Hey there, Neema! Welcoming you to our wonderful collection of guitar teachers at Philly Music Lessons.
With interests in blues, jazz, and rock, Neema teaches guitar lessons at Philly Music Lessons. He is also a great teacher for piano, bass, and drums, having a solid, well-rounded musical background. Currently, Neema is pursuing a degree in guitar performance from The University of the Arts. You can check out Neema playing a piece on electric guitar, following the short bio and interview below:
I teach Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drums. My first musical experience was singing, then playing hand drums while I was young. I have formal training in guitar from University of Houston and Berklee College of Music after high school. I am currently studying guitar performance at The University of the Arts. I have very many goals for my life and one of them is to continue teaching music. I have been teaching for 4 years now, and I consider myself to be a professional educator. My strength as a teacher is to quickly identify how the student needs to learn to best show him or her the steps to success. I also have experience with group lessons in guitar and piano. I love to teach songs, riffs, scales, proper technique, proper theory, and how to get the most out of your practice. It is very important to play music everyday and to have discipline in your practice. Recording yourself, listening back, and planning what to do for the next day are all good practice habits. I practice jazz and classical guitar at least 3 hours a day.
When did you begin playing guitar, and why?
I first started to play the guitar on September 1, 2008. I’m from Houston Tx, and when Hurricane Ike landed ashore, I was safely in College Station Tx at a friends house. He had a guitar, and I played a Cold Play song. I always wanted to learn to play the guitar, and I did!
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My personal goals are to perform my own songs with a band, be a successful song writer and performer and to become a top entertainer!
Do you have a memory of a time when a music concert or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
The first time I had a click that maybe music and sound could be the story of my life was when I was a kid singing a song on the radio and my brother told me I sounded exactly like the lead singer.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) or current teachers?
The piece of advice that stuck would have to be “play that tune all day long.”
Whats your most challenging musical moment?
The first time I picked up the guitar. And the hardest thing will be the next thing I play, because I am always trying to challenge myself.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
Music itself is a reward, so just the act of playing music is an achievement for me.
Favorite thing about teaching?
Teaching is always earning me experience with new people with different backgrounds. It’s rewarding to teach music, to talk about music and always to play music.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Many people think they can’t play music, like its something out of reach. I would like to share with those people that they can and should learn music. It expands the mind, you become smarter, and even begin to solve life’s most difficult problems better.
Currently I am looking for a band and I’m writing my own songs and lyrics.
Introducing Frank Velardo to our pool of talented guitar experts. Looking to take lessons for blues, jazz, or rock? He’s your guy.
Frank is a fellow former jazz performance mate from Joey’s days at the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Thus, we’ve been rubbing guitar elbows with Frank in the music scene for years! From jazz sets at Book Space, Chris’s, and Caribou Cafe (to name just a few), to sharing a bass player on more than one occasion, we’ve gotten groovy to the guitar licks of Frank plenty of times. In addition to being a master of his craft, Frank’s also an awesome teacher. And he looks like George Harrison.
I teach Guitar, Bass, Piano and Ukulele. I am an accomplished musician, composer and educator versed in many contemporary styles. I have been studying blues and jazz based music for many years now and have developed an authentic sound that stands prominently among my idols. I play in several Philly based groups as a sideman, and I also lead my own project. In 2010 I graduated from Temple University with a degree in jazz performance, and in 2012 I released my first collection of original music, The Ardvark Felon.
Here’s our interview with Frank:
When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:
I took my first piano lesson when I was 9, but my mother had shown me a few things before that. I got serious about music when I started paying the guitar. I was 12 years old. I started playing guitar because I wanted to be able to play “Good Riddance (TIme of Your Life)” by Greenday.
What are your personal goals as a musician?: Like with anything else, there are short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal could be something like learning a new song or copying a solo. A long term goal is something like being able to identify the chord changes of a song without having to struggle over it, or learning how to play jazz. My long term goals with the guitar is to be able to play every “idea” that comes to me while improvising… oh yea, and to have fun!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?: I was working on being able to hear a continuous stream of 8th notes in my head. I thought it would help my jazz playing. It’s a concept call “Forward Motion”. Hal Galper, jazz pianist and educator coined the term and wrote a book on it. I spent years doing exercises and practicing. It finally clicked one day while I was watching TV. I was just sitting there, not trying, but then I could suddenly hear the notes in my head, and feel where my fingers had to be to play them. It was exciting!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?: Be stubborn. It sounds cliche but “sticking with it” is really the key ingredient to success in music, because if I would have quit back then, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?: Working on time/rhythm. It’s still a challenge, and I’ve improved in that department a lot over the last 5 years.
What is your biggest musical achievement?: I’ve practiced to the point where the guitar is no longer an obstacle in conveying my emotions or “saying what I need to say” through music.
Favorite thing about teaching?: It forces me to be patient and understanding. I enjoy playing the support role and, I like watching students connect the dots. I’ve had a lot of great teachers over the years so I feel it’s important to keep that tradition going.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?: If you have a guitar, don’t wait for the first lesson to take it out of its case! Don’t be afraid to mess around with it. There’s nothing that you can do that will jeopardize your ability to improve if you start playing before the first lesson. Teachers like to see that you have take some initiative with your learning.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any): I play every last Tuesday of the month at Jose Pistolas at 15th and Spruce with my trio. I also play in a blues band called the Downtown Shimmy. I have a calendar of show dates on my website www.frankvelardomusic.com I also have some original tunes and photos posted.
Philly Music Lessons | Student Recital, Rittenhouse Square –
Come support local educators and join families, students, teachers, and those from the community at the Church of the Holy Trinity for another Philly Music Lessons recital. This year, with even more students in the lineup, you’ll be in for a treat as beginner to advanced students perform their best.
On December 6th at 3pm, stop by to hear cello, violin, piano, voice, drum, and guitar students perform in a gorgeous 19th century church on Rittenhouse Square. Tickets are $5 at the door for non-performers. Families and friends of students, and anyone living in the greater Philly community are welcome to join us!
Hope to see you there!
Here is a piece about the last season’s recital:
This past Spring, we held our recital once again at the Church of the Holy Trinity off Rittenhouse Square. We had fallen in love with the space and its acoustics during our winter show, and so we jumped on the opportunity to perform here again. The sanctuary of the church is full of natural reverb and boasts historic and architectural beauty to complement its top-notch acoustics. The church also sits center to many of the areas where we teach lessons, making for a fun day trip for the Main Liners, and a short rendezvous for the local Philly folks. Its not often students get to perform in such impressive spaces, and so we hope to bring everyone back again next recital!
Since the debut of our student recitals in the Fall of 2013, Philly Music Lessons has been hiring teachers to offer a broader selection of instruments. While we can’t wait to showcase our new violin, cello, and flute students this Fall, we were proud to have some electric bass this time around! And so that’s exactly how we kicked off the Spring show:
Jeremy Watts and Brandon Watts had been taking lessons with our own Donnie Felton for just a few months. Traveling to our Fishtown studio week after week, the Watts brothers had been exploring R&B, combining a natural ear for music with their new-found technical comprehension of note reading and chord changes. The young duo (accompanied by their teacher on drums) killed a rendition of “Red Baron”, by Billy Cobham. If you aren’t familiar, “Red Baron” is a jazz-fusion tune from 1973. Its a song that requires a lot feel n grooviness, which Jeremy and Brandon surely brought to the table. As the brothers played together on electric bass and piano, improvisation on the keys was a highlight, in addition to the strong sense of rhythm provided by the bass. There’s nothing like opening a performance with this old-school tune and a family band!
This was just the beginning of a very cool set-list made up of original compositions, classical piano works, familiar modern pieces, some jazz/blues improv’ from an advanced jazz guitar student, and more. Someone even mastered a classical piano rendition of the theme song from the old nintendo game, Zelda (my personal fav)!
This Fall, we’re looking forward to having another great mix of instruments and an equal the variety of musical disciplines from our students. See you at the next recital!
Philly Music Lessons Classical Guitar Teachers – new addition Josh Olmstead
New Philly Music Lessons Teachers for Classical Guitar in Philadelphia – If you’ve visited our teacher page, you’ve seen our teachers, both old and new. But we wanted to formally welcome additions to the ever-growing bunch. Josh Olmstead has been teaching guitar lessons with us for just a few months, but has been teaching private lessons in Philadelphia and the Main Line for many years. He has been a close friend of ours in music for over 10 years, and we are grateful to have him with us!
Classically trained in guitar, with an interest in blues and rock and roll, Josh has played lead guitar in many Philadelphia bands (ours included!). He has also been an avid composer, writing and performing guitar and vocals for his solo projects throughout the years. Josh has a deep understanding of arrangement, both from his classical guitar background, as well as his roles as band-leader for rock and roll projects. When it comes to teaching, Josh is one of our most seasoned instructors. His classical guitar repertoire includes Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic pieces. His professional experience performing both classical and modern styles of guitar makes him an excellent teacher for those wishing to pursue music performance as a career. His enthusiasm for folk, blues and rock and roll is a true asset when it comes to teaching singer/songwriters, and those wanting to learn guitar riffs and chords.
Want to schedule classicalguitar lessons with Josh? You can take a trial lesson by contacting us or calling (610)451-7883 Your first lesson with us is half-priced!
“I am a singer, songwriter, and classically trained guitarist, whose guitar repertoire includes Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Romantic works. Since graduating from Temple University with a BA in American Studies/Minor in Music, I have focused on sharing music through writing, recording, performing and teaching. As a guitar instructor, I choose specific coursework and style of guitar based on the interests and skill-level of individual students. General study includes development of a wide range of skills, such as 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.”