Dave Dalton has a priority when it comes to teaching music lessons.

“No. 1, I want to make it fun,” he said.

Dalton opened Woodstock School of Music Aug. 1, bringing his more than 30 years of music-teaching experience to a storefront at 107 Dean St., just off the Woodstock Square.

The Wonder Lake musician, who also runs a recording studio, had been teaching lessons elsewhere when he decided to branch out on his own. Dalton offers guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele and drum lessons himself, while another instructor teaches piano and accordion. Those offerings could expand someday, he said.

Dalton has a roster of students ranging in age from about 7 to 70, and their skill levels vary, too. Some are first-timers who’ve never picked up an instrument before, while others are trying to build on existing talents or relearn lessons they’ve long forgotten.

“Everybody’s different, and the way you teach them is different, too,” Dalton said. “… You learn to read people and how to work with them.”

Jason Carpenter of Woodstock is one of Dalton’s guitar students. Carpenter, 43, said he’s taking lessons at Woodstock School of Music to improve his understanding of music theory.

“He was totally adaptive to the way I wanted to learn, which was cool. … I’ve had a lot of teachers in my day, and every one except Dave, I had to adapt to the teacher,” Carpenter said. “In this case, for better or worse, Dave is very adaptive to the student, and I think it’s for better.”

Dalton, a lifelong musician who performs solo and in bands, said he sometimes encounters grateful former students who grew up to become musicians themselves.

“It’s funny, the people I run across in their 40s who are in bands and play guitar, and they say, ‘Man, I remember I took lessons from you and you showed me this and you showed me that!’” Dalton said. “That makes me feel good, because you don’t really see them, and then 25 years later, to know that something that I did had some kind of impact on them is very cool.”

To contact Woodstock School of Music, call 815-403-8885.

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