In 2002, Salman Farshchi began taking lessons with music teacher Loghman Adhami. But soon after, Farshchi decided to take another road.
He began instruction with another music teacher, but quickly realized that he should have stuck with his first instinct. At Adhami's Costa Mesa International Music School, Farshchi had private instruction. At his new teacher's, he played in a mixed-level class.
But the lower price and the smaller class size wasn't the only thing that drew Farshchi back to the International Music School.
"He's honest," Farshchi said. "He's very straightforward; he motivated me. He encouraged me to just stick with my instruments."
When Farshchi returned, he opted to study violin under Adhami.
Adhami started the International Music School during the recession in the early 1990s at the urging of a student he taught privately.
Before that, Adhami toured the world playing violin. In the Persian community, he is a well-known and respected musician, Farshchi said.
And Adhami's school has not curtailed his performance scheduled. He continues to perform, record and release albums.
Initially, it was the Persian community that boosted his business, but this year a majority of his students are not Persian. He has about seven or eight teachers now, and he's had as many as 20 teaching for a time.
Hiring instructors is an important process to Adhami. All of his instructors have degrees in music or some aspect of it. He makes them play their instrument for him and give him a mock lesson before he will hire them.
The instructors give half-an-hour lessons for $25 and specialize in all classical instruments as well as Persian instruments like the santur. One of the best instruments for beginners is the piano, Adhami noted.
The school's most popular classes are vocal lessons. Voice coach Helen Bilezikjian said anyone can learn how to sing. She doesn't believe anyone has a "tin ear," but that the voice is like a muscle that needs to be developed in order to control it. She teaches students from 9 years old to people in their 50s, and she and Adhami said it's never too late to learn.
Although Adhami continues to perform, he said he loves teaching because he feels it's a way to give back to those who have helped him along the way.
"As long as you get older, you feel connected with students and want to pass the information to young people," Adhami said. "I felt I owed the people who taught me … but I love it, and I also like to give this service to my community."
Although Adhami lives with his wife in Mission Viejo, Adhami said he has enjoyed being a part of Costa Mesa and watching its artists grow.
Farshchi now attends UC San Diego studying biomedical engineering and said he continues to look up to Adhami as a musician and a friend.
The International Music School is at 2588-B Newport Blvd. at Del Mar Avenue.
For more information, call (949) 650-7788 or go to www.internationalmusicschool.com.