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“Long Drum ROOOLLLLLLL!”

DrumclassfinaleOur Spring drum class (Rhythm and Beats), our Ukulele Class, and our Music Exploration Class have sadly ended for the season. But its not quite over yet! Students of our drum class, along with those taking private music lessons, will perform for our Spring 2016 Recital, starting at 1:30 PM, this Saturday, May 14th. Come on out and see what we’ve been doing over here at Philly Music Lessons! Visit us at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square for an afternoon of violin, voila, voice, piano, guitar, and more. This recital is open to the public and costs $5 per person above the age of 12 (students attend FREE).

New Cello Teachers – Yeliza Aleman Gaetan

Yeliza Cello Teacher

Yeliza is the kind of person that can put you at ease from the first moment you meet her. She’s incredibly professional, but also relaxed and exudes positivity. This is the combo you want in a music teacher. She’ll offer students the discipline needed to learn an instrument, as well as the encouragement and light heart to wade over challenges along the way. In talking with Yeliza about future workshops and programs at Philly Music Lessons, I learned quickly how passionate she is about teaching. Though she teaches all ages, her and I have been excitedly planning our Spring Strings 2016 workshop for kids ages 4 – 5 and 6 – 7. I loved her reference to the early cello training workshops that inspired her in Puerto Rico. In these classes, as well as many beginner cello lessons for young kids, its common for students to start out on cardboard instruments, which they have spent time making themselves. This, she explained, teaches students how to care for their instruments, earning the opportunity to play on the real thing (On top of that, getting to craft a cardboard cello is pretty fun!).

Starting out the workshop with this mindful approach speaks a lot to the importance of patience and respect when you’re learning music (muscle memory comes in due time, just as getting to handle an expensive object like a cello comes with learning how to respect and care for instruments). It also speaks to Yeliza’s understanding of how to teach kids cello in a fun and creative way.

In private lessons, Yeliza offers excellent guidance for beginner and advanced students of all ages. With the Suzuki Method as her primary teaching tool, Yeliza offers violin lessons as well as cello. She also offers instruction for voice and piano too. Being bilingual, Yeliza teaches music lessons in Spanish as well.

Here’s Yeliza, playing Bach:

You can read more about Yeliza in her own words below (from our Teachers Page profiles):

I teach piano, violin, cello and voice lessons. I am 23 years old, and I was born in Puerto Rico. I came to the United States 4 years ago. I am bilingual, and I know the Suzuki Method in Spanish and English. I began playing the cello when I was in 7th grade in Puerto Rico with Professor Fermin Segarra. I also have an extensive background with the violin, piano and voice, having sung in multiple choirs throughout high school and college. After I graduated from Escuela Libre de Musica de San Juan, a school specialized in music, I went to the Conservatory of music of Puerto Rico for 2 years to focus on Cello Performance with Professor Luis Miguel Rojas. Afterwards, I transferred to Temple University to finish my bachelor’s degree in Performance with Professor Jeffrey Solow. This is my senior year at Temple University. I utilize the Suzuki Method with most of my students because I find it to be the most logical and progressive method of teaching. I was one of the piano, violin and cello teachers for children ages 4-18+ years old for two years in a specialized program at the Conservatory of Music. I am planning to stay in Philadelphia to build my studio with students of all ages.

Keep reading for a brief interview with Yeliza:

When did you begin playing cello, and why?

I started playing the cello when I was 12 and it was the best decision that I made in my life. I do not regret any moment that I spend with my cello making beautiful music.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

I play violin, piano and sing, as well. Piano was my first instrument growing up which gave me a very good foundation for reading music and understanding harmonic and melodic relationships in compositions. It also helped me better understand the string instruments that I would gravitate towards later in life. I began learning the violin shortly after the cello. They are very different instruments, despite being in the same family, but there are certain techniques which apply to both. As forvoice, I’ve sang all of my life. I’ve had three years of formal training in private lessons and have sang in choirs throughout middle school, high school and college.
 
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My personal goal is to conduct the best piano, violin, and cello lessons that I can and teach my students everything that I know. I want my students to have the same passion that I have for the music and teach them how to transmit it onto the instrument.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
 Two things one was vibrato and second one was shifting. For vibrato I remember my professor singing to me ” Shake the maraca” because that is the same motion that you do when you are doing vibrato. And thanks to the professor that I have now I really understand shifting and how the motion works of my left hand.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
I remember the first time that my first teacher told me that we need to separate each hand and after you practice them separately you can then put them together. When you practice that way, it speeds up the learning process. Practice everything slow then it will be easier when you take it in fast tempo.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
The most challenging moment was when I moved to Philadelphia to study with Jeffrey Solow. He changed all of my technique. It was like starting with the basics again; Frustrating in the beginning but definitely worth it in the end.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I recently won a competition in Temple University, and I played in a concert the Elgar Cello Concerto. That was my biggest achievement up until now. But I am working very hard so that this will be the beginning of even bigger achievements in my musical career.
Favorite thing about teaching?:
To see the progress of my students and know that I am passing my knowledge on to the next generation.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Never give up! Music is a very complex , but is totally worth it.

July Baby Music with Cello

Kids Cello and Guitar Teachers Host Song and Movement!
Music Classes for Babies and Tots $10 with a month’s sign-up
Fishtown, East Kensington, Port Richmond
Cello & School Instrument Rentals
Affordable Kids Group Cello Classes for Fall

Fishtown Summer Music

July is here! I hope everyone has a great 4th. Though this is the month of vacations, we’ll still be singing away our weekday mornings (Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 AM and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM – Baby and Toddler Music in Fishtown, Kensington). We couldn’t help ourselves – its too often that people want to come by to see whats happening, or visit their old classroom for some familiar songs on their old day and time. So, if any classes are too small this month, we’ll still hold them as open music/open house (mixed with some story-time). That said, in case the summer schedule does change due to all the summer fun, please keep in touch with our calendar, or join our newsletter to receive email updates (NO CLASS 7th & 8th of JULY). You can also check out our Saturday dates for the summer.

Fishtown Cellos for rentAlso, Joe and I are looking forward to having a special guest this month! Sarah Whitehead will make some visits to our baby music classes throughout July to accompany me with her cello. Sarah plays a variety of instruments (piano, guitar, violin, and cello), and we’ve been finding exciting ways to use music to express stories, feelings, and ideas. Sarah has also worked with some older kids in museums and art camps, and she’ll be teaching kids private lessons for cello in addition to our more family-style sing-along classes. Sarah is also constructing a group beginner cello class for the Fall for kids. The concept is based around classic beginner-cello pieces, which Sarah is adapting for a variety of age levels (5 and up). Group classes are really great for beginners, as kids can observe others at varying skill levels and learn from them. Kids can also get a feel for playing together, which puts a simple and wonky beginner melody into context with other parts. That can really liven up the music learning process. Also, group classes cut the price of lessons in half! So its a super affordable way for families to explore music lessons (we also have affordable kids cello rentals, so you don’t have to make a huge instrument investment). Classes still provide ample attention for each student, as we try not to go above 5 kids per class.

I’m pretty sure we’ll be having endless fun inventing creative ways to engage kids with music in the coming months! Feel free to contact us to come visit and see what we’re about. Join a Baby Music Class First time FREE or Schedule a Lesson with Sarah for the Fall (please note your interest in our cello teacher, Sarah Whitehead, in the box at the end of the form).

Cello Teachers | Fang Fang

Meet Fang Fang
Cello Teachers in Philadelphia
Fishtown Studio Lessons & Philly In-Home Lessons
Specializing in Classical
Beginners and Advanced Students

cello teachers fishtownWe’ve had some new additions to our cello teachers, and one of them is Fang Fang! Fang studied cello at Arizona State University and received her masters in cello performance. Her experience takes her from being a longtime student of cello herself to teaching and working in orchestras as an associate principal cello. She’s an expert in classical, with roots going back to lessons from her mother when she was 7. In addition to a career as a professional musician, Fang is also an accomplished teacher with award winning students. We managed to catch a snippet of her playing (video below). Also included is a piece performed at Arizona State (Sonata for cello in C major, op. 119 by Sergei Prokofiev).

Read about Fang Fang in her own words below.

I teach Cello and Piano. I have a Masters of Music in cello performance from Arizona State University. I have studied at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and received my B.A in cello performance in China. I began to play the piano when I was 5 years old, then began learning the cello from my mother when I was 7 years old. I am a professional cellist and have been working in various orchestras for the past 8 years as associate principal cello. In Phoenix, I played in the Scottsdale Philharmonic as principal cello. I have been teaching for 10 years, and have learned that patience and enthusiasm are necessary to keep students interested and eager to learn. I pride myself in finding the unique musical talents of each student, and finding ways to communicate with them on an individual level. One of my students in Eastern China was awarded the 1st Prize at a Cello Competition in 2011. My primary focus as a teacher is on classical music for the cello and piano. I am schooled in the Suzuki Method of teaching and find it to be an invaluable way of learning as a beginner.