Jim Schiffman compares playing music to working out.
“You jam for a little while and you feel great,” says the 50-year-old business executive who’s passionate about his hobby. “If I’m sitting at the drums and I get a rhythm that works, it’s exciting.”
Schiffman is not alone. There’s a huge population of professionals on the North Shore who enjoy playing instruments when they leave their day jobs, and that’s what led Schiffman to open The Shed, a 3,800-square-foot space that he calls “a country club for musicians.” Tucked away at the end of an industrial park in Highland Park, The Shed is a place where music lovers can jam, practice, network, and record songs.
“Our market isn’t Richard Marx or Mick Jagger, and our membership isn’t starving musicians,” says Schiffman, who says he wanted his club to have a beautiful, luxurious interior. “Our market is people in the corporate world who want to have fun and be involved with music.”
“The Shed is as nice or nicer than most people’s living rooms,” says 57-year-old Mark Taylor, who is the senior vice president and regional director of a financial services company, “Instead of driving your family crazy in your home, it gives you a musical experience without those challenges.”
Lynette Foss is a biology professor at Columbia College and is a regular.
“I’m a keyboard player and a vocalist and I love having a band to back me up, which is what you get at The Shed.”
Schiffman says he started taking music lessons five years ago at School of Rock Music in Highland Park. That’s where he met a network of musicians, who were all looking for a place other than each other’s basements to practice.
Rob Rowe, owner of School of Rock Music says that their emphasis used to be mainly on kids. “At some point, we had so many adults who were interested that we started an adult program,” says Rowe. “We have adult lessons and rehearsals, and every four months we put on shows at clubs, and now, The Shed has taken this to a new level.”
The Guitar Center in Highland Park also has a large population of adult clients, and offers an open mike format every Friday night.
“Teachers start out and then students perform to get used to playing live,” says manager, William Rodriguez. “It’s fun because you don’t have to commit to a band, but you get the experience.”
“Playing in my band is the most relaxing time I have all week,” says 40 year-old Internal medicine physician, Mike Sommerfeld, “The Shed is perfectly stocked with the latest equipment and it helps prepare you for performing live.”
“The stage is ready for our clients when they come in,” says Schiffman. “If they need drinks, we have them on ice. We make people feel important and taken care of and appreciated.”
Members pay an initiation fee and monthly dues. Non-members can rent space and recording time, but the rate structure is different.
In addition to its main performance stage, recording studio and rehearsal room, The Shed also has space for private parties and events, and will host several non-profit events to give back to the community. The first fundraiser is planned for August 11 to benefit Rebecca’s Dream, an organization dedicated to helping teen depression.
Kim Fritkin-Schiffman is the club’s event manager, interior designer and Shiffman’s wife, and says that the goal for the benefit is to educate attendees on positive strategies, such as yoga, support groups, and of course, music therapy.
“When the music works it’s nirvana,” says Schiffman. “I do this for sheer enjoyment, and I am the demographic of The Shed.”
1480 Old Deerfield Rd.