Tag Archives: center city

Composition Teacher, Voice, Piano Lessons

Theory, Composition and More – Lessons with Annabelle Corrigan at Philly Music Lessons

piano teachers, vocal coachWe’re pleased to announce Annabelle Corrigan as the latest addition of teachers at Philly Music Lessons (piano lessons, voice lessons, and studies in music theory & composition). Annabelle lives in the ‘hood (Fishtown, that is), right down the street! She’s soon to join the ranks of Temple alumni (alongside many of our teachers), as she will be graduating in May from the Boyer College of Music with a degree in theory and composition. Annabelle also has her associates in piano performance and has studied voice as well. For students looking to learn piano or voice, or for those who want to explore music theory, Annabelle is a great guide – especially for those with an interest in songwriting or who want a deeper understanding of music (theory). Annabelle spends a lot of time composing, and her experience studying at a high level enables her to work with a wide variety of interests. Her own interests have taken her from opera, to classical, to jazz, film scores, and more. Schedule a Lesson

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:
I’ve been singing since I was about 8. I began to play piano when I was a teenager, because many of my classmates were really good at piano or some other instrument, and it inspired me to be like them.

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
I love opera, and my goal is to compose my own. I plan on working closely with the librettist, since I’m a poet as well.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
I never knew what perfect pitch was until I was much older. I also didn’t realize I had perfect pitch until a professor at an audition made me aware of my ability. Since then, it’s become a wonderful tool.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
Being compassionate with a student will allow them to fearlessly open up to their potentials.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
In the winter months, my body feels tight and cold, and sometimes this causes tension during playing or singing. That’s why to me it’s important to work in a warm environment, do proper daily stretching, and have a healthy lifestyle (good diet, exercise, proper sleep).

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
Composing a fugue.

Favorite thing about teaching?:
I love sharing my passion for music with other human beings.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Music is meant to be fun, enjoy it!

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I am in the process of composing a work for my sister’s wedding. Additional compositions underway, member of American Composer’s Forum, member of Contemplum (composition club at Temple), participant in the Oticons Film Score Contest.


Annabelle Corrigan’s Bio
I have always been involved with sounds and music from an early age. My greatest forte is my ability to hear. When I was young, people thought I might become a voice actor, because my skill at replicating voices was quite apparent. Still, I loved to sing and had been regularly involved in choirs. I dabbled in violin in the fifth grade, but I didn’t feel a “click.” Without despairing, I tried my luck with piano and felt instantly in sync. I knew this was the right instrument for me. During my piano studies, I continued to work on my voice. In addition, I studied the workings of a sound board, and was head sound chief at my high school. At the college level, I began to pursue composition, while still continuing with my piano and vocal studies. I hold an associate degree in music, piano performance, and I am currently working towards my degree in music theory and composition. I will be graduating from Temple University this coming May. I have been teaching music since 2006 and have worked with a wide range of ages and various group sizes. My joy is working with people in a field that I’m passionate about. My interests include music (jazz, classical, opera, new age), ballet, composition, yoga, meditation, going to the gym, hiking and camping, scuba-diving, sailing,Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, cooking and baking, film-editing, sound engineering, poetry, reading good books, building websites, and watching documentaries.

What To Expect – Drum Lessons

“What To Expect – The First 6 Months of Drum Lessons”

By Tom Cullen

Drum Lessons in Philly for Beginners

Drum Lessons for Beginners

So you’ve decided to take some drum lessons. You’re probably wondering what to expect – How often will I have to practice? How long until I begin to see results? The answer to those questions is, well . . . another question. What are your musical goals? All goals are met by a series of smaller goals, and you will have to decide how important progress is to you. Drums can be one of the most difficult instruments to master, but they can also be very easy and fun to play. Most drumming in the music we hear is comprised of just a few, very basic ideas. These basics can be learned within a 6 month period.

The First 6 months of Drum Lessons

The first thing you’ll learn is how to play rhythms between the right and left hand clearly. In order to do that, you will learn how to properly hold the drumsticks. How the drumsticks are held will effect a range of things from, speed, sound, comfort and even avoiding minor injuries (that’s right, you can hurt yourself!). To get a good feel for handling the sticks, you will need a consistent practice of 15-120 mins a day. Working on control of the sticks will also give you an introduction to reading music. Learning to read will begin to feed your imagination with a vocabulary of rhythms and stimulate creative ideas. Learning the language of rhythm helps us to understand and decipher the music we enjoy listening to.

After about 6 weeks, you will begin coordinating your feet with your hands. This is usually done by adding the bass drum, which is played by your foot using a pedal device. You’ll be doing 3 things at once. At this point you will also be learning the basic concepts of drumming, common in most of the music we hear.

The first concept is unison. Unison is when two parts of the drumset are played together at the same time. The next idea is “2 over 1”when one drum plays two notes and the other drum plays one. The final concept is the single stroke. The most common use of the single stroke is during a drum fill, but single strokes happen more often than we notice. They usually occur between a cymbal and snare drum or a cymbal and bass drum during the song’s “groove”.

Most drumming you hear is that simple! The trouble for most students is accepting that learning an instrument is a process (remember, all goals are met by a series of smaller goals?). If you make practice a part of your weekly routine, progress will be natural and easy to see and hear. If you follow your path consistently, and with the help from the right teacher, the first 6 months of drum lessons will allow you to play most of your favorite music.

Of course, after that, there is still much to learn. For example, though basketball is a simple sport consisting of 3 things (dribbling, passing and shooting), the best basketball players have perfected these techniques with strength, style and finesse. Perfection is a process, full of trial and error. Playing drums is a craft. Over time you will “sculpt” your own style and sound to where it becomes a direct extension of your musical ideas. Possessing the basic building blocks of drumming will allow you to pursue your own, original take on the instrument. Don’t forget – you get in what you put in.

“I would like students to understand that the learning process takes time. Practice as slowly as possible, because the slower you practice, the faster you learn.

-Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (The Guinness Book of World Records Most Recorded Drummer of All Time)

Meet Frank Velardo, our Guitar Teacher

guitar lessons

Guitar Teachers at Philly Music Lessons

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.

Frank’s Bio:

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.

New Trombone, Trumpet Teacher

We’re so happy to have a new great teacher on board. Larry (new trumpet/trombone teacher) shared some great advice about learning music. You’ll read his words of wisdom, personal stories, and a bit about his background in the interview and bio below:

trombone and trumpet teachers

Larry Toft teaches Trombone and Trumpet at Philly Music Lessons

Meet Our New Trumpet and Trombone Teacher

Larry Toft
I teach trombone, baritone horn/euphonium, and trumpet. I’m a full time teacher and performer in Philadelphia and obtained my BA in Music Education from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. I have over 15 years of teaching experience, and I currently teach at 3 schools in the Philadelphia area on a weekly basis. I enjoy performing and teaching many styles of music such as: classical, jazz, salsa, blues, reggae, r&b, funk, and folk music from Balkans. I enjoy designing lessons around what the student wants to learn as well as establishing basic brass techniques in regards to tone production, rhythm, and harmony.
When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?: I started at age 9 when I was in the fourth grade. There was a brass ensemble playing music for everyone in the school to try and get students excited about playing music. I remember the trombone player piqued by interest by playing low splatty notes and the melody to “The Imperial March” from Star Wars.
What are your personal goals as a musician?: To be well versed in all styles of music and to make people forget their troubles and dance/listen/enjoy!
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?: I remember the first time I was able to produce a clear, resonant tone on the trombone. This ability, for some, is one of the most challenging aspects to a brass instrument. Also, being graceful and fluid on the slide of the trombone. This really helps with precision and accuracy of notes in particular passages.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?: It’s only music. Wrong notes have never severely injured anyone. Be adventurous! Take risks! This can open your ears and mind to new, exciting possibilities.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?: Learning how to improvise. This concept, in the beginning, was very foreign to me. Once you become familiar with how chord and harmony structures work, it starts to fall into place.
What is your biggest musical achievement?: Besides being able to succeed as a performing musician who is well versed in many styles, I think performing with other notable musicians such as Johnny Pacheco, Jimmy Heath, Lalo Rodriguez, Jon Faddis, Johnny Rivera, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Coleman,
Michael Ray, and Freddy Bell
Favorite thing about teaching?: Seeing the progress of the student and having them discover that moment when it starts to click for them.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?: Enjoy the process. Be patience and persistent and the rewards will pay off.
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any): West Philadelphia Orchestra (Balkan/Gypsy Folk music), Red Hot Ramblers (Trad/Hot Jazz), Cultureal (Reggae), various Salsa ensembles, New Pony (New Orleans/original funk/blues)

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

 

In-Home Music Lessons in Center City Philadelphia

center-city-love-park-music-lessons

I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Guitar Lessons in Center City, Philadelphia for many years now.  Driving from Fishtown, through Northern Liberties and finally making my way to Old City is always a great drive, and every Wednesday for over a year now I’ve been doing just that, to do home visits for some of our students living in the area.  Between lessons I always enjoy getting a coffee and taking a stroll through Washington Square Park.  The area also reminds me of festivals on Penn’s Landing, where I play guitar at the Art Star Craft Bazaar every spring, as well as the new Race Street pier, which is always good for a sunset walk.

First Fridays in Old City are always bustling with street performers and musicians along 2nd and 3rd street.  A fellow music teacher plays there regularly with his New Orleans jazz combo.  In the later afternoons, as I travel west on Spruce Street, I can’t help but notice the slow change from colonial architecture to the more industrial era style buildings that populate Center City just south of Love Park and City Hall.  I still come down regularly on weekends to see my friends from Temple University perform at the local jazz clubs on Sansom and Walnut Streets.

There’s also a great academic history in Center City; home to University of the Arts, Philadelphia Institute of the Arts, and Curtis among others.  Rittenhouse Square always reflects the city’s dedication to the arts, hosting a plethora of street musicians, students and craftspeople.  Especially in the springtime, I’m sometimes inspired to bring my acoustic guitar and play standards for a couple of hours, soaking in the evening scene.