Mike Risko Music School is about all things music. The company offers voice and instrument lessons in state-of-the-art studios. It rents band and orchestra instruments to kids all over Westchester. It sells boutique instrument brands. And the National Association of Music Merchants named it one of the top 100 music retailers in the world in 2014 and 2015.
Mike Risko started the shop in 1995 with two lesson rooms. In 1997, he invited his friend and bandmate Miriam Baily to teach at the store. Their partnership steadily grew and blossomed into a romance, and the two married in 2000. “We attribute our success to loving what we do and each other,” says Miriam, noting that they built the business from scratch. “There were no investors or financial support, just a dream and a love of all things music.”
The company is now celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it’s still run on the firm belief that there is something musical for everyone. Two years ago, the Riskos started a musical theatre camp. Last year, they renovated the school to include a stage—complete with cool lights and décor—for rock music lessons. And, this year, they launched a band and orchestra boot camp. The next idea could come at any time, says Miriam: “One of us might wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘I have a great idea for the business,’ and suddenly we are brainstorming at 3 am.”