Archive by Author

The Spring Recital Is Upon Us!

recitalpicCalling all musicians! This year’s Spring Recital will be held on May 20th at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia. All Philly Music Lessons students are encouraged to sign up for a slot at either of the two concert times.

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

  • Set 1 at 1:30pm
  • Set 2 at 3:00pm

Will you bring down the house with a brilliant rendition of your favorite song from Broadway, or shred through some classic rock? If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, your teacher can help you decide what to perform to best show off all of your progress. Not only do you get to perform yourself, but you also get the chance to support the rest of the Philly Music Lessons family in their own musical journey!

Show off your skills to friends and family alike right on Rittenhouse Square!

New Lessons Space at By My Side

More great news for music lovers in Fishtown!

We are now offering private lessons at By My Side Parenting (the former 3 Mama Llamas space).  Kids and adults from beginner to advanced can take lessons for piano, guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, clarinet, sax, flute, voice, cello, violin, tuba, trumpet, trombone, banjo, and more.

Lessons For Everyone

original-bmspost2Starting at age 4, lessons can be geared toward a variety of interests and learning styles within a wide range of genres (classical, rock, jazz, and more). ½ price trial lessons enable families to test out the waters first. And because we appreciate everything that goes on at By My Side, we’re giving a 10% discount for families that attend playschool, playgroup, or the after-school programs at the space! Rentals are available to get students started on something new.

We work with each family’s schedule and needs to find a teacher that fits your availability and interests. Visit our website or call (215) 645-0405 to set up lessons. 

By My Side Parenting is located at 1542 E Montgomery Ave, Philadelphia.

PhillyMusicLessons.com | office@phillymusiclessons.com

Fall Recital 2016 Highlights

Students Showing Off Their Skills

Taking lessons and practicing is something that all musicians have to spend most of their time doing, but it all pays off at the performance. Just this December we returned to the Ethical Society of Philadelphia for our largest recital yet. We featured students on piano, violin, cello, saxophone, voice, and guitar for a fantastic afternoon of music making. Our recitals provide our students with the opportunity to show off their skills to friends and family alike. Not only is it a great time for everyone involved, but it’s a crucial experience for becoming a well-rounded musician.

The wide diversity of genres and styles reflects the amazing diversity and talent of all of our students. From Beethoven and Saint-Saëns to The Beatles and Coldplay, enjoy this musical cross-section of our Philly Music Lessons family. We’re so glad to have seen so many people at our recital this past fall, but in case you missed it, here’s a little something to give you an idea of how talented our students are!

 

Kids Violin Class with Rentals & Other Fishtown Music Classes

violin philly

Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart!

Suzuki-Style Violin Class for Ages 3-5

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”

Shin’ichi Suzuki

Saturdays at 11 AM at Philly Music Lessons
October 1st – November 19th
$198 for 8 classes
(Includes a 3 month violin rental fitted for your child’s size at the first class)

Though many different curiosities are piqued when children come into our space and see instruments on the walls and in our practice rooms, violin seems to be of particular interest over and over again! Thus we’ve decided to offer a Suzuki-style violin class for kids ages 3-5. With a violin rental embedded into the cost, kids have the opportunity to experience the Suzuki method and other violin group work intended to introduce young bodies and minds to the violin. Read more about our kids violin class here!


 

Music Exploration Ages 3-5

Tuesdays at 4PM
October 4th – November 22nd
$128 for 8 classes

Our music exploration class is an intro to music beyond baby and toddler classes. Kids will explore ukuleles, their voices, piano techniques, and percussion patterns to gain experience with string instruments, solfege (ear training), and rhythm training. This class lays the groundwork for private lessons in a variety ofinstruments and is simply a fun way to explore music! Each class concludes with an art project that will reinforce a new concept each week.


newmoms

Baby and Toddler Music Classes Ages 0-3

Ongoing Weekly classes at 10 AM Wednesdays and Saturdays
First time FREE! $10 drop in all September

Mommas, daddies, nannies, grandparents, and caregivers can join other families in the Fishtown area for weekly music classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 AM. Babies just a few months old will enjoy classes as much as the toddlers. All classes are drop-in this September, with a special rate of $10 per class (normally $15). Come October, we’ll be moving to a monthly sign up (10 kids max, unlimited makeups) to encourage regular friends and faces, and to allow groups of babies to grow and learn together!

Summer Rock Camp in Philadelphia

Registration Now Open!

Play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and sing in a band
Learn the fundamentals of recording technology
Get performance experience in the studio
Walk away with a professional quality recording of your child

Dates: August 10th – August 14th
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Ages: 9 – 14
Cost: $350 for a one week session

 

Contact Us to Register Your Child!

Josh-Olmstead_Rock_CampSummer Rock Camp is held at the Philly Music Lessons studio in Fishtown, Philadelphia – Kids will learn to play faithful renditions of rock songs by such classic bands as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, as well as the modern bands they inspired, including Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Jack White, and My Morning Jacket. They will also get to study the basics of recording technology, live tracking, and overdubbing, before participating in a camp-culminating recording session. This music-based camp introduces beginners with little or no previous training to the fundamentals of rock performance, including guitar power chords, bass riffs, backbeat-driven rhythms, and emotive vocals. Intermediate students with regular instrumental lessons will have the opportunity to work in separate groups to study rock music in greater depth, undertaking closer note-for-note transcriptions of guitar solos and bass lines, original tempos and percussion arrangements, and multiple-part vocal harmonies. In addition to daily instrumental warm-up exercises and sectionals, band rehearsals, recording workshops, and general music instruction, we will listen to audio recordings, watch documentary and concert film excerpts, and discuss the greater cultural and sociological impact of the bands and music that we study. We break for lunch everyday, followed by an outdoor activity or indoor arts and crafts time. This is a multi-instrumental camp. Participating students will be encouraged to play guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, as well as sing. A CD of the camp-culminating recording session will be provided to students as an archival benchmark of their musical progress and success. Contact Us for Registration

Director:

Josh_Olmstead_classical_guitar_teachersJosh Olmstead began directing student rock band workshops in 2003, adding a classical guitar ensemble component to his workshops in 2012. He is a classically trained guitarist, whose repertoire includes Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic works. As a classical guitarist, he has performed for private functions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, National Constitution Center, and the Samuel Powel House. Josh is also an accomplished songwriter and recording and performing artist. His original music was recently featured in an episode of Southwest Airline’s Dish Trip. Josh’s songs also receive regular airplay on independent radio stations. As a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, Josh has performed internationally in England, Scotland, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as in several U.S. cities. As a guitar instructor, Josh chooses specific coursework and style of guitar based on the interests and skill level of individual students. General study to include development of a wide range of skills, including accurate tuning, technique, scales, arpeggios, reading music notation, and/or tablature, sight reading, chords, songs and/or repertoire, vocal accompaniment, music theory, as well as general musicianship. Contact Us for Registration

See below for a general outline of the week at Rock Camp:

Daily-Camp-Schedule

Kids Music Lessons and Classes

piano lessons philadelphiaPhilly Music Lessons is a family owned and operated music school located in the heart of Fishtown, Philadelphia. We offer private lessons (all ages), baby and toddler classes (ages 0-3), big kids music classes (ages 4 -6) and group lessons for kids (guitar, violin and voice).  We have a number of teachers with extensive experience working with children. We make sure to keep each lesson or class fun and entertaining, while providing the musical foundation necessary to learn at higher levels as your child grows. Students have the opportunity to perform in biannual recitals and shows throughout the year.

Contact Us to Get Started!

Big Kids Music Classes Ages 4-6

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Saturdays at 11 AM (45 minutes), ages 4-6
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join Here!

Xylophones and PianoCovering the fundamentals of piano (keyboard instruments), ukulele (fretted string instruments), and drums (percussion instruments), our music class for kids, ages 4-6 is a creative, group approach to learning music. Children have the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of music for $15/class (45 minutes each). The fundamentals they learn will pave the way for studying a variety of instruments. Core musical concepts will be explored through experimentation and social learning.

With small class sizes, there is ample room for discussion, questions, and spontaneity. Experimentation and fun are key, and curiosity is embraced. Subjects covered include how instruments work, note reading, ear training (pitch), time, and rhythm. How sounds are made (with strings and mallets inside of the piano for example) and how pitch changes are observed through play. Art is also used to reinforce concepts, illustrating notes, finger numbers, patterns, and more. Instrument making will engage children, bringing the learning process into the home through the collection of natural materials for production.

Each child will also be able to take home their own kazoo. Kazoos help strengthen connections between the voice and ear (pitch). Learning to make noise by following patterns on piano or notes on paper is a practice they can take home week after week. Encouraging children to hum while working with their favorite songs is a great way to build ear skills! If you are interested in classes, but can’t commit to our regular schedule, you can drop in to classes for $20 with notice (contact us here).

 

Private Music Lessons

Starting at $25 for 1/2 hour
By Appointment, all ages.
In-Home Lessons throughout Philly & The Main Line
Fishtown Studio Lessons
(610)451-7883

Schedule a Lesson

Ukulele, guitar, voice, violin, piano, cello, flute, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet lessonsStarting with kids ages 4 and up, private music lessons are available for guitar, piano, ukulele, bass guitar, upright bass, drums, flute, voiceclarinet, violin, cello, saxophone, trumpetbanjo, and trombone.  Lessons begin at $25 for a half hour in our Fishtown studio (view our rates for more information). Our teachers work with kids of all ages and skill levels, making sure to keep the lessons fun and exciting. Our goal is to inspire a life-long passion for music just as our first teachers did for us! For in-home lessons, our teachers travel throughout Philadelphia, the Main Line and Lower Merion. If students have an interest in taking lessons with friends or family members, we also offer joint music lessons! Please ask about our rate difference for joint lessons of at least 2 or more children.

 

Baby and Toddler Music

$10/class with sign-up (monthly)
$15/class Drop-In
Tuesdays, Wednesdays 10 AM
Wednesdays 11:30 AM
Select Saturdays at 10 AM
Ages 0-3 yrs (Families and caregivers welcome)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
Stroller Accessible!
(610)451-7883

Join Music Classes

babies and toddlers play songs fishtownJust a walk from anywhere in Fishtown, Kensington or Northern Liberties, these music classes are a unique way to meet and play with others in the community. Fishtown is just off the Girard or Aramingo exit from I-95, or a quick spin through the city for Philly families. Tots gather weekly for sing-alongs, movement and other musical activities specially made for babies and kids. Children will have the chance to learn songs together and explore a variety of kid’s instruments: jingle bells, the piano, shakers, and more. Little babies usually enjoy sitting in mom’s lap as they listen, observe, and learn. Toddlers tune in each week to familiar friends, songs, and beloved routines. Three year olds lead, participate, and add both spontaneity and creativity to classes. Providing energetic vocals and guitar, our teacher plays plenty of classic and new children’s songs (with rhymes, hand games, and playful lyrics). These are the kinds of classes that will kick off your day with good cheer! Weekday music takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM. Weekend music times are indicated on our calendar (typically 2-3 Saturdays per month).

Classes are $10 each when you sign up for the month (with flexible make-up options on Saturdays and select weekdays). We also welcome occasional visitors (drop-ins) for $15/class! If you want try out a class before signing up, you can always contact us to attend your first class for free.

 

Beginner Violin, Guitar, and Voice Classes

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Summer classes begin in June
Multiple Times
All ages (age groups: 4-6 yrs, 7-10 yrs, 11-14 yrs, 15-19 yrs)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join a Class

music classes fishtown phillyOur teachers have created group classes for some of the most commonly learned instruments. Taught by our violin, guitar and voice teachers, classes focus on propelling complete beginners forward to a place where they can begin to play songs together. Students will learn their preferred instrument among peers, and can gain performance experience with recital opportunities. At $15 each, classes are organized into age groups and arranged based on availability and instrument. Classes can occur on weekday or weekend mornings, afternoons, or evenings (contact us to find out more). Our next launch of classes will be for the summer months, set to begin in June. Classes take place throughout the summer and can be extended into the Fall based on group interest. For students with irregular schedules, drop-ins can attend classes for $20 each.

Students will need to bring their own instrument. If students do not have a violin or guitar, Philly Music Lessons offers beginner violin rentals, and we can also make suggestions as to where you can rent or purchase a decent instrument.

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!

New Piano Teacher!

 

Piano Lessons with Alex Ayala

Piano Lessons with Alex Ayala

Meet Our New Piano Teacher

Alex Ayala
I teach piano.  I graduated from the University of the Arts with a BM in music performance.  While at UArts, I studied under piano teachers Don Glanden, Tom Lawton and Trudy Pitts.  I also received guidance from some of Philly’s finest musicians.  I am currently a freelance musician performing in a wide range of diverse bands and ensembles. As an educator, I teach intermediate/advanced piano with an emphasis on jazz, rock, blues and contemporary music.  My methods involve the basics of note-reading and technique, as well as ear training and theory to provide a fun musical experience that goes beyond the notes on a page.  It is my goal to share my passion of music with my students and to help them find their musical passion.

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?: Trumpet was my first instrument. Through trumpet, I was able teach myself piano. There was something about it that just came naturally to me…I could do things on the keyboard that I could not on the trumpet.  I got serious about the piano when I was in 8th grade and stuck with it since.
What are your personal goals as a musician?: My goal is to constantly learn and constantly grow.  One can always strive to get better no matter how ‘good’ one gets.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?: When I was a sophomore at UArts, one of my teachers made us improvise over a tune using only quarter notes and with no accompaniment.  That concept forces you to really be able to hear the harmony as you are soloing and helps with memorization.  That was a big milestone in my development.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?: Knowing the tune is one thing, but you don’t have complete mastery over it until you internalize it and make it a part of you.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?: Understanding that sometimes one has to take a step backward before they can take a few steps forward.
What is your biggest musical achievement?: I’m not sure which of my achievements can be considered the ‘biggest’…but one of my favorites was being in the 2011 Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps.  For an entire summer, I got to tour half of the country with 150 other performers who I consider family.  It was completely different from what I currently do in my professional music career…but performing in stadiums packed with thousands of people is something I will never forget.
Favorite thing about teaching?: Being able to teach my students about how to live a fulfilling life, in addition to music.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?: Listening is just as important as practicing, and always listen with an open mind.
Personal music projects: I’m in a rock band: Cold Roses (just released our first album: ‘No Silence in the City’) and a jazz group: Norris Street Trio.  I also starting playing with an 11 piece big band: The Hoppin’ John Orchestra.  I have also performed and recorded with various other groups as a freelance musician.

Voice Teacher – Marcelle McGuirk

Voice Teacher: Marcelle McGuirk

Voice Teacher: Marcelle McGuirk

Please welcome the newest addition to our staff: Marcelle McGuirk.  Marcelle has been singing since a very young age.  At 18, she recorded her first solo album, Echoes of Ireland. She studied Vocal Performance at Marywood University and then moved to Philadelphia to pursue further studies in opera performance. She is a cantor and section leader at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul. She is an active performer and has worked with many companies in the Philadelphia area, including: OperaDelaware, Poor Richard’s Opera, Russian Opera Workshop, Delaware Valley Opera Company, and Delaware ChoralArts.  Marcelle says the following about her goals and style as a teacher:

“The foundation of my teaching is always breath management, body awareness and tension reduction, as well as musicianship. I try to arm my students with a “toolbox,” foundational techniques and exercises they can come back to if they’re struggling with a note or phrase, whether they’re singing Broadway, rock, opera, etc. I make sure students understand the purpose of exercises and how they relate to what they’re singing. Overall, I aim to help my students find their “voice” in a healthy, tension-free way.”

Continue reading for a full interview with Marcelle:

When did you begin singing, and why?:
 I’ve been singing since I was really small. My parents tell this story about me being in the high chair at 6 months old while my Dad was cleaning the kitchen. He was singing something to himself, and I chimed in on pitch! Then it became this game we would play, where he would sing a note and I’d sing it back to him. I’ve been singing ever since!

 

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
 My personal goal as a musician is to achieve complete freedom. This can only be achieved by hours spent practicing your technique, but the pay off is great. To achieve that freedom and flexibility makes the possibilities for communicating emotion endless, and essentially that’s what we do as singers. Communicate the depths and shades of human emotion through our voice.

 

 Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
 I used to really struggle with high notes. One day a teacher said to me, “You’re trying to ‘stick’ the note somewhere; to place it. It’s not about placing it. It’s about having the right SPACE for the note and keeping it flexible.” That changed everything for me.

 

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
 You’re only going to get out of singing what you put into it. Talent only gets you so far; it’s the hard work that makes you an artist.

 

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
 I was lazy as a kid, which meant I wouldn’t practice much, if at all. I just relied on the fact that I was a fast learner and had a pretty voice. This inevitably meant I would plateau and run into “brick walls.” I always knew I should be working harder, but breaking
myself of the habit of laziness was really tough.

 

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
 My biggest musical achievement to date was singing in my first Professional, fully staged and orchestrated opera with OperaDelaware.

 

Favorite thing about teaching?:
 My favorite thing about teaching has to be the “lightbulb moment,” which is when you see “Ah ha!” in your students’ eyes after they’ve grasped a concept. It’s such a beautiful thing, because you’ve helped them accomplish this intangible thing and no one can ever take it away from them.

 

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
 Listen. Your ears are your greatest asset. Even when you aren’t actively practicing your instrument, you can learn SO much just by listening to great musicians. Also, never stop asking questions.

 

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I’m currently on staff at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul here in Philadelphia, as a Cantor/ Soprano Soloist/ Soprano Section Leader. In December, I’ll be singing the Bach Magnificat in D with Delaware ChoralArts in Wilmington, DE as the Soprano Soloist.