Archive | August, 2014

Meet Our New Saxophone Teacher: Seth Ebersole

Sax Teachers Philly

Saxophone Teachers in Philadelphia | Philly Music Lessons

Seth teaches Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass Saxophone, as well as Clarinet.  He is currently a senior in the Undergraduate Jazz Studies department of the Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia. He is a saxophonist, teacher, and composer. Under the expertise of Jazz greats: Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, and Timothy Warfield Jr., he has been privileged to study.  He has performed and recorded with the likes of Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Ingrid Jensen and Christian McBride at Temple University as well as the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. In 2013, He was a finalist for a tenor saxophone position with a United States Army Band at West Point. In the Spring of 2014, he worked in the Diamond Peer Mentor Program of Temple University in which he co-taught an undergraduate class with a Temple Faculty Mentor.  In May of ’14, he was named the 2014 Presser Undergraduate Scholar. He is also active as a performer in styles besides jazz, including: classical, pop, rock and others.

Seth explains his musical (and life) philosophy below:

 

When did you begin playing Saxophone, and why?:

I started playing in the third grade. I’m from a musical family, my parents are both full time musicians and music was just part of growing up in our household. I chose the saxophone because I liked the way it looked! I keep playing now because the saxophone has such a wonderful range of sounds, more than most other instruments I think. Similar to the cello, a sax can really mimic the human voice.

 

What are your personal goals as a musician?:

Music helps me conceptualize other life situations. The way I think about music is similar to the way I think about life. Therefore, my goal is to find my musical identity, my niche, my voice. I think this is a worthwhile and important goal for anyone who’s learning in music. Find you!

 

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:

 I think that if you’re making progress in music, you’ll sometimes have “quantum leaps”. Most recently, I remember figuring out a way to exercise my ears to hear better than I thought they could. Defining moments like this are important, but they’re often hard to get to.

 

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:

 One of my teachers at Temple University pointed out that he plays his saxophone completely different from the way he did thirty years ago. He also thinks about music differently from that time. He challenged me to always keep growing. Don’t ever stop learning and discovering the next musical step for you!

 

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:

Tomorrow’s practice session! Hopefully I’m always giving myself a new challenge; something more difficult than ever before to work on. However, in the past and present, sound and time are the hardest things to understand.  At my first lesson in college, my teacher showed me how much softer my saxophone playing embouchure should be. He played for me (and still does) to show me how relaxed the muscles in the face should be when playing. This is a particularly tough lesson to learn!

 

What is your biggest musical achievement?:

 I’ve been blessed to work with some legendary musicians and have some wonderful times in music. One of the most exciting was being named the “2014 Presser Undergraduate Scholar”, one of the highest honors given to an undergraduate music student at Temple University.

 

Favorite thing about teaching?:

I like coming up with analogies for music that stick in my student’s minds. When these work, a student has a “light bulb” moment that helps them really understand and dig into the concept. It helps me too. There are so many times when a simple analogy I’ve given to a student helps with something I’m working on.

 

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:

 Use your ear. Realize that your most important musical muscle can never be too strong. The more music you can hear, the better the music you play.

 

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc:

 I play with a number of jazz groups, wedding/show bands as well as groups for Temple University. This past spring, I was on a new album by the Temple University Jazz Band featuring music written and dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie.

Toddler Class – Taking Turns with Music

During my music classes, I find it nearly impossible to skip the routine turn-taking activities. I know I’ve strummed the guitar a bit too long when I start to see little eyes wandering! Of course these introductory sing-alongs are the staple of any music class – they have an immediate appeal and are crucial to the class routine. But no matter how enamored a child is when they hear those chords on guitar, their little attention spans are ready to explore the next thing after about 3 – 4 consecutive songs.

As children approach two, it seems they are eagerly awaiting opportunities to test their social skills (and observe others).  My class involves many turn-taking opportunities, as I found this is where I see toddlers feeling most proud and engaged with others. There are activities that we do, which require each child to wait as others take turns in the spotlight. For example, “Where is [child’s name]” is sung while each child hides behind one of our scarves. We also take turns learning the C major scale on the piano, one itty-bitty finger at a time.

These are the things that are most readily remembered week after week (and garner the most excitement). These activities are an opportunity for children to observe other kids as they try out new skills. With the social support of the group, I’ve seen children gain confidence through a new found bravery from trying new things. They also feel a sense of accomplishment. These communal experiences are in line with the social needs of toddlers. I find it enriching to the social fabric of the class, as each child is encouraged to take risks and express themselves.

Here are just a few of the songs and activities we do in class:

“Old McDonald” – We spend time in between repetitions, naming farm animals and their sounds. I try to encourage the little ones to participate during class through our familiar song collection. Many children are shy at this age, but are surely paying attention and learning from the ballsy ones! I’ve also observed how quickly a child warms up over the weeks.

“Ba Ba Black Sheep” with a variety colors – A favorite among so many toddlers!

Warm ups with fun sounds and movement – We explore our vocal chords together, using motions and body language to emphasize the difference between high and low notes. We also get our rhythm going by patting our bellies and clapping.

“4 Little Monkeys” – Of course we can’t get away with a class without doing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (because its pretty much everyone’s favorite). But, “4 Little Monkeys” is also awesome – maybe anything with monkeys is fun! This one involves swinging arms and an alligator that inches toward each child during the repetitions.

“5 Little Firemen” with rhythm sticks – This is a new one that has become one of my favorites. Each round adds a “Whoosh!”, and there is a lot of steady repetition, with dynamic pauses, making it a great rhythm exercise for toddlers.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with turns – We do this one in the form of a round sometimes, but the most popular version with the kiddies is the one where a scary animal comes! They love it (we all get to yelp). The tots love taking turns on my lap while we row with the sticks.

There are many more songs that we do and instruments that we play. As I’ve mentioned before, these classes are great for any age. I find that it is best for children 0-2 years old, especially if you’re signing up for multiple weeks. Toddlers are very focused on routines and repetition, whereas a 3 or 4 year old may get a little tired of the same old thing.  That said, we’ve had some older children stop by for the day who had a great time! So we really do welcome all ages, especially for drop-ins. Babies do equally as well as toddlers. They are always very happy to have the lively stimulation and weeks to perfect sitting skills, new sounds, and internalizing rhythm and language.

For older children (3-5 years), we are currently gathering interest and names so that we can put together a class for older children (which would involve instrument making, song improvisation, and more technical concepts).

If you haven’t tried out a class, you’re welcome to contact us to set up a time when you can drop in to a class for free. If you’re looking to sign up, our August music classes are just about done (one more week!). September classes will begin on the 16th, and will take place mornings at 9am and 10am. Currently, we are offering Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (classes will be held based on demand). Keep an eye out for Saturday classes as well! Follow Philly Music Babies on Facebook for class updates and Saturday class announcements. We happen to have a Saturday class on the 30th this month at 10am. You can also find Phillymusicbabe on twitter or text me, Coco, to check class statuses the day of (in case you plan to drop-in).

Happy Singing to you!

Fall Schedule of Music Classes for Babies and Toddlers

Edit to Class Times!! Note that classes are currently being held only on Tuesdays at 9am and 10am and Wednesdays at 10am. If you have an interest in Thursday classes, please contact Philly Music Lessons. 

Fall Music Classes

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9am and 10am

Contact us!
Our August classes have taken off! We had lots of fun in July. These next few weeks will surely be great too, as many smiley faces have returned (along with some new ones). If anyone would like to come by before summer is over (Mondays and Tuesdays), please let me know and we can set something up.

After the August classes are over, the Fall schedule will begin! Fall classes, which will start on September 16th, will occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9am and 10am (based on demand). Classes are 45 minutes long and will be $10/class per child when you sign up for a regular time and day. Though September will be a short month, the rest of the season will be packed with weekly music. Classes will continue into October, November, and December with breaks for holidays and the New Year. Then, you’re welcome to hunker down with us at Philly Music Lessons during the winter months! Classes are great for babies, toddlers and kids of any age.

Starting now, families can sign up for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday classes in September and October until classes are full:

September
September 16th – October 2nd
3 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $30

October
October 7th – October 30th
4 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $40

September and October
September 16th – October 30th
7 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $70

MAKEUPS
If you know you will be missing or have missed a class, makeups can be fulfilled during any of the listed weekday times. If you can’t make a weekday class time, arrangements can be made for a Saturday music class. Makeups will also carry into new sessions (so no rush).

Currently, there is a drop-in/make-up music class on Saturday, August 30th at 10am. If anyone is interested in trying out a class, this would be a great time to drop-in (for free if you haven’t yet been!). Please contact me if you would like me to reserve a spot for you.

SIGN UP OR DROP IN
If you are unable to sign up for an entire session, please feel free to contact me. You can also drop in (pay as you go) at $15/class. There is a max of 10 kids per class, so please check our calendar to see which classes are full.

SATURDAY CLASSES
On another note, if anyone has an interest in regularly occurring Saturday classes, please let me know! Based on demand, I’m considering holding a music class every other weekend.

Questions and sign ups:

Email Phillymusicbabies@gmail.com or call (215) 520-1772

More information:
Philly Music Babies
Philly Music Lessons