Archive | News RSS feed for this section

Music Production and Recording Opportunities

Music Production and Recording for Philly Music Lessons Students – Hey, all of you advanced Philly Music Lessons students (and interested beginners)! Have we told you yet that you have the opportunity to explore production and recording with us?  Since our beginnings, our studio has been the home of a number of local recording and mixing projects. In addition to contributing to album releases, we have also produced demos for college auditions, and have guided many students with their own recording and production interests. Now, with our new school in Fishtown, we have a greater capacity to teach recording and music production. We want to offer exploration for those interested in learning how to produce, record, and mix their own music.

Many of our advanced students may be interested in exploring the medium of recording as a tool.  Playing live is one way of applying newly acquired knowledge, but recording can also be a way to hone your skills.  The technical and playback aspects of recording can sharpen one’s ear and understanding of music.  While playing live trains musicians to play together and communicate musically, recording can challenge and improve one’s technical proficiencies.

Some of our students have polished original works, incorporating lessons into their songwriting.  With home recording becoming more accessible than ever, students composing original music will be delighted to learn the fundamentals of working with recording equipment and programs.  Home recording is a great way to apply your studies to real projects.  It is also an opportunity to create a body of work for demos, bands, auditions, and more.

Baby Music Classes This Summer – July

Philly Music Babies Classes – Rates and Dates beginning July  Time is flying by!  We’ve met lots of new faces during our month of free classes.  We have one more Wednesday of free classes in June (the 18th), as well as a free Saturday of 9am and 10am classes on the 14th.  For all of those who have already attended, as well as those now looking for summer activities for toddlers, babies, and kids we wanted to share important information about our summer classes beginning in July:

PHILLY MUSIC BABIES
2111 E Susquehanna Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(Entrance on Martha Street)
*Stroller accessible

BABIES AND TODDLERS – Mondays 9am and 10 am classes (for 0-2 years)
TODDLERS –Tuesdays 9 am and 10 am classes (for 0-2 year olds)
BIG KIDS – Tuesdays 11 am classes (for 4-5 year olds)

*Classes are age-flexible, and are indicated as suggestions rather than rules.
*If you’d like to try out a class before you sign up, please contact us to be scheduled for a free-trial class.

SIGN UP FOR A MONTH (4 -5 Classes)

Sign up for the month at $10/class per child, with $5 per each additional family member (i.e. siblings).

*If you need to miss a class one day, you can make it up by dropping in for free during any of the other class times or the Saturday drop-in or make-up classes.

Cant’t make the weekdays?  DROP IN in to scheduled Saturday classes for $15 per class ($5 for additional children in the family)

 

Contact Us to Reserve a Spot in our Summer Music Classes

 

Violin and Guitar Rentals are Here!

Instrument Rentals

Violin and Guitar Lesson Rentals

Violin and Guitar Rentals – For those of you experimenting with a new instrument, taking up a new hobby, or looking for a beginner instrument for your child, we are now renting violins and guitars to Philly Music Lessons students!  With the tiniest violin just 1/10th of full size, our instruments can accommodate kids as well as adults.  What’s great about renting your violin or guitar from us is that you can tag the cost right onto your lessons!  Isn’t that something.

 

So, if you’re in Philly and you’d like to take some guitar or violin lessons with one of our teachers, but don’t have the instrument, please inquire about our rentals!

 

 Contact us about Guitar and Violin Rentals

Group Music Lessons for Kids

piano lessons for kids

private music lessons or group classes

Kids Group Music Lessons in Philadelphia – Children are born interested in music.  At Philly Music Lessons, we often receive inquiries as to whether or not its possible to start very young kids with music lessons (I mean your toddler who is unusually obsessed with guitar, or your 4 year old who wants nothing more than to perform like a rockstar).  Our answer to this is of course, YES, it is possible!  The trick is finding a method and teacher that jives with your child’s personality and goals.  So, how best to approach finding the right music lessons?

Each child is a different type of learner.  For instance, one type of kid might really enjoy note reading and the patterns inherent in music.  They will be able to easily sit though lessons and practice, while truly enjoying learning note names and instrument fingering. Another kid might be drawn to the lyrical and expressive qualities of music.  Their ear will guide them in understanding songs.  Experimenting during lessons may be key. If your child is the animated performer, she or he might be better off focusing on favorite and familiar songs rather than getting bogged down immediately by technical music instruction.  Whatever type of child you think you have, it is important to pay attention to their interests and style.  So explain to your prospective teachers what your child likes, and they can develop music lessons around what makes your child tick.

We keep an eclectic stock of gifted teachers on staff, coming from all musical backgrounds and walks of life.  Some have children themselves and understand the quirks that go along with these little personalities! Some are simply talented at creatively teaching kids music.  Our teachers can bring fun to just about any learning material during private lessons, and make it a point to incorporate student interests into the learning process.  Whether it be piano lessons, drum lessons, or guitar lessons, all of our teachers understand how to adapt their methods and instruments for little minds and hands.

While plenty of kids show interest in taking private lessons, others that are clearly drawn to music may not be ready for the one-on-one.  That is why we have decided to offer small group classes for kids!  Group lessons are a great way to introduce music in a casual, friendly, social, and spontaneous, environment.  While our group classes are truly relevant to all ages (adults welcome as well – duos, trios, quartets, rock and jazz bands) we’ve created this particular set of classes with 4-6 year olds (preschoolers – kindergarteners ) in mind.   After a group of between 3 and 5 children is established (please contact us if you are interested in setting up a group lesson) lessons can be scheduled on a regularly occurring, weekly basis. Throughout the weeks, our teachers will use creative methods to engage the group.  By introducing song, dance, and movement, these classes become a lively and active environment for exploration.  Broadly touching on many fundamental musical concepts and dabbling with various instruments, group lessons can also be more directed to the set interests of the group (i.e. vocals, guitar, or piano).  These group jams are a great stepping stone to more advanced lessons, which can be continued in group form or as individual lessons throughout the years.

 Take Group Music Lessons

 

More on Baby Music Classes for Fishtown and Northern Liberties Kids

Babies and Musical Instruments

Introducing newborns, babies, and toddlers to music!

Free Mommy and Baby Music Classes Begin – Today, we successfully held our first two baby classes at our Fishtown studio!  Turnout was great, making for two highly entertaining morning sessions.  Newborns nursed, listened, and played, while busy toddlers danced around to tunes while tapping on instruments.   A lovely 5 year girl old stopped by with her mom and baby sister, carting her awesome purple guitar!  She and the others (those of walking age, at least) skipped around during circle games and made the class a real treat to teach.  I couldn’t resist celebrating the morning with an ice cream cone from Little Baby’s down the street.

This music class was the first of many that we will hold throughout the summer.  While we welcome Philly Music Lesson’s new presence in the community (2111 E Susquehanna Ave), all classes in June are free.  Come July, we will establish regular days and times (and specify age groups) so that parents, caregivers, and youngsters can make a weekly habit of music!  Continue to look out for free music classes later in the summer and on select weekends.  In the meantime, join us again for some more FREE FUN next Wednesday, the 11th, Saturday the 14th, and Wednesday the 18th.  Just drop in! Class times are at 9am and 10 am and are open to all babies and kids ages 0-5 years.  Hope to see you soon!

 

Coming to Fishtown in June – Baby Music Classes

Kids Music Lessons

Baby music classes in Fishtown at Philly Music Lessons

Announcing Baby Music Classes for Fishtown – Having just settled into our new space off of Frankford Ave (just north of Northern Liberties), we are proud to announce our new baby-mommy music class!  We love our Fishtown neighborhood, and we love music.  We thought it only fitting to offer a class for those too young for private lessons (and not yet old enough for a Johnny Brenda’s show!).   Welcoming families and their little ones (babies 0-2 and kids 2-4 years), Philly Music Babies is a place where neighbors and friends can commune and play some music together.  Beginning in June, our classes will be held on a regular basis.  Lead by one of our teachers, Coco Primavera, who specializes in singing tunes for babies and toddlers, these group explorations will engage youngsters through song and movement.   Our 45 minute sessions will appropriately advance according to age throughout the weeks, months, and even years. Children will become familiar with friends and teachers in their community, while learning song, dance, and the fundamentals of music.  With bubbles, scarves, instruments and guitar-lead kids’ songs, we look forward to seeing you throughout the summer and next year!  Whether you plan to drop in occasionally, or make it part of your weekly routine, our doors will soon be open.

 Contact Us to Sit In During Our Free Trial Month – JUNE!

Intuitive Playing for Children

play, intuition, and ear

Teaching Children Music

If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.

—Shin’ichi Suzuki

 

Introducing music to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give.  It sharpens the senses and relaxes the mind.  The benefits of building a strong musical foundation will be revisited throughout life.  In a post-war Japan, Shin’ichi Suzuki used music to renew a sense of beauty into people’s lives after the devastation of World War II.  The Suzuki method was developed to encourage playing in a natural way, by feeling rather than intellect.  He believed that creating the ‘right environment’ would foster excellent character in his students.  Song-playing is encouraged rather than technical exercises, with a heavy emphasis placed on learning by ear.

Each student contains unique pathways to learning.  If the initial learning experience is approached with intuition, curiosity, and trust, the student will have more fun and will be drawn to the instrument more naturally.  A student must first reach an appropriate level of maturity to play in order to retain focus, with a genuine interest in exploring sounds.  The act of play should be free and easy, where the posture is supported yet relaxed.  Eventually, a communication emerges between student and instrument.  Effective lessons should instill confidence in the student and be part of a fun, rewarding experience.

As a teacher at Philly Music Lessons, I’ve found that young beginners learn most effectively when they are introduced to brief recognizable melodies.  Using short repetitive phrases, their ears begin to pick up on tonal patterns while the movements of their fingers become absorbed in muscle memory.  It’s amazing to see the light bulbs go off when a student learns how to play one of their favorite songs.

Intuitive playing emphasizes process over repertoire driven results.  Students should enjoy their lessons, while the teacher should make sure students develop a solid feel for rhythm, melody and harmony.  Learning in the spirit of lighthearted exploration is the surest way to achieve success at the piano and begin a lifetime appreciation for music.

Fall, 2013 Recital Highlights and Review

A Philly Music Lessons Recital Review

So it came again, the time of year for a Philly Music Lessons recital.  Last year, we were pleased to present, to our students and community, the very first Philly Music Lessons recital. The performance took place at the Ukranian League, situated in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Rookies from all across Philadelphia and the surrounding areas tested their live chops on guitar, piano, vocals, and drums for the very first time that night.

This year, with even more bourgeoning musicians in the lineup, we were able to showcase our students’ talents, backed by the impeccable acoustics of the Church of the Holy Trinity just off of Rittenhouse Square.  The ornate dome of the church, which arched high above the grand piano and musicians, opened up into a wide vault.  Here, in the sanctuary of the church, parents and friends watched eclectic performances: Blue Monk arrangements on piano, an epic jazz guitar improvisation (one of the many teacher-student duets), and a crooning electric guitar solo that reverberated Metallica into the vaults.

First up to perform was Ian McGrath.  He had a great sense for the tune, and was able to interpret on the spot like a true jazz pianist.  Bravo, Ian!  It’s not every day that young students decide they want to take on the challenge of learning jazz improvisation!  What better city to explore this musical genre than in Philadelphia.

Next to stage was Addie Dash.  Addie is a relatively new student with Philly Music Lessons, yet she wowed the audience with her delicate and soulful, finger-plucked rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.  While her guitar instructor strummed along, Addie confidently navigated the frets and strings while she played the melody beautifully.  Not bad for a 6 year old!

Following Addie was her sister, Hayden Dash.   She offered an energetic piano performance of Do-Re-Mi, from the Sound of Music.  Hayden kept great rhythm in both hands, hitting chords in her left, and playing the classic melody in her right.

Philip Dilgard Clark returned again this year to show us his continuing progress.  Philip began guitar with us when he was just 4 years old, and has already started to cultivate some serious guitar skills!  He confidently strummed the chords of “Sweet Caroline”, by Neil Diamond, and rocked out into a fun, finger-plucked melody of “Old McDonald”.  We loved this song pair and Philip’s emerging style.

Noah Williams changed the tone, and sat cooly in his chair to transport us all into the heavy metal era of the 90s.  The combination of the pristine acoustics with the grunge electric guitar sound was, well, awesome!  Noah’s choice to cover Metallica was a welcomed modern performance.

Continue reading for the full review of our Fall, 2013 Recital

New Voice and Violin Teacher!

Laura Zahn has a degree in Music from Indiana University, and has been teaching consistently in the Greater Philadelphia and Lower Merion areas since graduating in 2010.  You can read her Bio below:

voice and violin lessons

Laura Zahn: Voice and Violin

I teach Voice and Violin and have experience working with a wide variety of ages, levels, and musical goals. My approach to vocal technique is steeped in the Marchesi Bel Canto style, emphasizing proper breath control, body alignment, and vocal placement in order to maximize the potential of each voice. I work to cater to the unique goals of each student and have found this foundation effective in helping each singer succeed in whatever genre they are pursuing: from Rock to Opera. I also have 11 years of violin experience, and I am comfortable teaching beginner violinists up to Suzuki Book 2.

 

Reading Guitar Tablature

Tablature is a system of reading guitar music which is based on fret numbers as opposed to symbols on a staff.  As guitarists we have two options when it comes to reading music.  One is standard notation, which is essential for translating music to anyone who’s not a guitar or bass player, and the other is tablature.  There are many people who will disagree with me on this, but I feel that learning how to read tablature and rhythms is enough to get by for the casual guitarist.  However, if you want to begin to learn music theory, get into the realms of jazz or classical music or pursue music as a career, then it is essential that you learn how to read standard notation.

Introducing standard notation too early on can be a little boring for guitarists excited to start playing the music that they love, so I almost always start with teaching tablature (unless the music that they love happens to be jazz or classical).  Once you’re able to read tablature there are endless resources available to you on the internet and in transcription books to keep you busy for a long, long time.  The good news is that tablature is an incredibly simple system for translating guitar music.  Once you get the basics of reading tabs, you should find a teacher or a book that explains reading rhythms.  This is really important in comprehending more complex solo passages or strumming patterns, and is often overlooked by guitarists.

This is what a line of blank tablature looks like:


Continue reading to learn more about how to read tablature