By Kyle Siegel
Sedalia native Justin Lawson, age 30, has long been a staple in the local music scene, both onstage and behind the scenes. With 14 years experience with giving music lessons, playing in a wide variety of bands, as well as producing shows, he doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
Lawson was born in Sedalia and he graduated from Smith-Cotton High School, before moving on to attend SFCC. While at S-C, Lawson played guitar and saxophone in the band.
Currently, Lawson gives music lessons at Wilken Music from 1 until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. He also gives lessons on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I give guitar, drums, bass, and all school band instruments, including mandolin and banjo,” Lawson said.
He added, “I’ve done it since I was 16 years old. I have students as young as three and as old as 78. I just love music and I thought if I could help people enjoy it as much as I do, it would be worth it.”
Lawson spoke on how the teaching job at Wilken Music came about.
“I hung around there all the time. They had an opening one day, and I got it and started from there,” he said.
Lawson was asked if he got involved with music at an early age, and he replied, “I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14. I’ve played everything Hard Rock, to Metal, Blues and Country. I love all kinds of music.”
He added, “I feel the more that you play, the more diverse your style. I try to instill that in my students as well.”
Outside of music lessons, Lawson has been working on expanding his own recording studio.
“I’m still expanding it, but I have a recording studio. It’s a recording studio for local music. It is to help out bands that don’t have an opportunity to record, or have much money to get their music out there,” Lawson explained.
Lawson calls the studio Making the Band Studio and he uses Pro-Tools, a widely known and used recording software.
Lawson took the name Making the Band Studio from the annual Making the Band program that he started six years ago. The sixth annual Making the Band show will be held this Saturday, July 20, at the American Legion Post 642 from noon to 11 p.m. Lawson spoke about the program and how it got started.
“This is the sixth annual Making the Band program. It runs from January to June with a show in July. The premise is that the kids learn how to play together, write their own songs, how to record, sell merchandise, put out flyers and give interviews.
“There is no judging at all. It gives them a chance to showcase their talent. They get to keep the money from selling their albums,” Lawson said.
Lawson was asked if there are any other projects that he is looking into.
“My goal is to put on a Halloween show and a Christmas show for families in need. A dinner and gifts for their kids,” Lawson explained.
The sixth annual Making the Band is this Saturday at the American Legion Post 642, from noon to 11 p.m. There is a one dollar donation that goes back into the program. There are 11 bands playing, and six of them are special guests, according to Lawson.
There will also be a raffle for a drum set and guitar, as well as concert tickets.