Blue Tree sprouts a new limb coming this spring


Several years ago Rebecca Smith arrived at the crossroads of life. In fact, she arrived several times. It was a pivotal, ever-revolving moment in her life. She was tired of working corporate jobs, she wasn’t happy, and she knew she needed to do something about it. She had aspirations to expand her then very small enterprise of piano-lessons-from-home-with-the-occasional-home-visit into a full-time career in a centralized location, except she wasn’t sure when, how, or where to make her move. One night while having a heart-to-heart with her close friend, Renee Peronne, the two friends wound up engrossed in a name-storming session for possible business names. They came up with many a wonderful name, including the name Blue Tree. Six years later, while dining with Renee at the Chatterbox, she noticed the empty storefront for lease. “We were eating dinner outside at the Box when I looked over and saw it.”

She knew she wanted to open her business in South Minneapolis. “I’ve always liked this corner, ever since I used to go to the Chatterbox karaoke. Plus, I live in the Ericson Neighborhood near the Baker’s Wife. I wanted to be close to home.” She saw an opportunity and decided to call Andy Root, owner of Forteva Real Estate, the owner of said building.

For those who do not know Andy Root, he specializes in purchasing southeast Minneapolis buildings, rehabbing them for lease to local businesses that have a vested interest in community contribution. Forteva Real Estate owns several buildings in the 35th St./23rd Ave intersection. In addition to the building where Blue Tree and Mi Tesoro are located, Forteva also owns the building where Shear Art and Punk Rawk Labs Vegan Cheese Company are located, as well as the Northbound Brewery and A Cup Cake Social on the intersection of 38th St./28thAve.

Rebecca Smith is more than just a music teacher; she is a singer songwriter who is in tune with the universe. Rebecca met with Andy Root. “Andy handed me a business card that had a blue tree on it. I knew then and there that it was meant to be.”

Just over a year ago, standing at the crossroads turned out to be the crossroads at 35th St. and 23rd Ave., the current home of Blue Tree Music Education.

Blue Tree Music Education started as piano lessons from home with the occasional home visit. Now it is located at 3503 23rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407, and offers affordable piano, guitar, and voice lessons for all ages starting with piano at age 4, guitar at age 7, and voice for everyone. There are a total of six instructors, two for guitar and two for piano, and they are looking to add drums into the mix. Four of the six instructors are also recording artists.

Blue Tree Music Education is open year round. During the school year, scheduling roughly follows the MPS schedule. Space and books are provided; the student only has to show up. Lessons are month-to-month and there is a sibling discount for children in the same family. Many of the students come from neighboring Seward Montessori, Dowling, Northrup, and other schools, as well as home school students. Parents can enjoy free coffee and tea in the lobby while they wait. Parents and children look forward to Parent Night Out (pizza and movie) held on the last Friday of the month.

For students who are interested in other types of lessons such as mandolin or fiddle, Blue Tree sends them down to Blackbird Music located 3445 Cedar Ave, next to the CNO office.

Blue Tree has seen a 70% increase in student registration since its opening day, on December 14, 2012. As a result Blue Tree is expanding into the neighboring space once known as the Minibike Shop.

For more information contact Rebecca Smith (612) 388-5014 or visit

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