Tag Archives: fishtown

Managing Summer Music Lessons

violin teachers and lessons

As summer approaches, many students and parents have questions about managing summer music lessons. These include questions about changing schedules, vacation time, and practicing expectations. While your teacher is the best person to talk to about specifics, we aim to address your more general questions, or to help you decide which questions to ask. We also want to show you how summer music lessons can serve as a special opportunity for you.

 

Communicate with your teacher about scheduling

The most efficient means of managing summer music lessons involves communicating with your teacher (or your child’s teacher). Need a different lesson time over the summer? Going on vacation? Music teachers anticipate all of this, but let them know sooner rather than later. Contact your teacher as soon as you make plans or need a change.

Communicate with our office about extended breaks

It’s especially important to let our office know if you plan on taking any extended breaks, such as for a whole month or for the whole summer. If you take an extended period of time off, we will remove you from our calendar moving forward. Please contact our office at the beginning of the Fall when you plan on starting up again. We can’t promise the same time/day that you had, but we’ll do our best to work with your schedule for the Fall!

The rules of lessons still apply

It’s easy to fall into a “summer mindset” with music lessons, not applying the same rigor to cancellations and practice sessions as you would during a school year. Don’t fall into this trap! Teachers expect just as much over the summer. Plus, your music teacher is still running a business over the summer, and needs to be treated as such.

Use this as an opportunity

Many students, especially kids, are so scheduled during the school year, it can be difficult to fully dedicate themselves to music lessons. Summer allows a little more flexibility. Use it as an opportunity to get ahead in your music lessons so you can reach your goals that much sooner.

A lot of students also hope to audition for top bands, orchestras, or choirs when they return to school. If your child brings focus and discipline to summer lessons, they’ll be ready for these auditions in the fall. This is particularly important if a student plans to pursue music further, such as in college.

In either instance, take note of your goals or your child’s goals, and what it would take to reach them. Then, you and your teacher can make a plan based on your freer summer schedule.


It’s tempting to think that once the recital is over, once classes are over, then lessons are over for the summer too, or at least are more relaxed. However, summer is a unique opportunity for renewed dedication. Flexibility, time, and focus have great benefits for you or your child, so take advantage of them! Above all else, remember that managing summer music lessons is not so different from managing regular lessons. Keep that mindset, and you’ll stay on the ball through vacations, schedule upheavals, and pool-worthy weather.

Why Play the Flute?

Interesting fact: The flute is the third oldest instrument in the world, although it didn’t always look quite like the one we know today as the keys were added at the turn of the century. Still, a form of the flute has been around since before recorded language.

Interesting fact: The flute is the third oldest instrument in the world, although it didn’t always look quite like the one we know today as the keys were added at the turn of the century. Still, a form of the flute has been around since before recorded language.

Why flute? This is a funny question—As a flute player myself, I sometimes think back to when I decided to play flute for the rest of my life: I was in 10th grade and driving home from a flute lesson with my mom when I had this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t just stop playing flute. Obviously I had already been thinking about what I was going to do in college, but at that moment, the notion that I could stop playing music made me so sad that I knew I had to study flute for the rest of my life.

In orchestral music, we get to play all sorts of characters, from birds (composers love to portray birds with flute) to hope, wind, light, or mythical creatures, and that is barely scratching the surface! I had a wonderful teacher in college who pointed to my flute and said “this isn’t a flute.” I looked at him and thought, “Oh no, he thinks my flute is the silver equivalent to a plastic whistle. Or maybe, he’s just gone crazy” He pointed and said again “This isn’t a flute—it is the mist on a mountain top, it is the wind on a summer evening, it is rage, it is pure joy—this is whatever you make it.” Now on some level I knew that—people had been telling me from a reasonably young age that I was good at the musical stuff not written on the page, but never in my life had someone so clearly pointed out the possibilities of playing this instrument. What I love about flute and playing music using wind (or breath) as the mode of sound production is how expressive one can be while literally taking deep—and often calming breaths. I love the many colors one can find in the flute sound with careful study. Most of all I love playing all of the different characters. I love applying narrative to music, and I have the most fun when I’m playing a character with my flute.

As I think back even further to the events that led me to start the flute it all was so arbitrary: I went to Colonial Williamsburg with my family for a few days in the summer before my 5th grade year—I don’t know why I was intrigued so much by this fife I found in a shop, but I was and part of me wonders if I would be here today writing this article without that first seemingly nebulous push. This is just my story and when it comes down to brass tacks, every musician has his or her story. What we all have in common is the universal choice that we make. Every musician has made a choice to put in the careful hours and become what he or she is today. There is some turning point that presents an instrument to a person and then a choice that doesn’t seem at all like a choice but just something that you do. This might be yours for flute.

I don’t think I can ever say to someone “you should play flute because of ____.” There is never enough time and never language specific enough. Most students know flute is for them after listening to it. If they hear something that they like, I do my best to help them put what they like into words, and then we set off together after that sound. Playing flute is not the be all and end all for everyone, but for those who want to enrich their lives with a musical instrument—it is a great choice.

Five Underrated Instruments

5 Underrated Instruments for Your Child to Learn

original-5underrated_blogWhether your child wants to join their school band or orchestra, or if you want your child to take private music lessons, it can be difficult to select the right instrument. Oftentimes, students and parents alike only consider instruments that are popular, age appropriate, and/or affordable. While this criteria is reasonable, there are a number of underrated instruments for your child to learn that are also age appropriate and inexpensive.

 

Take a moment to consider these instruments and their benefits.

  1. Viola
    A lesser known string instrument, the viola closely resembles the violin in every way it counts. In fact, many viola players are able to use their skills to play the violin later on. How? Not only are both of these instruments held and played the same way, they share three of the same strings. While the violin has one higher string, the viola has one lower string.The main difference between the two instruments is the clef they use. Violists are the only instrumentalists who regularly use the alto clef. Therefore, those who play the viola tend to have phenomenal music reading and music theory skills. Although the viola is often neglected for its popular sibling the violin, it’s one of the best instruments for your child to learn from an educational and opportunity standpoint. Less competition amongst violists means more opportunities to play.
  • Trumpet
    While trumpets are well-known instruments, they are not well selected by kids looking to learn an instrument for the first time. This could be because trumpets are considered one of the most difficult instruments to play. Not only does it require good breath and finger coordination, it is a loud instrument. Furthermore, trumpets are often given the melody, making precise intonation important. If a trumpet goes out of tune, everyone will notice. This makes it a great instrument for your child to learn if they enjoy a challenge or being the center of attention.
  • Trombone
    The trombone – even less popular than the trumpet – offers a number of advantages to your child. Like many of the instruments on this list, less competition means your child will have more opportunities to play the trombone. The trombone has the unique benefit of being valuable to just about every kind of music group as well. They’re heard in bands, orchestras, symphonies, jazz bands, and so on. While the trombone can be a difficult instrument to care for, it can be a good opportunity for your child to learn about the importance of maintenance and respect for valuable items.
  • Flute
    Considered one of the oldest woodwind instruments, the flute is an easy, affordable, and versatile instrument for your child to learn. It is considered versatile in terms of both portability and usage. Learning the flute allows students to pick up other instruments later on as well, such as the piccolo or the saxophone. Its ease and pleasing tone make it a good instrument to develop your child’s confidence and foundational understanding of music.
  • Clarinet
    The clarinet is often neglected over its more popular counterpart, the saxophone. Few people realize the similarities between these two instruments, but a soprano saxophone even looks similar to a clarinet. However, the saxophone is considered easier to play than the clarinet, meaning the clarinet offers an educational advantage to your child. Furthermore, just like the viola to the violin, students who learn the clarinet can easily learn the saxophone later on. Switching the other way around, however, is more challenging.

 

Every Student Is Unique

It can be difficult to choose an instrument for you or your child when you’re just starting out, though we hope you will seriously consider these underrated instruments for your child to learn. Each one offers unique benefits to the player, and by virtue of being underrated, your child will often have more opportunities to play as a result. This could include special bands or orchestras, competitions, or even scholarships. No matter what instrument your child chooses to play though, we hope they enjoy a lifelong relationship to music!

Kids Violin Class with Rentals & Other Fishtown Music Classes

violin philly

Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart!

Suzuki-Style Violin Class for Ages 3-5

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”

Shin’ichi Suzuki

Saturdays at 11 AM at Philly Music Lessons
October 1st – November 19th
$198 for 8 classes
(Includes a 3 month violin rental fitted for your child’s size at the first class)

Though many different curiosities are piqued when children come into our space and see instruments on the walls and in our practice rooms, violin seems to be of particular interest over and over again! Thus we’ve decided to offer a Suzuki-style violin class for kids ages 3-5. With a violin rental embedded into the cost, kids have the opportunity to experience the Suzuki method and other violin group work intended to introduce young bodies and minds to the violin. Read more about our kids violin class here!


 

Music Exploration Ages 3-5

Tuesdays at 4PM
October 4th – November 22nd
$128 for 8 classes

Our music exploration class is an intro to music beyond baby and toddler classes. Kids will explore ukuleles, their voices, piano techniques, and percussion patterns to gain experience with string instruments, solfege (ear training), and rhythm training. This class lays the groundwork for private lessons in a variety ofinstruments and is simply a fun way to explore music! Each class concludes with an art project that will reinforce a new concept each week.


newmoms

Baby and Toddler Music Classes Ages 0-3

Ongoing Weekly classes at 10 AM Wednesdays and Saturdays
First time FREE! $10 drop in all September

Mommas, daddies, nannies, grandparents, and caregivers can join other families in the Fishtown area for weekly music classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 AM. Babies just a few months old will enjoy classes as much as the toddlers. All classes are drop-in this September, with a special rate of $10 per class (normally $15). Come October, we’ll be moving to a monthly sign up (10 kids max, unlimited makeups) to encourage regular friends and faces, and to allow groups of babies to grow and learn together!

Baby and Toddlers May Music, Fishtown

May MusicMay weekday music classes for babies and tots (ages 0-3) are on Wednesday mornings at 10 AM at our Philly Music Lessons studio. This month, we have some space for newbies! If you’ve been waiting to try out a class for FREE, come on by starting next week. We’re located down the street from the Soup Kitchen in Fishtown. We welcome Philly families from Fishtown, East Kensington, Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, and beyond to come make friends and music. If you can’t make our weekday classes, join us select Saturdays and Sundays this month (May 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd). Check our calendar to make sure classes aren’t full!

If you’re dropping in ($15 per class) or attending for your first time (FREE), you can just show up so long as classes are not labeled “FULL” on our calendar. However, if you have the time, we always appreciate the heads up! Email us here if you’re popping in. Package holders are always welcome!

5 Class Baby Music Lover Package – $10/class for regulars
If you plan to come to music classes regularly, it might make sense to get a package. You can buy a package in person, at class (cash, check, or credit card), or we can email you an invoice so you can pay in advance online. Please note: there are a limited number of packages issued per class, as we like to keep class sizes relatively small. Packages can be issued for either Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

Expiration Dates for Packages/Punch Cards
5 class packages/punch cards expire within a time frame that allows you to miss roughly two scheduled classes on our calendar. For example, Saturday classes are usually scheduled 2-3 times per month. Your punch card will expire 3 months from your purchase date, allowing you around 7-9 class dates to choose from. You can check our calendar to get a feel for typical class schedules.

Thanks!

See you all soon,
Claire, “Coco”

Philly Music Babies
Philly Music Lessons


Life at Philly Music Lessons Post-Baby and Toddler Music?

Some of you have been with us for almost 2 years now! Its amazing how time has flown, how much everyone has grown, and how much we’ve all come to love our classes together. Please stay in touch with us through our school’s main newsletter, where we announce new classes for ages 3 and up. Here you’ll also find out more about private lessons, recitals, and other events going on at the studio. For instance, this Spring we’ve been holding classes where baby and tots alumni have gotten the chance to reconvene with old friends in a musical way – Keep an eye out for new Fall class offerings!

Suzuki Style Group Violin Class Ages 3 & 4
Feel free to get in touch with us now if you’d be interested in a group Suzuki-style violin class for ages 3-4 starting September 2016. Small-sized violin rentals will be included.

Private Lessons
We encourage holding off on private lessons until at least 4, but we also know every kid is different! If you’re thinking music lessons, you may consider setting up a trial run (suggested for no more the 30 minutes for young kids), so you can see how your child would do with music lessons at any age.

Punch Cards, Baby & Tots Music in Fishtown

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Class News, Punch Cards, Schedule for Nov. Music Classes, Saturday Dates.

Fishtown Baby MusicPhilly Music Babies

The concept for Philly Music Babies has always been to find ways to engage children with music early on. Beyond being a place for toddlers to meet their first friends, music classes are actually developing strong musical ears too! Its becoming more and more well known that music exposure of all kinds for babies (even infants) nurtures language and brain development, circuiting crucial musical foundations like pitch, pattern, and even executive skills. Music aptitude, a child’s musical potential, develops until about the age of 9, and is heavily based on environment. Thus exposure at home, in music classes, and to various styles of music in early childhood all influence an individual’s capacity for music. If you haven’t yet seen it for yourself, group music classes really do have an effect on your child’s brain – they contribute to a whole bunch of positive social and cognitive effects (and they’re fun!).

For those who have been with us for a while now, its been great to watch your children change and grow over the months! The solfege time at the piano that has become a part of your child’s lives and minds is creating powerful musical relationships. Though they may be too little for structured music lessons, they are certainly gaining a musical foundation that will no doubt benefit them in all walks of life.

Those still thinking about music lessons or classes, you can try out a Philly Music Babies class for FREE! Its a great morning outing for kids anywhere from 4 months to 3 years old. Babies and tots will quickly settle into being part of a community. As they start making social connections, they’ll learn a whole lot about themselves and others. Of course, they simply love to hear the “Wheels of the Bus” week after week, month after month, even if it might seem repetitive to us adults.

If you’re past the music class age and don’t know what to do, don’t fret! Many teachers feel there are benefits to waiting for private lessons until children are about 4 years old. So if you think you’re somewhere in between, just keep on singing! They’ll get there soon.

 

Upcoming Classes:

This coming weekend there is a Halloween class! Most of you have reserved your spot in the 10 AM. If you want to attend, please get in touch. There is also an 11 AM class for weekday makeups, newcomers, and old friends. Looking forward to seeing all the costumes!

Additionally, there will be some special events happening near our space at 2111 East Susquehanna Ave (Philly Music Lessons). By My Side is having theirfirst annual Fall Festival in the NKCDC Garden from 12-4 on Halloween. Be sure to stop by and see whats happening. Jacelyn Blank will be hosting a children’s book reading during the event around 2 (I’ll be contributing some complementary guitar sounds and songs for the story hour).

New Musical Props:
In addition to our regular circle activties, you can look out for some new solfege props (do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do) in November. We’ve been doing the C major scale on the piano at the end of every class, and some little guys have really started to sing along! We’ll be incorporating some music bean bags to explore basic melodies, and using our solfege words and new body signs, we’ll reinforce musical relationships.

New! Punch Cards are Here.

Punch card packages, $15 Drop In, Free First Time

Join us in Fishtown for weekly music classes! To start out, try a class for free. Then, you can either attend as a drop in for $15, or purchase a punch card.

November Schedule:
Wednesdays 10 AM and 11:30 AM

Saturdays in November:
14th, 21st @ 10 AM

2 Punch Cards Options:

  • Baby Music Lover 5 Classes for $50
  • Mega-Fan 12 Classes for $100

2 kiddos? Second child is half-off (Free under 6 months!)

Buy a Punch Card Now!

Punch Card Details:
Having a sweet spot of around 8-10 kids per class has enabled us to have intimate, engaging classes. It has also allowed me to guarantee fairly stable class sizes and helps people meet up with their regular music class friends. That said, moving from a month-to-month sign up to a punch card system is a little bit scary! But I’m hoping we can make it work. Here’s how:

When you purchase a punch card of 8 classes or more at $10/class, you’ll still “sign up” for a time and day, but this will be very flexible (honor code based). Of course, if you ever need to come to an alternate day or time due to an appointment, nap issue, or anything else, by all means, do not hesitate to do so! Again, this is just to be sure we have some idea of class sizes and so people can get to know each other over the weeks.

With the new punch cards, there will be no makeups, as you can miss class when you need to! However, you’ll get bonus points if you attend all of your classes in any month (1 free class/month of awesome attendance).

If you have credits leftover (makeups from your monthly sign ups), they will be applied towards your punch card, or you can still feel free to use them as is (on Saturdays or by dropping into any class that is available). From now on, you’ll know exactly how many classes you have left by looking at your card. The card can be kept safely at class, or you can take it with you. Payments can be made with me during class (square reader or cash with email receipt). And if you’d like to go the super easy route, I can send you an invoice for your punch card, and you can pay ahead online. Your physical punch card an be picked up at class or stored at our space at 2111 East Susquehanna Ave. Drop-ins can continue to pay cash with our drop-in envelopes.

We’ll be keeping an eye on class size (especially weekends), and will open alternative time slots if necessary. We hope you’ll join us!

Happy Music-making!
Claire, “Coco”

email here
Philly Music Babies
Philly Music Lessons

Music classes for babies and kids in the Fishtown, Northern Liberties, East Kensington, Port Richmond Area. Private Lessons for all ages throughout Philly and the Main Line – guitar, violin, cello, piano, drums, bass, ukulele, and more!

Baby and Tots Weekend Reminder!

Reminder: TOMORROW 10 AM Babies & Tots Music Class
Sing and play @ Philly Music Lessons!

Music Classes for BabiesAugust 8th @ 10 AM

Don’t miss music tomorrow!

Stop by 2111 East Susquehanna Ave for some fun, songs, and piano. $15 drop in, $10 with package. Makeups, drop-ins, first-timers welcome! Free for newbies just testing the waters.

Please get in touch if you plan to attend as a drop-in. Thanks! – Claire, “Coco”

Philly Music Babies Kids 0-3

Count me in!

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Father’s Day Gifts, Music

Schedule a Lesson or Contact Us for Gift Certificates

Father’s Day Packages and Discounts

FREE Trial lessons for Dad through the end of June!

Gift Certificates Available:
1-12 lessons (includes free trial for Dads)

10% off season packages (12 lessons)

Dad plus Family:
Group lessons family prices:
10% off the normal group lesson price

(Father and child, Father and spouse, or the whole family)

We have a lot of options for families at Philly Music Lessons. Learning together is a unique and memorable way to explore music. With discounts for multiples, our private lessons can be made joint. Two or more students can take lessons together, and for the upcoming occasion, it may just be a Father and child duo. Families taking joint lessons get an extra bonus on top of our discounted group rates, with an additional 10% off.

A local Philly parent’s blog visited our space for a unique Father-sons jam session for Father’s Day. Guided by our teacher, Phil, the family met to rock out and test some of the studio instruments in honor of Dad and his passion for music (Weezer in particular). The jam included an electric bass, ukulele, full-upright piano, drum kit, guitar, 1/2 sized violins, a harmonica, and various other musical knick-knacks. A bit like our Big Kid’s music class, the jam session was highly focused on the exploration and strongly encouraged experimentation and collaboration. Phil provided some concrete musicality, and everyone chimed in and took turns in the spotlight. Check out the video above (made by HipsterHenry). You can also read about HipsterHenry’s experience at our space at Hipsterhenry.com. The blog provides a lot of really good, parent-tested things to do with kids around Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Philadelphia at large. We’re grateful to have received a visit!

In addition to this unique jam session, parents and children pair up frequently to learn a new instrument together in joint-lessons. Its also pretty common for siblings, and/or parents to take lessons at the same time (with two different teachers for convenience or one after another). In a nutshell, Philly Music Lessons can sometimes turn into a family affair (we love the brothers who played a duet on guitar and cello, and our Father-daughter trio from our Spring Recital!).

Of course there is always the simple gift for Dad – get him a set of new strings and some private lessons where he can quietly pursue his long held off dreams. He’s put aside his musical passions long enough, and its time to give him the chance to be a rock star… or a classical guru… or get on top of his dixieland, jazz clarinet chops. Contact us for joint-lesson rates, Father’s Day specials, or to set up a trial lesson. For more on what instruments we offer, check out our lessons and classes.

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.

Deals for Baby & Toddler Music

Summer Packages!

May 30th & Summer Saturday Dates
June, July, August Weekdays
Discounted Packages for Summer Baby & Toddler Music
Fishtown/Kensington

music time for babies weekdays and weekendsOn Saturday, May 30th, there will be an impromptu drop-in music class. FREE for First-Timers (as always), & a special $10 drop-in rate for all. Feel free to come on by! That afternoon, there will also be a recital at Philly Music Lessons for some of our older students, so you can feel free to swing by and have a listen starting at 3 PM (standing room only, wine & cheese too). There will be violin, piano, cello, and guitar performances! Then, Summer dates for Saturday Music will be as follows:

Summer Saturdays at 10 AM
$56 for 7 Class Package
You can still sign up per month at $10/class
drop in anytime for $15
(limited number of full summer packages).

June:
13th, 27th

July:
18th, 25th

August:
1st, 8th, 29th

Weekdays June, July, August
Full Summer Sign Up $100
11 Weekday Classes & 1 Saturday included

Weekday classes will continue as usual on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM as well as Wednesdays at 11:30 AM. If you know you’ll be away for vacations, you can still participate as a monthly sign up with flexible options for vacation dates with notice. As always, drop-ins can attend classes at $15 by emailing in advance to check for room. For those regulars who know they’ll be with us throughout the summer, you can receive a discount by signing up for the whole thang! $100 for June, July, and August(includes an a Saturday Freebie). Please check out the calendar for dates and potential makeup Saturday classes (If you have two kids, the price is $150). You can still sign up per month throughout the summer as well.

Makeups:
If you miss your regular class time, you can always drop-in to other class times or scheduled Saturdays for makeups. Saturday regulars can receive credits for missed weekends.

If you have any questions about signing up or dropping in, please feel free to contact me via email at phillymusicbabies@gmail.com. If you want to learn more about baby and toddler music classes in Fishtown/Kensington, you can read more here.

Thanks! Hope to see you around.

Claire, “Coco”
Philly Music Babies
Philly Music Lessons