Between $3,000 guitars, $2,000 microphones, recording sessions and performing live, being in a band isn't cheap or easy.
"Getting into music is like getting into cars," said Christos Maricle, one of the owners of the recently opened Masters of Music in Towson. "You can start off with a basic guitar kit for about $200 but you'll soon start wanting nicer stuff."
When Maricle, 32, and his business partner Jason George, 36, started Masters of Music in May, they did so with the idea of providing the "complete band experience" in one spot.
At its most basic, the music education business offers lessons for instruments such as guitar, piano and drums, as well as vocal instruction. But Masters of Music also has options for those looking to go to the next level.
"We like to get the students in bands; we record, they perform live," George, said. "It's about trying to give it a more interesting flair for students than a typical music program that may cost parents as much as a private school education but really doesn't draw kids in."
Masters of Music also creates retail-ready CDs, offers songwriting lessons and photo sessions and organizes private showcases for students. Students are placed in bands based on skill level.
George added that the instructors are also "hand-picked."
"We have very dedicated teachers," he said. "We didn't advertise these positions. We put people in that we trust."
But what sets Masters of Music apart from other band schools, he said, is the access to a professional recording studio.
George is part owner of The Nice Package Recording Company, at 5 West Chesapeake Ave., which he started with his brother in 2001. Masters of Music opened in the lower level of the same location.
"It's a perfect complementary business," he said.
An additional draw is the host of equipment the music lovers have accumulated over their lifetimes, which is available for student use.
"We have nearly $100,000 worth of pro gear here," Maricle said with a laugh as he showcased a high-end Rickenbacker guitar.
"I wouldn't say I'm that musically accomplished," he said, noting that he first started learning to play the guitar as a teen to impress girls.
George, however, has been drawn to music from an early age. His mother earned a music degree from and his grandmother was a dancer.
"There was a lot of theater and music growing up," he said.
What the pair hopes to ultimately accomplish with Masters of Music is nurturing their students' passion.
"At the very core of it, there's something very human about listening to and playing music," Maricle said.