'We are all musicians': LO man opens Musician's Club of Oregon
A new business on State Street adjacent to George Rogers Park hopes to bring together musicians from Lake Oswego and beyond.
The Musician's Club of Oregon, 485 S State St., opened this past month as a space where musicians of all talent levels and genres can practice, meet and connect with one another in a fun environment tailored to fostering their creativity.
"The whole idea of this place is for people to be able to work on their connection to music, as well as to collaborate with other people," said David Kavanaugh, owner and founder.
Musician's Club of Oregon features a massive layout with practice areas, collaborative workspace, retail and a recording studio setup in the basement. There are also private practice spaces with drafting tables for writing/reading music and and amps at each station to plug in to.
Think of it as a gym for musicians. When you come in, you can practice by yourself or play with others.
"The core concept for me was to create an environment for people to come in, collaborate and hang out, or be more serious if they want," Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked in software sales and marketing; he also had a stint as a fitness trainer and worked as a sales representative for Schwinn Cycling. He moved to Lake Oswego with his wife in 2015 for a better environment for their two teenage boys.
An avid competitive cycler and fitness junkie, Kavanaugh was sidelined by injuries 11 years ago, but that experience allowed him to revisit his passion for music.
"I started playing music as a kid but got turned off by music lessons —people telling you what play," he said. "I got reconnected with music while I was injured, and I began playing by heart. It literally saved my life. The level of joy that I felt from learning improvisational playing was something that I had never experienced. It made me want to connect the dots with improvisation and structured music theory."
Kavanaugh is a guitar player foremost, but he also plays harmonica and piano and sings with a passion for blues and rock. While he doesn't aim to sound like any one artist in particular, he does hold Eric Clapton in high regard.
In starting his own business, Kavanaugh did a lot of soul searching on what he should do career-wise, and his gut told him that Musician's Club of Oregon was the right move for him.
"I believe that life is more fulfilled when you can connect to music. It's not about being a rockstar, but getting what you want out of music," he said. "I want to build a community around the joys of music for the musicians. We are all musicians and carry our own unique tune, don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
As a Fender retailer, Kavanaugh is able to provide his customers — club members — with access to some of the latest models of guitars, basses and amplifiers available. In the common area just inside the front door sit dozens of instruments waiting to be played by club members looking to hone their skills or just jam with new people.
Access to the club starts at $20 for the day. A monthly membership with a one-year contract will run you $99/month and offers unlimited access to the club and its benefits which include an internal message board where musicians can indicate what days they're available and what type of music they like to play so that others interested in playing with them can reach out and schedule a session. The club also offers a 10-session punch card for $150, as well as group rates for established bands or groups.
"There's a variety of scenarios for people who could benefit from (Musician's Club of Oregon), say a guy who plays drums but lives in an apartment building, or someone who has a family and can't really have people over to play music at their place," Kavanaugh explained. "This provides the opportunity for musicians (of all expertise) to come together in a non-threatening space."
Kavanaugh said that while they don't offer music lessons, per se, he's hoping to build a solid clientele of new and established musicians where they can share ideas, practice and teach each other through quasi-apprenticeships where the more skilled musicians pass on their knowledge and expertise to those seeking to learn and grow in their musicianship.
"It's only been (a few) weeks, but the more people get involved, the more those groups will be able to kind of form and that's kind of the idea," he said.
The Musician's Club of Oregon is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday to musicians of all ages and skill ranges. The club plans to host an open house throughout the weekend of June 21-23 during the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts for people interested to stop in, check out the space and maybe play a bit. For more information about the club and membership rates, visit its website at musicianscluboforegon.com or call Kavanaugh at (503) 305-6432.
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