-Grantz, who previously operated out of her home on the Near West Side. “I didn’t want to find a warehouse or something that would lose that feel. It’s perfect because the walls are really thick and you can bang on a piano in a room right next to you and not hear it.”

Tilley-Grantz said the mentorship she received from NWSP member Marquette University through the Rev-Up MKE competition helped her prepare to open the studio.

“As an artist, I have a lot of ideas and they just really helped organize them into a business framework and showed me where I needed to delegate funds and where things needed to be streamlined in the business,” she said.

Tilley-Grantz grew up in the Near West Side neighborhood, and is committed to keeping her business there, she said. There has been a lot of demand for lessons, and Hands in Harmony plans to add up to 100 more students.

“We don’t have anything like this in this area at all,” she said. “I think for a lot of parents, transportation and ease of accessibility is a huge factor in being able to provide lessons to their kids. My hope is that through the after-school programs we can begin to give kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to music that opportunity.”

Hands in Harmony moved into the new studio Sept. 1, and will hold a grand opening event on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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