Fishtown Community Building Through Music
A few years ago, we moved our music lessons business out of our basement and into a beautiful space down the street in Fishtown. Feeling inspired by my own upbringing next to a fine arts and music institute for kids and adults, I decided to start teaching music classes to the smallest of our neighbors! I wanted to bring the experience of walking past an open window to the sounds of clarinets, opera singing, piano practice, and plays into my Fishtown community. Cracking open the windows on a warm June day, the sounds our first music classes and lessons were heard in Fishtown in 2014.
Bringing high quality music was a focus of mine. I had been to some great music classes throughout the city in my nannying days, and I realized how deeply kids responded to the ones with genuinely good music and real instruments. With this in mind, I created a flexible routine that engages kids through props, promotes spontaneous interaction between teacher and child, and trains the ears to hear pitches using Solfege, familiar songs, and other music-based exercises. At the center of my classes are our carefully selected teachers, often performers in Philly and teachers with a talent for connecting with kids. They play their guitar (and sometimes ukulele!), while performing and guiding children through various kids songs, rhymes, and our unique “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs.
Each week, old standards and new children’s songs are presented. With a scarves, pinwheels, parachutes, puppets, shakers, various world instruments, a big piano, and more, we explore what it means to play music. Interactive pieces shift from the most basic of kind to more complex dances and movement games as youngsters progress through the months. Heavily based on individual groups, these classes are adaptable – a good fit for many different ages.
Parents, sit back and enjoy as you play with your baby through this guided 45 minutes of fun! You can read our march newsletter below. Stroller parking is available.
Let’s usher in the Spring with some music making at Philly Music Lessons! As usual, we’ll be meeting weekly for classes in Fishtown and in South Philly (4PM Fridays in Fishtown and 9AM Wednesdays in South Philly). Our multi-aged classes are designed for 0-3 year olds and make for an awesome part of a day with kids – moms, dads, nannies, and other caregivers are welcome. With singalongs, movement activities, tons of props and assorted musical instruments, we change it up as we keep a base line of familiar kid favorites!
March in Fishtown | $40 Sign Up
Fridays @ 4PM:
March 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 30th *Please note: NO CLASS on the 23rd!
2111 East Susquehanna Ave Philadelphia, PA
March in South Philly | $40 Sign Up
Wednesdays @ 9AM:
March 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th
Address: 1548 S. 13th Street Philadelphia, PA
$10/class with a monthly sign up – Includes one makeup for missed classes per month, which can be used as credit towards upcoming sign ups or any classes scheduled at either location
$12 drop-ins with advanced notice only – Email ahead of time to let us know when you’ll be coming (please check with us to see if there’s space!)
First timers FREE
Online invoicing for monthly sign ups and drop-ins – Can pay online or make in-person payments
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.
Whether 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.
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!
“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.”
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.
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!
Philly Music Lessons at the Ethical Society
Fall Recital 2015
November 21st, 1 PM
It’s become somewhat of a tradition to have our Fall recital on Rittenhouse Square. The Philly trees have ushered in the Fall, and the park is starting to show signs of the holidays by the end of November. This will be our first recital at the Ethical Society. Equipped with a stage and abundant space for an audience, we’re excited to bring families and teachers into a new venue to support the accomplishments of our students.
The show is a great way for students of all ages to see various skill levels in action, and to put their practice into context. The project oriented learning required for recital performance will no doubt push participating students to higher levels. For this reason, recitals are something we encourage all students to consider, no matter their age or reason for taking lessons. In the past, Philly Music Lessons recitals have embraced true beginners to advanced students studying anything from classical music to pop composition. Thus, our recitals are often diverse and present a wide range of musical styles.
Join us for our Fall 2015 student recital at the Ethical Society this November:
Yeliza is the kind of person that can put you at ease from the first moment you meet her. She’s incredibly professional, but also relaxed and exudes positivity. This is the combo you want in a music teacher. She’ll offer students the discipline needed to learn an instrument, as well as the encouragement and light heart to wade over challenges along the way. In talking with Yeliza about future workshops and programs at Philly Music Lessons, I learned quickly how passionate she is about teaching. Though she teaches all ages, her and I have been excitedly planning our Spring Strings 2016 workshop for kids ages 4 – 5 and 6 – 7. I loved her reference to the early cello training workshops that inspired her in Puerto Rico. In these classes, as well as many beginner cello lessons for young kids, its common for students to start out on cardboard instruments, which they have spent time making themselves. This, she explained, teaches students how to care for their instruments, earning the opportunity to play on the real thing (On top of that, getting to craft a cardboard cello is pretty fun!).
Starting out the workshop with this mindful approach speaks a lot to the importance of patience and respect when you’re learning music (muscle memory comes in due time, just as getting to handle an expensive object like a cello comes with learning how to respect and care for instruments). It also speaks to Yeliza’s understanding of how to teach kids cello in a fun and creative way.
In private lessons, Yeliza offers excellent guidance for beginner and advanced students of all ages. With the Suzuki Method as her primary teaching tool, Yeliza offers violin lessons as well as cello. She also offers instruction for voice and piano too. Being bilingual, Yeliza teaches music lessons in Spanish as well.
Here’s Yeliza, playing Bach:
You can read more about Yeliza in her own words below (from our Teachers Page profiles):
I teach piano, violin, cello and voice lessons. I am 23 years old, and I was born in Puerto Rico. I came to the United States 4 years ago. I am bilingual, and I know the Suzuki Method in Spanish and English. I began playing the cello when I was in 7th grade in Puerto Rico with Professor Fermin Segarra. I also have an extensive background with the violin, piano and voice, having sung in multiple choirs throughout high school and college. After I graduated from Escuela Libre de Musica de San Juan, a school specialized in music, I went to the Conservatory of music of Puerto Rico for 2 years to focus on Cello Performance with Professor Luis Miguel Rojas. Afterwards, I transferred to Temple University to finish my bachelor’s degree in Performance with Professor Jeffrey Solow. This is my senior year at Temple University. I utilize the Suzuki Method with most of my students because I find it to be the most logical and progressive method of teaching. I was one of the piano, violin and cello teachers for children ages 4-18+ years old for two years in a specialized program at the Conservatory of Music. I am planning to stay in Philadelphia to build my studio with students of all ages.
Keep reading for a brief interview with Yeliza:
When did you begin playing cello, and why?
I started playing the cello when I was 12 and it was the best decision that I made in my life. I do not regret any moment that I spend with my cello making beautiful music.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play violin, piano and sing, as well. Piano was my first instrument growing up which gave me a very good foundation for reading music and understanding harmonic and melodic relationships in compositions. It also helped me better understand the string instruments that I would gravitate towards later in life. I began learning the violin shortly after the cello. They are very different instruments, despite being in the same family, but there are certain techniques which apply to both. As forvoice, I’ve sang all of my life. I’ve had three years of formal training in private lessons and have sang in choirs throughout middle school, high school and college.
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My personal goal is to conduct the best piano, violin, and cello lessons that I can and teach my students everything that I know. I want my students to have the same passion that I have for the music and teach them how to transmit it onto the instrument.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?:
Two things one was vibrato and second one was shifting. For vibrato I remember my professor singing to me ” Shake the maraca” because that is the same motion that you do when you are doing vibrato. And thanks to the professor that I have now I really understand shifting and how the motion works of my left hand.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
I remember the first time that my first teacher told me that we need to separate each hand and after you practice them separately you can then put them together. When you practice that way, it speeds up the learning process. Practice everything slow then it will be easier when you take it in fast tempo.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
The most challenging moment was when I moved to Philadelphia to study with Jeffrey Solow. He changed all of my technique. It was like starting with the basics again; Frustrating in the beginning but definitely worth it in the end.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I recently won a competition in Temple University, and I played in a concert the Elgar Cello Concerto. That was my biggest achievement up until now. But I am working very hard so that this will be the beginning of even bigger achievements in my musical career.
Favorite thing about teaching?:
To see the progress of my students and know that I am passing my knowledge on to the next generation.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Never give up! Music is a very complex , but is totally worth it.
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.
Music Classes for Toddlers, Babies, and Kids Fishtown, East Kensington, Northern Liberties, Port Richmond
Suggested Ages 0-3 years
Wed. in June 10 AM, 11:30 AM
Tues. & Wed. in July 10 AM (& 11:30 Wed.)
Good morning! Here is an update on the summer schedule and open spots: As of today, the 10 AM Wednesday class is full, but there is space in the 11:30 class for drop-ins or those who intend to sign up as regulars. Please contact us to join or drop in, as we try to keep classes with a max of around 10 kids (we don’t turn people away, so if you’re in the neighborhood and want to try a class for FREE on a whim, just pop in Philly Music Lessons at 2111 East Susquehanna Ave., down the street from Soup Kitchen, Little Baby’s, and Pizza Brain).
These classes are mixed ages, which adds to the fun and variety of the group. Every age is different, and the babies and tots participate in different ways (some are up and about exploring, while others tune into the music). We encourage participation from all, including the mommas, papas, nannies, babysitters, grandparents, etc!
The routine varies a bit week to week. Generally, classes are broken down into sections to keep things moving and interesting – there’s a bit of exploration and background music as everyone arrives (with finger puppets, shakers, and assorted drums). We ease the group into things with a Hello Song (meet and greet with names), followed by a movement oriented warm up exploring high and low sounds (highlighting body parts along the way). We then move into some familiar, traditional kid’s songs, and next comes another active portion, allowing kids to move through the space with group circle songs (marches, dances, “ring around the rosy”, or jumping with songs). We finish off the class with 15 minutes of free play and more songs.
Along the way, we often introduce some colorful scarves and a few playful games. We add some drumming/tapping with rhythm sticks each class (its a big hit). Other typical props include jingle bells, slide whistles, bubbles or pinwheels for dance. An assortment of instruments accompany the free play (xylophones, shakers, drums, and other things to tinker with).
At the very end of class, each child gets to sit at the piano and for some listening and experimenting with the major scale using solfege (sung). This is a real highlight for everyone.
These music classes are fun for so many ages. If you’re curious about how ages differ, here’s been my experience: Babies tend to listen, relax, and observe. Crawlers certainly are getting into instruments and props – they begin to mimic hand games. Walkers love to learn the movements and partake in circle games. They’re also tend to become interested in other kids. 2-3 year olds really tune into some of the concepts and songs we learn (melodies with do-re-mi, call and response rhythm patterns, and high-low ideas played out with props or songs). They’re interested in participating in singing and chiming in with ideas. There is also an age where kids begin to find some independence (when they learn to move and walk), and they go through a phase of exploring the room – They may go in and out of being engaged with the group. As there are many stages of toddler-hood, baby-hood, and childhood, (which aren’t always predictable) we are very flexible – There are makeup options for sign ups, and we are always looking to work with families to make things easy and fun. We also understand if you have to leave class for any reason! If you have any questions about appropriateness of classes for your child, please contact us or come and try a music class for free to see how it goes.
After June, Tuesday 10 AM classes will resume. We are open to suggestions for alternative times (afternoons, earlier mornings, or alternative days). If you would like to attend classes, but don’t see a time that works, please let us know and we will look into holding new times.
If you have a child who is older than 3, they are still welcome to attend classes. On weekends, there tends to be a broader age range. We also have a Big Kid’s Class (4-6 years) and private lessons (typically age 4 and up). Group lessons are available to work a bit more in depth with kids who are younger than 4. There are always exceptions to the age rule as well. Our trial lessons are a good way to test the waters if you are unsure (1/2 priced starting at a half hour).
Spring Coffee House Recital May 30th With Student Performances in Cello, Violin, Piano, and Guitar
At Philly Music Lessons, Fishtown
This weekend, we will be holding a salon-style recital at our space in Fishtown. Families and friends will gather starting at 3PM to support students of all ages and skill levels (some performing for the first time!). Guests can enjoy wine, cheese, and music during 3 sections of performances. This recital has given students of guitar, violin, cello, and piano the chance to dedicate themselves to a single piece of music, polishing it to performance quality. We applaud them for their work ahead of time and also look forward to hearing it all on Saturday.
Recitals are important milestones, and so we always try to document these events. Each performance is filmed for students and families to enjoy, share, and reflect upon afterwards. By now some of our students have a few recitals under their belts and will surely enjoy looking back!
Stay tuned for this Spring’s 2015 Coffee House Recital Highlights and for updates on the 2015 Fall Recital, which will take place at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square in Center City, Philadelphia. Cheers, and good luck to our students!
May 30th & Summer Saturday Dates
June, July, August Weekdays
Discounted Packages for Summer Baby & Toddler Music
On Saturday, May 30th, there will be an impromptu drop-in music class. FREE for First-Timers (as always), & aspecial $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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to learn more about baby and toddler music classes in Fishtown/Kensington, you can read more here.