For the love of music, arts
In November 2019, Rand Certain decided it was time to move away from the hustle and bustle of Plano to a more peaceful place after his youngest child moved out. The longtime piano and violin teacher chose Van Alstyne as his new home. For the past year, he has been working to establish a music instruction business in his newly adopted hometown. Since there are few options for learning string instruments close to home, he hopes to fill a void for which he sees a strong demand.
“I’m excited to bring arts to this part of North Texas and to bring the strength of learning music to Van Alstyne and the surrounding area,” he said.
For 26 years, Certain ran his private music instruction business, Certain Music, out of a location in Plano. When he moved to Van Alstyne, he carved out a spot in his new house to create a private teaching area.
Of course, not long after his move, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on all forms of in-person instruction. As fate would have it, Certain had recently started experimenting will online lessons via Google Meets and Google Hangouts.
“I was very fortunate my students were able to transition to Hangouts with an online video format,” he said.
These days he teaches both in-person and online students. Despite all of the challenges 2020 brought, he says he’s managed to still get his foot in the door in Van Alstyne. During the 2020 Christmas tree lighting ceremony, members of his classes played Christmas carols in the gazebo at Dorothy Fielder Park.
Students of all ages, including adults, are welcomed at Certain Music. While the youngest ones are typically in the four to six-year-old range, Certain has taught three-year-old’s who demonstrated a love of music and the ability to take instruction. He recently added a second piano teacher and a voice instructor to better serve students.
Certain says that his passion for music began when he was just two years old. He credits his first teachers, Franklin and Dorothy Washburn, with instilling a solid foundation in music theory. In addition to teaching him how to play the violin and piano, they also taught him technical skills like replacing strings and chin rests.
As an adult, Certain has played with a wide range of musicians from violinist Itzaak Perlman to country legend Randy Travis. He is also an ordained pastor. While he no longer works in an official capacity for a church, he jokes that you are never fully retired from the ministry. He also continues to serve as an elder for the Lutheran church he attends.
Looking ahead, Certain hopes to continue growing his business. If things continue going well, he also dreams of one day working with other community arts leaders to establish a performing arts venue for people in the Van Alstyne area.
“Everyone deserves to know how to play a musical instrument,” Certain said.