Schedule A Lesson!

(610) 451-7883

We teach private and group piano, drum, electric bass, upright bass (double bass), guitar, voice, violin, cello, ukulele, banjo, flute, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and clarinet lessons at our Fishtown location. We travel throughout Philadelphia, Lower Merion, and all along the Main Line for in-home lessons.


Teachers work with beginner, intermediate, and advanced students of all ages (kids, teens, and adults). Each lesson involves its own creative approach, based on interests, needs, and goals.


About Us

We are a group of teachers and musicians, brought together by our shared love of music and education. Located in Fishtown, our studio is a hop, skip, and a jump from just about anywhere in Philly. We personally create unique and engaging lesson plans, designing them based on each individual student. Students can take lessons at our studio or in their homes.

As musicians, we value both the art and the craft of music - we encourage creativity and exploration while steadily building a strong framework of fundamental skills. We aim to cultivate a deep understanding of music to allow students to achieve a variety of goals. To start lessons with us, call 610 451 7883

About Our Teachers
  • Guitar Lessons

    Our teachers design fun and creative lesson plans specifically for you. Chords, soloing, improvisation, and theory are all taught in a progressive and easy to understand manner. We offer personalized guitar lessons for all ages, styles and skill levels.

  • Drum Lessons

    We can help beginners quickly learn the basic patterns and techniques to back up a band. Once you've got the basics, we'll help you learn interdependence and the advanced techniques of the masters.

  • Piano Lessons

    Whether you want to learn how to read music, or just play along with your favorite songs, our teachers will take a customized approach, and create the perfect lesson plan for you.

  • Voice Lessons

    Whether you're a complete beginner, or have been singing for years, voice lessons can be an eye opening experience. Learn proper breathe control, body alignment and vocal placement to maximize the potential of your voice.

  • Violin Lessons

    Discover the Suzuki method for violin, and learn your favorite songs at the same time! We'll give you the proper technical foundation to make the violin sound warm and beautiful.

  • Sax & Clarinet Lessons

    From beginners to advanced, we will teach the fundamentals of playing woodwind instruments, including proper breath control, tone and technique. Advanced students can learn jazz theory, dixie land melodies, and more in depth orchestral pieces.

  • Upright Bass

    Increase your knowledge of upright bass (double bass), or learn this string instrument as a beginner. Our teachers offer lessons to children and adults alike. We teach the basic skills, such as rest stroke and bowing, which apply to studies in jazz, classical, bluegrass and more.

  • Bass Guitar

    Bass guitar is the foundation of a band. Working from tabs or standard notation, beginners will be able to follow along with their favorite songs in no time. More advanced students can learn theory and how to construct bass lines.

  • Ukulele Lessons

    Great for tiny fingers! The Ukulele is a fantastic first instrument for kids and budding musicians of all ages. Our lessons will teach you the fundamentals of any string instrument, while exploring styles and strumming patterns unique to the ukulele.

  • Cello Lessons

    Learn the fundamentals of bowing and fingering to get a beautiful tone out of your cello. Our string teachers have degrees from various music programs throughout the country and are great with beginners and advanced students alike.

  • Trumpet Lessons

    Learn how to read music, proper embouchure and breathing techniques, all while gaining the skills necessary to perform in an orchestra or ensemble.

  • Baby and Kids Classes

    We offer baby classes (ages 0-3) and kids classes (ages 3-5) which feature performances, dancing and sing-alongs for kids and their parents. Instruments are provided so everyone can get involved! Our older classes also include general music education.

  • Flute Lessons

    Learn how to read music, proper breathing technique and the standard repertoire, all while gaining the skills necessary to perform in an orchestra or ensemble.

Our Teaching Philosophy

We pride ourselves on our teachers' abilities to engage with students based on their unique learning styles and goals! Our core instructors have strong backgrounds in a variety of musical styles: jazz, classical, bluegrass, rock, blues, and more. With methods ranging from ear-training and intuitive playing to advanced studies in notation and music theory, our lessons provide thoughtful and fun guidance. With a broad range of experience, our teachers will prepare students for performance, collaboration, composition, and more.

Student Events

Watch videos of our students recent performances.

View Student Recitals

Drum Tutorials and Technique Discussions

drum teachers and lessons for technique enhancement

Keeping in mind certain principles while exploring drum technique is key to avoiding injury and maximizing performance.

Basic Drum Stick Technique

Stay Loose, Avoid Injury, and Maximize Natural Motion with Rebound

Most drummers, beginners and experienced, struggle with stick technique. There are many different ways to hold the sticks and strike the drums. I’ve spent many years working on technique and have even had to relearn the fundamentals after a hand injury. Through these trials and tribulations, I discovered that there isn’t just one technique for holding the sticks. There are, however, certain principles that will make techniques more effective (and help you avoid injury): form should be comfortable and loose, motion should follow natural body motion, and technique should utilize the rebound of the drum or cymbal.

 

  1. Stay loose! No matter how you hold the sticks, you should never feel tense or stressed. I liken holding the sticks to holding a hammer and building a shed – If you grip the hammer too tightly, you probably won’t last a dozen or so nails. If you allow the hammer to do the work, you can swing that thing all day long. Drum instructors talk about the fulcrum of the stick. This is the area where the pad of your thumb and the first or second finger hold the stick. It should be around the bottom third of the drum stick. How you hold this point is dependent on your own physiology (more to come on this), and you should never grip tightly. The balance point should be relatively loose so you don’t create tension in your tendons.
Drum Tutorials

5 Examples of Fulcrum Hand Positions – Students may prefer different grips based on their physiology.

 

  1. Embrace Natural Body Motions. Think of a hinge on a seesaw – The wrist is a hinge, and your technique should use that seesaw motion to your advantage (I like to play with my wrist relatively flat). Regardless of your preferred technique, the wrists should be loose and doing most of the work. A lot of people focus on using the fingers. Fingers are important to technique – they allow you to play at softer dynamics and get a lot of snap out of your sound. However, you can do all of those things with wrist motion. If you are using your fingers, just make sure they don’t impede the motion of the stick – You never want to create extra fulcrums with your fingers. Make sure your fingers are in a natural and relaxed position to avoid creating tension between the tendons on the top and bottom of your forearm. Such tension can lead to injury.
Relaxing into Drum Form

Find the balance point (fulcrum), but stay loose and relaxed – Find an interplay of rebound and natural motion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

learning drums and taking drum lessons

Notice the looseness in the wrist (seesaw motion) and fingers across multiple techniques.

 

  1. Rebound is Everything. Sticks are designed to achieve maximum rebound. This is why sticks taper towards the end and have a defined tip. Likewise, drums and cymbals also have substantial rebound. The degree of rebound varies based on tuning and cymbal weight, but you must always use it to your advantage. If you strike a drum or cymbal and don’t feel the stick flying back at you, then you aren’t loose or aren’t holding the stick at it’s balance point. Stick rebound is like dribbling a ball – You should always feel the power of the stick coming back at you after you throw the stick down at the cymbal or drum.

 

Summary

Your technique will be influenced by the size of your hand and fingers and will not look exactly like others’. Regardless, it should still follow the above guidelines. Constantly check that you are tension free, using natural body motion, and using the rebound of the stick and the instrument. If you are struggling, try practicing in front of a mirror to monitor the fine points of your technique.

 

This Saturday, Baby and Kid Music in Fishtown

Music & Community for Kids in Fishtown

This Saturday, March 14th, join us for some weekend music in Fishtown! For all those who can’t make our weekday times, you can come sing with your little ones at Philly Music Lessons on select Saturdays. These classes revolve around fundamental musical concepts. However, the benefits of gathering for collective song are far reaching and go beyond brain development and early music learning. The qualities I get most excited about are the social and sharing opportunities. We often forget how important friends and community are for babies and young children. As adults, communities develop around work, neighborhood hot spots, interests, and of course within our families. They are essential to our well-being! Its amazing to see how children need community too. It quickly becomes a staple in their own little lives, as source of joy and a creator of shared purpose. A place among peers can become a seed for individuality. Community doesn’t happen right off the bat – it takes time to trust and get to know each other. Its clear these Fishtown kiddos relish in the opportunity to create their own little world. After some possible initial shyness, leaving mom’s lap is a first step into that outer world. Full of goals and inspiration, social experimentation and art, classes become a studio for these little minds to create their own space. The children who have been at it the longest are really starting to call these music classes their own – they identify favorite songs, negotiate with each other, and develop a curiosity about music and a shared language.

Come see for yourself! Friendships await.

Saturday Group Music for Babies

Fishtown Saturday Fun

Music Classes in Fishtown (Baby and Tots 0-4)

  • $10/class when you sign up for the month (Weekdays or Weekends)
  • $15 Drop in (email first)
  • First time FREE!
  • Weekly classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays @10 AM
  • Wednesdays 11:30 AM
  • See our Calendar for upcoming Saturdays

Email Phillymusicbabies@gmail.com or Contact Us

Drum Teachers at Philly Music Lessons

Meet one of our Tried-and True Drum Teachers, Tom Cullen

Tom Cullen - Drum Lessons in Philadelphia

Tom Cullen – Drum Lessons in Philadelphia

We have two drum teachers at Philly Music Lessons. Both Temple grads of the Boyer College of Music, these guys are experienced performers and teachers. Tom Cullen and Alex Maio have been with us since the beginning – since before we started interviewing teachers about their own experience and interests! Thus, we have some fresh new thoughts from them. Here is Tom Cullen’s interview:

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My main goal as a musician is to be able to express myself without limitations. I’m on an endless path to be able to channel all the musical ideas in my head through my instrument. My other goal is to make others feel what I am feeling. I want my music to effect people emotionally and hopefully even make them want to move and dance.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
I remember when the Moeller Technique finally clicked for me. I was studying the technique for months with no real sign of it improving my playing. Until one night all the hard practice paid off. It happened on a gig. I placed my hands over the tom-tom drum to play a fill and the idea came out effortlessly. After that night playing fast and playing fluidly was never an issue. But I learned the biggest lesson of all that night. Consistent hard work really does pay off. It can be hard to see the path at first but with the support of a good teacher, it can be a fun a very rewarding journey.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
Several teachers have told me to ‘never stop learning’.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
The most challenging moments I’ve ever had learning an instrument were when I tried to teach myself. When studying with a teacher, there were always challenging moments. Trying to teach myself – there is no comparison.

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I guess that would be when my band iNFiNiEN was ranked the ‘Top 5 Live Bands of 2013′ by The Buffalo News. The reason it was a big deal is because the other 4 bands were really famous. Such as The Flaming Lips and Jane’s Addiction. So to be held in the same regard as those bands was a big honor.

Favorite thing about teaching?:
My favorite thing about teaching is when a student works hard and meets their goals. It’s a very rewarding feeling being able to share my joy of drumming with someone else and have them benefit from the knowledge I’ve acquired.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Be patient and be consistent. Listen to the opinions of others but also trust your intuition. And never compromise your integrity. And be sure to never confuse integrity for arrogance.

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I have always been involved with many musical projects ever since I was young. I like to surround myself with creative people, so I always happen to find myself in the mix. I’m busy doing shows and recordings with all kinds of artists all the time. Besides those projects, I have an original band called iNFiNiEN that I am very passionate about. I also recently began setting up a recording studio and learning how to be an engineer. I hope to record all 0f my own projects in the future.

Tom Cullen’s – Bio

I teach Drums and Piano. Music is my life. On any given day I am performing, teaching, recording, rehearsing or writing music. I began playing and studying drums at a young age and continued my music education all the way up to college. I have 2 music degrees from Bucks County Community College and Temple University. I’ve been teaching students of all ages for close to 10 years. Instead of a hard lined curriculum I approach each student individually and establish personal goals. I teach with an open mind, patience and care. Lessons are fun and informative. I am a versatile player with years of experience and knowledge. I can teach you any style or technique you wish to learn. Schedule a Lesson

 

More About our Drum Lessons in Fishtown & Philly at Large.

Spoken like a true musician, Tom brings up some very good points about hard work. To be a drummer at the level that Tom plays takes an incredible amount of practice and dedication. Drums have a lot to do with muscle memory, so even if you have a ton of natural rhythm, there is still plenty of room to dig further. Continuing to master techniques and patterns will enable you to play fast, fluidly, and creatively on the spot. While drums embody one of the most basic musical concepts (rhythm), they also have the potential to be incredibly intricate, complicated, and expressive (such as in Birdman, where the entire soundtrack was created by a single jazz drummer!!). Drums are a great instrument for beginners, but can also take you far into a world of endless rhythm patterns and musical applications (making beats, playing jazz, backing rock bands, making movie soundtracks, and more). We’ll have more from Tom about what to expect when taking drum lessons soon!