How it works:

Just contact us! Once we know your scheduling needs, we set off to connect you with one of our teachers whose expertise matches your goals and interests. After finding a teacher whose availability syncs with yours, we set up a trial lesson at one of our studios (Fishtown or South Philadelphia) or in the comfort of your own home. We also offer in-home trial lessons. Trial lessons are half-off so you don't have to commit to the full-price or a long-term lesson plan. If you enjoyed your lesson, just let us know!

More on how it works
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Philly Music Babies

    Baby and toddlers can learn music too! Babies (0-3) join weekly classes in Fishtown, occurring weekday mornings and select Saturdays throughout the year. Big kids (4-6) join exploratory group music classes - Hands-on exploration with ukuleles, drums, and piano.

  • Beginner Classes

    Learn the basics of guitar, violin or voice in a group setting! Classes for both kids and adults focus on a variety of beginning techniques and repertoire. As each class progresses, students will learn to perform songs as a group.

Our Teaching Philosophy

We strive to hire great teachers. Our core instructors have 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. A broad range of experience allows our teachers to creatively prepare students for performance, collaboration, composition, and more.

Schedule A Lesson Now!

What is Open Music? | Kids Music Classes

Open MusicPhilly Music Babies opened its shaker-clad circle to the Fishtown neighborhood a little over three years ago. With a lineup of songs, scarves, pinwheels, guitar, rhythm sticks, wrist bells, drums, and a whole bunch of assorted instruments, we welcomed mommies, daddies, nannies, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and all the neighborhood babies and tots to come enjoy some music with us on a weekly basis. The idea behind the classes was to provide quality music exposure.

Why exposure? There are many studies that point to the language and cognitive benefits that infants and young children receive from early musical education. Not only that, with regards to a child’s capacity to learn music, exposure itself (especially music in the home), leads to a greater music aptitude throughout the rest of a child’s life. Though music may not be important for everyone, there is certainly something to be said for the positive ways in which music shapes a developing child’s mind. And with all of the life-skills that learning and playing an instrument can give us (not to mention the artistic and emotional satisfaction), we are even more motivated to share music with our community of little ones in Fishtown and South Philly.

Philly Music Babies focuses on repetition through traditional songs and incorporates the Kodaly Method. Teacher-lead music and games, backed by guitar, form the core of our class. We introduce solfege (Do, Re, Mi …) to develop a music language of pitch and syllables. By these means, we work toward nurturing a sense of rhythm, melody, and harmony. But really, what we are aiming at is just creating music that simply sounds and feels good! It is our experience that music is enough of a reason to come out and sing. Whether your baby is venturing out around other kids for the first time, or your youngest just needs some mommy-and-me time, the process of making music together is invigorating for everyone (and tuckers them out just in time for naps)!

So then, what is Open Music? Open Music was inspired by the first set of graduates from our Philly Music Babies series. Now 3 and 4 (and almost 5!) and looking for some continuation of weekly music, parents often ask, what’s next? Do you have any more? When can I start private lessons (more on that here)?

In my own experience, few kids are ready for lessons at 4. While certain kids might do well in the one-on-one lesson, most are still itching for exploration and free-play. Philly Music Babies, with its mixed-age philosophy, welcomes babies and kids from 0-3. This requires an individualized approach to teaching. We’ve applied this same approach to Open Music. Open music is designed with some structured learning (to break the ice as a “jumping off” point), and focuses primarily on child-led, free-play activities for toddlers (2 yrs) and kids up to 5. Kids are given the space and time to feel out musical concepts at their own paces. Combining a multitude of senses, children are physically engaged by music-props, learning tools, and tinker-projects that reference music and sound. Some aspects of the Montessori method are incorporated into the classroom, while the Kodaly method continues to turn up with loose musical instruction on piano, voice, and ukulele. In our weekly class, kids step foot into a musical playground of sorts to learn about notes, instruments, music, and play.

Fall Recital 2017

Recitals on RittenhouseIt’s that time again! No, not the holidays; the Philly Music Lessons Fall Recital! This year’s Fall Recital will be held on December 2nd at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia. All Philly Music Lessons students are encouraged to sign up for a slot at either of the first two concert times. The third time will be used if necessary for overflow.

If you’ve never performed in public before, don’t worry! You can talk to your teacher about what you might want to perform and they can help get you signed up and ready to go.

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

  • Set 1 at 12:00pm
  • Set 2 at 1:30pm
  • Set 3 at 3:00pm – (possible time based on participation)

If you’ve been waiting all this time to finally show the world that you’re the next big thing, now’s your chance! Show everyone what you’ve got by bringing your favorite songs and pieces to the Fall 2017 Philly Music Lessons Recital!  Not only do you get to perform yourself, but you also get the chance to see what everyone else at Philly Music Lessons is up to.

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

How To Sing From Your Diaphragm

voice, music, diaphragm, fishtown, philly“Sing from your diaphragm!” This phrase is almost mythical in the world of voice lessons. Somehow this concept has passed on to students who haven’t taken a single voice lesson, yet even students who have taken years of voice lessons may not know what it means. It doesn’t help either that some teachers say you should sing from your diaphragm while others say you shouldn’t. Who is right? And if you should, how do you do it?

 

What it Means to “Sing From Your Diaphragm”

The short answer to the question of “who is right,” when it comes to whether or not you should sing from your diaphragm is – both teachers are right! Obviously that requires a longer answer though.

diaphragm, voice, singing, lessons

Here is your diaphragm. As you can see, it sits right below your lungs. Think of it as an upside-down bowl-shaped muscle. Because of where it sits, when your lungs expand (when you breathe in), the diaphragm flattens out to make room for the now larger lungs. When your lungs contract (when you breathe out), the diaphragm curves up again. You can see this motion here.

Students often get lost right around now because what isn’t agreed upon is whether the diaphragm is a voluntary or involuntary muscle. In other words, do we move it consciously like our arms and legs, or does it move on its own like our hearts? For singers, this is largely irrelevant. Why? Because the point of a “diaphragmatic breath” is not whether or not we can move our diaphragm. It’s whether we can take an ideal breath to create a steady release of sound for singing. Therefore, focusing on the diaphragm itself misses the point.

Instead, students of singing should focus on how to feel their breath lower in their body, as opposed to breathing high into the chest. This is why the phrase “sing from your diaphragm” may be helpful for some students and teachers; it creates the imagery of a low breath and a steady release for some people. For others, it creates too much focus on something other than the task at hand.

So in short, you should think about singing from your diaphragm if it’s helpful to you. Any one of the following exercises can also help you “sing from your diaphragm” without the terminology.

 

Exercises to Sing From Your Diaphragm

The Milkshake Breath – When we drink a big, delicious milkshake from a straw, that milkshake goes right to our bellies. We can think of breathing in the same way. Imagine your favorite flavor of milkshake. Then, pretend to hold it in front of you and drink it all in. In this scenario, the milkshake will be your breath, and your goal is to fill your breath all the way to your belly. You can even put your hand on your belly if that helps you place it. If you don’t drink milkshakes, you can imagine whatever drink you’d like – as long as you’d normally drink it through a straw!

The Balloon Breath – When a balloon expands, it expands all the way around, not just to one part of the balloon. It does, however, start at the bottom of the balloon. Our lungs, ultimately, are like this as well. We want to use all of our abdominal muscles to create a steady release of the breath while singing, so we want to inhale with that in mind. Take a breath while imagining your torso is a balloon, and your goal is to fill up the whole balloon, starting from the bottom up.

Dog on a Hot Day – Have you ever seen a dog on a hot day, its tongue sticking out and its whole body working to breathe? We can use this for singing, too, although our breaths should concentrate on our belly. Stick your tongue out for an added tongue stretch, then release short breaths from your abdomen like a dog would on a hot day. This is a great exercise to introduce the release of breath along with the inhalation of breath.

The Snake Sound – To start working on the release of breath along with the intake, breathe in on four counts. Then immediately release the breath on a steady “ss” sound for eight counts. The “ss” sound should be strong but not forced, smooth and not jagged. This will encourage your body to release air as a stream rather than all at once, which is vital for singing.

 

There are numerous other exercises you can use to learn how to sing from your diaphragm (if you choose to think of it that way). These are my favorites because they all come with an organic understanding of how breath works without trying to manipulate our breath in other ways. Feel free to find your own creative ways to take lower breaths, too! Just make sure that no matter which exercises you use, you don’t do too many at once. These exercises can over oxygenate you and make you dizzy if done too many times, especially without practice. Try two or three a day at first for maybe a minute, tops. A little effort will go a long way to getting you towards diaphragmatic breaths in no time.