When playing music at home became nearly impossible, Martha Larson started searching for a spot of her own. What she found out was there were many others in Northfield seeking a practice space.

Her desire to play with a group of musicians and practice led her to opening Hot Spot Music. She’s had the space a little more than a year now and has started to serve as a music incubator.

The three-room building located at 801 Division St. S in Northfield has a studio with a piano in one room, a lounge area in another room and the third room is occupied by ArtMakers, a space dedicated to puppetry and children’s theater.

“When you’re in a musical group it’s hard to do in your house without moving all the furniture,” Larson said.

Larson can focus on arrangements at Hot Spot Music rather than rearranging furniture at home now.

Each Sunday, Hot Spot Music hosts jazz jams from 2-3:30 p.m. Around 45 minutes before each jam, there is a music lesson, Larson said. The participation in the jam sessions has grown and Larson said she’d like to expand into other genres as well.

“It’s been catching on really well,” she said. “It’s like if you build it, they will come.”

The space can be reserved for one-time rental use or monthly. Private instructors hold lessons at the studio, which includes a safe storage area, as well. A guitar and banjo instructor give lessons from Hot Spot Music now.

“It’s been miraculously easy to fit people in,” Larson said.

Larson, a cellist, has also sought to bring in professional musicians to give lessons at Hot Spot Music. Though Northfield boasts musical resources from St. Olaf and Carleton College, finding instructors for adult musicians isn’t always easy, Larson said.

“It’s hard to find high-quality adult instructors,” Larson said. “I’ve had instructors from Chicago, pros from the cities. The idea is, how can you learn from the pros in a town of 20,000?”

The studio has even been used as a recording space. Those interested in recording there have to bring their own sound engineer, however.

Hot Spot Music is two blocks from Larson’s home, which makes it easier to practice. It, too, is a cozy spot, but with more functionality for playing music.

“It sort of completes my Northfield experience,” Larson said.

Nick Gerhardt is the Northfield News Associate Editor. You can reach him at 645-1136. Follow him on Twitter @NfldNewsNick.

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