Tag Archives: guitar lessons

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.

Guitar Teachers

Hey there, Neema! Welcoming you to our wonderful collection of guitar teachers at Philly Music Lessons.

guitar teachers philly

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.

 

Guitar Teachers for Beginner & Advanced Students

Meet one of our guitar teachers!

Guitar Lessons with Alejandro
Rock, Pop, Metal, Fusion, Jazz
Beginner and Advanced Studies
Also Teaches Drums, Bass, Piano
In-home or at Philly Music Lessons
Schedule a Guitar Lesson

Guitar LessonsAlejandro Torres-Giraldo is a grad from Temple’s music school (Boyer College of Music). He majored in jazz performance, but has a broad background in guitar and music in general. Alejandro has worked in metal, rock, and pop genres (his current solo work is a body of original electronic, indie dance music with a hint of R&B). Alejandro studied sound engineering as well, so his experience on the production end of things is also an asset for students interested in recording, production, and songwriting. Besides guitar (his primary instrument), Alejandro teaches drums, bass, and piano. Students looking to work across multiple instruments will be able to pick Alejandro’s brain and increase their understanding of music in a comprehensive way. Another bonus? He happens to live right down the street from Philly Music Lessons in our Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood! Besides teaching at our studio, our guitar instructors also travel throughout the city and along the Main Line for lessons. He’re is Allejandro’s bio below:

Alejandro Torres-Giraldo

I teach Guitar, Bass, Drums and Piano. I have taught a broad range of students including first timers, those at an intermediate level and more advanced students interested in refining methods and developing technique. I have an Associates Degree in Sound Engineering from the Community College of Philadelphia and a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance from Temple University. I’ve arranged and composed music for Jazz, Pop, Rock, Metal and Fusion for the past 14 years while simultaneously performing and recording with various ensembles. Over the years, I’ve developed an extensive understanding and comprehensive knowledge of the language of music in various genres. As an instructor I can provide a unique approach to the instrument, focusing on technique and the best way to practice on your own, while catering every lesson to the specific needs of each student.

Alejandro’s Interview:

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:
I purchased my first guitar when I was 12, it was a Mexican fender. I wanted to learn some nirvana songs and start a band.

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My personal goal as a musician is to never stop learning new concepts and improving technique.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
It was the concept of rootless voicings and how to tastefully apply them in a jazz setting.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
To treat improvisation as an extension of your subconscious, in other words to develop an emotional connection with what you’re trying to say melodically.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
My third semester during finals at Temple. The technical material was progressively getting more difficult.

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
For my senior recital, I arranged all the music and composed two original songs. Also, I’ve played in several local bands performing all original music.

Favorite thing about teaching?:
Helping students wrap their brains around certain musical concepts is very rewarding.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
How to approach practicing in order get the most out of  it. Also, you’re never too old to learn how to play an instrument.

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I have a souncloud page with original music called “Fightkid”. Outside of the occasional Jazz gig I play guitar in “LOUDS”, an original rock band based out of philadelphia.

Kids Music Lessons and Classes

piano lessons philadelphiaPhilly Music Lessons is a family owned and operated music school located in the heart of Fishtown, Philadelphia. We offer private lessons (all ages), baby and toddler classes (ages 0-3), big kids music classes (ages 4 -6) and group lessons for kids (guitar, violin and voice).  We have a number of teachers with extensive experience working with children. We make sure to keep each lesson or class fun and entertaining, while providing the musical foundation necessary to learn at higher levels as your child grows. Students have the opportunity to perform in biannual recitals and shows throughout the year.

Contact Us to Get Started!

Big Kids Music Classes Ages 4-6

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Saturdays at 11 AM (45 minutes), ages 4-6
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join Here!

Xylophones and PianoCovering the fundamentals of piano (keyboard instruments), ukulele (fretted string instruments), and drums (percussion instruments), our music class for kids, ages 4-6 is a creative, group approach to learning music. Children have the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of music for $15/class (45 minutes each). The fundamentals they learn will pave the way for studying a variety of instruments. Core musical concepts will be explored through experimentation and social learning.

With small class sizes, there is ample room for discussion, questions, and spontaneity. Experimentation and fun are key, and curiosity is embraced. Subjects covered include how instruments work, note reading, ear training (pitch), time, and rhythm. How sounds are made (with strings and mallets inside of the piano for example) and how pitch changes are observed through play. Art is also used to reinforce concepts, illustrating notes, finger numbers, patterns, and more. Instrument making will engage children, bringing the learning process into the home through the collection of natural materials for production.

Each child will also be able to take home their own kazoo. Kazoos help strengthen connections between the voice and ear (pitch). Learning to make noise by following patterns on piano or notes on paper is a practice they can take home week after week. Encouraging children to hum while working with their favorite songs is a great way to build ear skills! If you are interested in classes, but can’t commit to our regular schedule, you can drop in to classes for $20 with notice (contact us here).

 

Private Music Lessons

Starting at $25 for 1/2 hour
By Appointment, all ages.
In-Home Lessons throughout Philly & The Main Line
Fishtown Studio Lessons
(610)451-7883

Schedule a Lesson

Ukulele, guitar, voice, violin, piano, cello, flute, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet lessonsStarting with kids ages 4 and up, private music lessons are available for guitar, piano, ukulele, bass guitar, upright bass, drums, flute, voiceclarinet, violin, cello, saxophone, trumpetbanjo, and trombone.  Lessons begin at $25 for a half hour in our Fishtown studio (view our rates for more information). Our teachers work with kids of all ages and skill levels, making sure to keep the lessons fun and exciting. Our goal is to inspire a life-long passion for music just as our first teachers did for us! For in-home lessons, our teachers travel throughout Philadelphia, the Main Line and Lower Merion. If students have an interest in taking lessons with friends or family members, we also offer joint music lessons! Please ask about our rate difference for joint lessons of at least 2 or more children.

 

Baby and Toddler Music

$10/class with sign-up (monthly)
$15/class Drop-In
Tuesdays, Wednesdays 10 AM
Wednesdays 11:30 AM
Select Saturdays at 10 AM
Ages 0-3 yrs (Families and caregivers welcome)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
Stroller Accessible!
(610)451-7883

Join Music Classes

babies and toddlers play songs fishtownJust a walk from anywhere in Fishtown, Kensington or Northern Liberties, these music classes are a unique way to meet and play with others in the community. Fishtown is just off the Girard or Aramingo exit from I-95, or a quick spin through the city for Philly families. Tots gather weekly for sing-alongs, movement and other musical activities specially made for babies and kids. Children will have the chance to learn songs together and explore a variety of kid’s instruments: jingle bells, the piano, shakers, and more. Little babies usually enjoy sitting in mom’s lap as they listen, observe, and learn. Toddlers tune in each week to familiar friends, songs, and beloved routines. Three year olds lead, participate, and add both spontaneity and creativity to classes. Providing energetic vocals and guitar, our teacher plays plenty of classic and new children’s songs (with rhymes, hand games, and playful lyrics). These are the kinds of classes that will kick off your day with good cheer! Weekday music takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM. Weekend music times are indicated on our calendar (typically 2-3 Saturdays per month).

Classes are $10 each when you sign up for the month (with flexible make-up options on Saturdays and select weekdays). We also welcome occasional visitors (drop-ins) for $15/class! If you want try out a class before signing up, you can always contact us to attend your first class for free.

 

Beginner Violin, Guitar, and Voice Classes

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Summer classes begin in June
Multiple Times
All ages (age groups: 4-6 yrs, 7-10 yrs, 11-14 yrs, 15-19 yrs)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join a Class

music classes fishtown phillyOur teachers have created group classes for some of the most commonly learned instruments. Taught by our violin, guitar and voice teachers, classes focus on propelling complete beginners forward to a place where they can begin to play songs together. Students will learn their preferred instrument among peers, and can gain performance experience with recital opportunities. At $15 each, classes are organized into age groups and arranged based on availability and instrument. Classes can occur on weekday or weekend mornings, afternoons, or evenings (contact us to find out more). Our next launch of classes will be for the summer months, set to begin in June. Classes take place throughout the summer and can be extended into the Fall based on group interest. For students with irregular schedules, drop-ins can attend classes for $20 each.

Students will need to bring their own instrument. If students do not have a violin or guitar, Philly Music Lessons offers beginner violin rentals, and we can also make suggestions as to where you can rent or purchase a decent instrument.

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

Why Learning Piano Can Help You Advance as a Guitarist

7442374So you’ve been playing guitar for a couple years now, and you’ve got all the basic techniques down.  Bar chords are no problem, you can solo with the major and minor pentatonic and blues scales, and maybe you’ve even gotten into learning some 7th chords or rootless voicings.  Now the question becomes: do you know what you’re playing and why you’re playing it?  This is where music theory comes into the equation.  If you want to better understand chord makeups, chord progressions, and what scales and melodies can work over them, then you have to start to understand at least the basics of music theory.  Applying what you learn from theory can open up new worlds of possibility in your playing and composing, and can really help spur on some periods of creativity and inventiveness.  However, tackling these concepts immediately on the guitar can prove a daunting task because of how string instruments are constructed, so I recommend learning some basic piano.

But I’m a guitar player you say!  Why should I learn piano?  Well, piano really is the ultimate theory and composition instrument because of how logically it’s laid out for you.  (Disclaimer: If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to want to learn how to read notes on the guitar so that translating what you learn on the piano to the guitar won’t be so difficult.  I personally recommend starting with Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method: Grade 1, and then moving onto Berklee Press: A Modern Method for Guitar, Volume 1.) Even getting through just the first half of one of these books with a good teacher should at least give you the foundation to figure out how to translate notes from the piano to the guitar.  For example, you might see something as follows when you first begin learning theory, and if you don’t know the notes on the treble clef it’s almost impossible to understand.  It explains the order of half steps and whole steps which constitutes the major scale in any key.



Continue reading to find out why the piano is such a great tool for learning music theory

Rock Band and Group Guitar Classes

Group Classes

Rock Band and Group Guitar Classes

 

Philly Music Lessons in conjunction with the Bache-Martin Elementary School’s Saturday Programs in Fairmount, is now offering group music classes, Rock Band and Group Guitar (Ages 8+), starting Saturday, September 15th, 2012.  Registration for the 8-week session is $200.  Classes will be limited to 5-6 students in each program and both classes will end with a recital that is open to all families and friends.  The Bache-Martin Elementary school is located at 22nd and Brown Streets, Philadelphia PA 19130.

 

Rock Band – 11 AM, Saturdays

Open to Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums and Vocals, Rock Band is designed to give students who already know the basics of their instrument (1+ years of experience) a chance to play and perform with fellow musicians while learning new music and increasing their musical knowledge in the process.  Repertoire will be decided in the first couple classes based on the interests of the students and is not strictly limited to rock music.

Group Guitar – 10 AM, Saturdays

The Guitar Class is for guitarists who are just starting out (up to 1 year of experience).  The goal is to learn the basics and further their understanding of the instrument among peers in a group setting.  Throughout the 8 week program students will learn how to read guitar music, explore some beginning guitar repertoire and practice playing together as a group.

Classes are hosted by Joe Primavera.  For more information or to register please CONTACT US.

In-Home Music Lesson in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

In-Home Music Lessons in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

We not only offer private, in-home music lessons to the Greater Philadelphia area, including Lower Merion and all along the main line, but we’re also happy to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge into the Pennsauken and Cherry Hill areas of New Jersey.  We service Pennshauken, Stockton Township, Merchantville, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Erlton-Ellisburg and all along Kaighns Avenue and Marlton Pike.

When I first came back to Philadelphia after graduating from Temple University, some of my first guitar students were from Carusi Middle School and Cherry Hill High School West.  I still spend every Wednesday doing home-visits in the Cherry Hill area to students interested in everything from Jazz to Rock and Heavy Metal.  The other Philly Music Lessons teachers are also available for in-home piano, bass and drum lessons almost every day of the week.  The drive from Fishtown, Philadelphia to Cherry Hill doesn’t take very long at all, and in the springtime you get to enjoy all the wildflowers along Route 70, near the Cherry Hill Mall.

My drive usually takes me over the Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross Bridge.  I start out on Marlton Pike and pass the Garden State Pavillions Shopping Center, visiting houses in Ellisburg and Barclay-Kingston.  When I get to Route 295 I head north, to my students near Chapel Ave, Church Road and the Hillview Shopping Center.  I end my loop near Pennshauken and then head back to Philadelphia from there.

I’ve had some of my students in Cherry Hill for over three years now, and it has been a pleasure getting know them, and seeing them grow up over the past couple years.  There is a special bond that occurs between music teachers and their students, which continues to strengthen as the years go on.  Music is not only fun and intellectually stimulating, but can also serve to bring people together.  Having your kids take music lessons can enrich their lives in so many ways, and that is the main reason I began teaching music in the first place.

In-Home Music Lessons in Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore

In-Home Music Lessons in Ardmore, Narberth and Bala Cynwyd

Philly Music Lessons is happy to offer private, in-home guitar, piano, bass and drum lessons to areas all along the main line in Delaware and Montgomery counties. Our professional and dedicated teaching staff can come to you, so you don’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule. Our in-home rates are not much more than our studio rates, and the convenience of having a teacher come to your home can make all the difference in you or your child sticking with a weekly lesson schedule.

Most of our teachers spend at least one day out near City Ave and Lancaster Ave, and it has been a pleasure for all of us to get to know the students and parents in the surrounding areas of Philadelphia. It is important for Philly Music Lessons to bring our passion for music to students from all walks of life.   You’d also be surprised at how often the parents of our students sit in on lessons, see the benefits of music firsthand, and actually end up taking lessons themselves!

I have been doing home visits throughout Lower Merion to the Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore areas for over 3 years now. Two days a week I cross City Avenue near St. Joseph’s University in West Philadelphia and teach guitar and piano lessons to students in the area. It’s always nice to take a drive and get out of the city for a while. The site of the old Barne’s Foundation, the Merion Botanical Park and Belmont Park are all welcome sights along the drive. As I leave Bala Cynwyd and Narberth via Montgomery Avenue, I pass Lower Merion High School, where some of my students in the area attend, and eventually end up in downtown Ardmore where I can stop for a bite to eat.

Ardmore is a little gem of a town right outside of the city limits of Philadelphia. I’ve become familiar with it over the past couple years because I’ve worked out the Milkboy recording studios quite a few times. Aside from teaching private music lessons, I am also a recording engineer. I teach regular workshops and recording classes at the Hill School in Pottstown and have helped them build up a state of the art recording facility. Before the studio was built up, we used to record the choir in Ardmore, so the students could get a feel for what it’s like to be in a professional studio and so they could have an album at the end of the year to give to family and friends. We also have a fully equipped recording facility at our studio in the Fishtown and Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia.   We believe that recording can be an incredibly useful tool in furthering one’s musical understanding.

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.