Chris Achzet, a self-dubbed “roadie” for more than three decades working for Tim McGraw (and Faith), Rihanna, Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Lopez, is now the owner of music school Bach To Rock in Mt. Juliet where he offers programs for all ages.
The space is in the former Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. building on N. Mt. Juliet Road and was renovated to offer ways to make learning music fun, productive and interactive.
The franchise that calls itself “America’s Music School” was right up Achzet’s alley at this stage of his prolific career. With more than 23 years’ experience in drums, backline and production management, Achzet, 54, has an extensive knowledge of music and music tour production. He said he visited 92 countries and traveled more than 3 million miles.
“I wanted to feel like I was in America again,” he said. “I found the music scene at third grade. In elementary school my music teacher was so cool, and it was so much fun I knew I wanted to do it the rest of my life.”
He said the musical seed was planted in him at age 9. His music class was so much fun, and his teacher so inspirational, he knew then his future would revolve around music.
Turned out it did.
“Until in sixth grade I used a drum kit my parents gave me,” he said. “I give my mom a lot of credit, she tolerated it.”
He and his brother played in the basement to somewhat mute the sound and soon he had private drum lessons. He said he had a great high school experience playing drums in bands and earned an associate degree in performance.
He’s pretty mum about sharing stories about his famous musical employers but did reveal he still works with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and just a couple weeks ago did a gig with them. He helped tune McGraw’s guitar and drums.
Helping with the music
Three years ago, Achzet’s longtime companion, Holly, and their daughter Emma, at the time 12, enrolled Emma at Carroll Oakland Elementary in Lebanon and realized its music department was lacking instruments. He donated some, but it cemented the idea the public system needed a boost, or an alternative for creative students.
“There was a huge need,” he said.
He went home and researched music schools. He sought out Bach to Rock and found the answer.
“I’ve had a blessed career in live music performance as a result of my grammar school teacher,” he noted. “I wanted to bring the same level of passion and commitment to children in the Mt. Juliet area.”
Bach to Rock, which held its grand opening July 24, offers a curriculum-based music program that teaches many instruments with a strong focus on performance.
“Music brings such joy to everyone,” said Achzet, who is a voting member of the Country Music Association. “As a listener, as a performer, it transcends age, race and nationality. Music doesn’t care who you are. I’m so thrilled to open our Bach to Rock school to offer that to our students.”
He bought the franchise in June 2020. While he didn’t provide an exact number, he said he’s got his life savings invested into the business with dozens of rooms and new instruments. He said all his teachers have at least a degree in music.
There are five lesson rooms, three band rehearsal rooms, a performance room and a recording studio. One special place is the Kids n Key room where students ages 5 to 7 are introduced to music with keyboards. Achzet provides all the instruments, except wind instruments.
Assistant Jessica Lee said there are plans to provide both group and private lessons to anyone from toddlers to adults.
Lee was trained as a classical musician since the age of 6. She said she wished there was a school like Bach to Rock for her.
“My training lacked a lot of improv,” she said. “I love the idea of playing with a group, learning by ear as well, writing and singing.”
Caitlin Wilder, 3, and her sister Charlie, 5 are already taking lessons there. They have a drum set at home. Their mom, Erin, said her husband, CJ, is a full-time musician in Nashville and enrolling her girls in Bach to Rock was a no-brainer.
“Charlie has private lessons at home, but this augments it,” Erin said. “This is Caitlin’s first time. They are taking the Rock City World Tour Class. It’s been great.”
“There absolutely nothing we won’t teach. We even have songwriting and studio production,” said Achzet, “It’s the first Nashville area franchise. If I could have hand-picked anywhere, it would be Mt. Juliet.”