By Stacy Keith
As the mission of the Lubbock Cultural Arts Foundation is to champion and cultivate the arts in Lubbock – I try to keep a look out for new arts groups and businesses in Lubbock and “Mockingbird Guitar Studio” caught my eye on social one evening. It was a new name I’d not encountered before and I reached out to inquire about this business and heard a quick reply from its founder Robin Harrell.
Mockingbird Guitar Studio offers private lessons for ages eight through adult to those interested in learning guitar, bass or ukulele. Robin has been teaching since 1983 and emphasizes she loves teaching beginners. She has a long history in music (performing in a family band as a young girl) and comes to Lubbock from Hastings, Nebraska. Before her life in Nebraska, she lived in North Carolina where she received a bachelor’s in fine arts in Painting from University of North Carolina Greensboro. Robin married and moved to Hastings and it was there she began teaching guitar, but this wasn’t the extent to her musical contributions to the community. What is interesting about the small town of Hastings is its location. It is served by four major US highways – positioning it ideally on many national touring routes.
Robin founded a non-profit concert series in 1991 called “The Listening Room” which supported local and regional singers and songwriters. The concept was to provide a space for listening audiences, those who enjoy hearing something new and seeing a musician perform within the creative process. It is critical for songwriters to have a way to test new songs in front of audiences and the Listening Room provided that safe space. The series grew to even national level touring groups. The concerts were well loved in the community and in 2011, the non-profit purchased and renovated a historic downtown building in Hastings which provided a permanent home for this unique program. The organization and building are still there today, and the building is called “The Lark.”
Robin poured her energy and love into this wonderful work, but in 2019, someone came along who would steal her heart and lure her to Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech University School of Music professor Roger Landes had been one of the touring musicians that visited The Listening Room and first played the series in 1998. Over the years, life took some twists and turns, and eventually a romantic relationship developed between Robin and Roger. The couple married in 2020. Robin retired from The Listening Room and moved to Lubbock in October 2021 to make a new life with Roger.
Though Robin had to leave the building and non-profit she loved, lucky for Lubbock, she brought along her energy, love of music and ideas with her. She has already founded her new studio, Mockingbird Studio, and is busy becoming involved in the Lubbock arts scene.
If you would be interested in connecting with Robin for lessons, she can be reached at email@example.com.