If you called Kyle Overbay a few months ago, you would hear the product of a year of music lessons.

"Yo baby, you called us. Now leave us a message - or else" - a duet.

Kyle, 10, and his best friend collaborated on the project which left Kyle's mom Jeannine Overbay giggling.

"He always liked to sing," she said. "We weren't sure if he was old enough for lessons."

Kyle was old enough and soon will become a student of the Astoria Music Conservatory - as his music teacher Lisa Nelson transfers her private lessons business into a school at First Presbyterian Church, pending Astoria City Council approval.

Nelson has watched the boy who loves to sing progress over the year.

"When he came to me, he was very much a beginner," Nelson said. Now he's now got intonation and projection and a huge range."

Nelson teaches voice, guitar and piano. The conservatory will be adding teachers for advanced piano, strings, woodwinds and percussion.

"My dream for the conservatory is it will be a central focus for the music community," Nelson said.

Nelson taught for a year at Astoria High School and Lewis and Clark Elementary School but then started her own business. She currently has 25 students ranging from 6-year-olds to adults.

Nelson studied music and earned her teaching credentials from Sierra Nevada College. Her father engineered for the Grateful Dead and other musicians, so she was surrounded by it. She always knew she wanted to do some kind of music, but never thought she would be a teacher.

While in school, an instructor recommended she give lessons and she fell in love with the profession.

Now she takes much of her curriculum from college as well as conservatory instructors.

Conservatories are typically based on individual instruction as opposed to music schools - which include ensemble classes and music history.

"The public schools do a fantastic job of introducing students to music but (this is) for students who want to go further," she said.

She will be able to serve up to 100 students in the new school and is considering contracting with five other teachers.

To prepare students' biannual recitals, Nelson teaches vocal technique and projection as well as stage presence. She's met very few people who are truly tone deaf - and can't differentiate pitch, she said.

"People who have trouble and don't do it consistently," she said. "That's simply a matter of practice."

Singers also have to take care of themselves by getting the proper amount of sleep, eating healthy food, exercising, abstaining from caffeine, drugs and smoking.

When Nelson was younger she was in a Grateful Dead cover band. At the time she lived in Nevada, but sometimes the band played in California, where the bars were smoke-free.

"I would come home and be like, 'I can breath,'" she said.

Her instruction requires students to practice 30 minutes a day and includes some music theory and note reading.

"There are too many singers who walk into a studio with great voices and no clue as where to come in," she said.

Nelson also plans to offer workshops including children's choir and ensembles.

For more information contact Nelson at 325-9246 or go to the Web site (www.astoriamusic.com).