Triumph Music Academy

Triumph Music Academy

5.0 (7)
Best of 2023
4 hires on
15 employees
12 years in business

About this pro

Triumph is West Michigan's highest rated music school! The Academy is the foremost leader in cutting edge extracurricular music education; starting the first year round rock band program in Grand Rapids, facilitating lessons in electronic music, and offering a recording program through Grand Rapids' most professional rcording studio - to name a few. No other school in the area offers mentorship under respected professional performers and composers like the staff at Triumph. 

Every single teacher at Triumph has a passion for assisting students and musicians of all ages and skill levels in reaching their personal goals and dreams. For us, sharing music and helping achieve success is what we live for!

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Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Email verified
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7 Reviews


  • Thomas Willett

    I love the instructors at Triumph. James has a wealth of knowledge and keeps things interesting. I have played for 40 years and still find I have lots to learn.

  • Jerry Smith

    We have been with Triumph Music a little over 2 years and have had the best experience imaginable. We have had my daughter taking piano and drums lessons in that time and she has excelled more than we could have imagined, I have also been taking guitar lessons with James and have had a great experience. My daughter has also been playing in one of the bands that the director James Hughes has put together, they have played numerous great gigs in that time and absolutely loves it. I cannot say enough about the staff that James has put together to ensure the best direction for their students. They are very compassionate about the music they teach the students. James does an excellent job and goes above and beyond to ensure his staff and the students excel. I recommend Triumph to anyone wanting to learn a musical talent.

  • David Young.

    My time as student of James has been very fulfilling. I waited until I was 47 to pick up the bass and James has made the learning experience enjoyable. I am my own worst critic and can be very hard on myself when try master a particular difficult song or technique. But I can count on James for words of encouragement and to point the bright spots when I can only see the negative. He has re-introduced me to music from my younger days and shown me aspects of it which I never notice before. Thank James for continued encouragement and enlightenment.

  • Dana W. Nyson

    Triumph Music Academy changed my life!!!! I had been a “bedroom” guitar player for years and years—a poor one at that and terrified to play in front of ANYONE. About six years ago, at age 50, I decided it was time to change those things and walked through the Triumph doors and smack into James Hughes. Right from the get-go James took me under his knowledgeable wing—both nurturing and pushing me far beyond my comfort zone. It wasn’t too long before he was having me write songs. Then he took me to a studio where we started to record those songs. When we had enough for an EP we pressed a CD. Then the ULTIMATE happened, with James and two other Triumph instructors, the wildly talented Theo Ndawillie II and Jared Wakenman, we preformed an opening set at the Pyramid Scheme in GR! THAT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE AND ONE OF THE GREATEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE! I continue to work with both James and voice instructor Mark Jackson. With their patience and amazing instruction they push me to places I only dreamed of. I HIGHLY, STRONGLY, URGENTLY beg you to check out Triumph if you have any musical interests at all. EVERYONE there is not only amazingly talented, but along with their real world experience, they all go above and beyond to assist you in your pursuits.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

We first do a FREE initial appointment as both an intro lesson and an assessment of where the potential student is at, where they want to go, and how we can assist them to get there.

Next, we schedule regular weekly lesson times and the instructor will spend the next couple of lessons understanding the goals of the student and how they learn. 

Triumph is centered on individual, one-on-one learning. The instructor will take from and suppliment from various methods that will fit the needs and goals of each person that come through our school. We work diligently with students to start accomplishing small goals from week to week in order to accomplish larger ones over time.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

All of our instructors are professionals at the top of the music industry - performers, composers, producers, and touring musicians from right here in Grand Rapids, MI! 

Those on our staff all have a collegiate-level knowledge of music and professional experience from stages to studios. Collectively, our staff has the expertise to take you to where ever you want to go.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

To make it affordable to study with the area's top professionals on the Triumph staff, we have a monthly membership fee based on the length of lessons. Here are our packages:

$125/month, Weekly 30min lessons

$145/month, Weekly 45min lessons

$165/month, Weekly 60min lessons

How did you get started teaching?

James Forrest Hughes, School Director, started teaching in 2005 to suppliment his income while attending music school. He fell in love with teaching, along with continuing to perform as a touring and session musician. James founded Triumph in 2011 and the school has grown into offering the largest selection of instruments and programs in West Michigan!

What types of students have you worked with?

We have worked with all ages and the following:

Children (8 yrs old, +), Teens, Adults, and Seniors.

We also have worked with children that have special needs. 

Our facility is handicap accessible, with ramps, elevators, and restrooms.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

We love enabling students to creat and produce music, whether on their own or in a band. Recently, one of our students, Mica, needed assistance for a school project. She wrote a song and got help recording it and she documented the process. She learned how to program digital drums and how to take an electric bass line and turn it into a whole project! She also wrote lyrics and recorded vocals. This is a common occurance at our school!

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

If you are serious about music, invest in a teacher that has been where you want to go with music, even if it is just learning how to play songs around the campfire. The right teacher has to be invested in YOUR goals, not theirs. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

-What are my goals?

-What is my favorite music?

-Is there a list of songs that I want to learn?

-Can I carve out time to have fun with and practice my instruments at least 5 times a week?

-Do I have questions about my instrument or which one should I purchase? 

-6 months with a teacher is recommended to start seeing noticeable improvment. Can I commit to that?