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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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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.

Baby and Toddler Music Classes

baby music classes

Music classes begin January 6th & 7th at 10am – Congrats! Some of you are already all signed up. But for others, read on & send me an email if you’d like! Saturdays this month will be the 10th and 24th.

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Sign up for Music!

Tuesdays & Wednesdays in January at 10am

Kick the new year off with some songs and good times – Join us at Philly Music Lessons throughout January for morning music classes. Classes takes place at 10am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and also on select Saturdays. Currently, Wednesdays are all filled up! But you can still sign up for the Tuesday class – Please email me if you’d like to sign up for the month to get the $10 rate. If classes are full, you can always join our waiting list until a spot opens up (or drop in on Saturdays!).

Weekday Rates:

  • $10/class when you sign up for the month
  • $15 to drop in (please email to check for space)
  • $5 for additional children in the family
  • Free Makeup Classes for sign-ups
  • First Timers Free

Weekend Rates:

  • $10/class with a Saturday Package (email to inquire)
  • $10 for current students or alumni (previous sign-ups)
  • $15 drop in

For Saturday package holders, drop ins, and makeups, Saturday classes this monthwill take place at 10 am on the 10th and the 24th. For those who have already signed up for weekday classes, I’ll see you next week at 10am! (Invoices coming soon)

Cheers!
Claire, “Coco”

Philly Music Lessons &
Philly Music Babies
2111 East Susquehanna Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
phillymusicbabies@gmail.com

Our music classes bring together neighborhood kids of all ages through song. Parents and children attend weekly classes, allowing us to establish familiar faces and a regular routine. Opening with our very own hello song, each child is greeted at the beginning of class with their name sung loud and clear.  From session to session, we learn the fundamentals of music and experiment with creative expression through movement and rhymes.  We visit our standard songs time after time, and slowly introduce new tunes into the mix.  We learn numbers and body parts, and explore vocals using solfege (“Do, Re, Mi”). We clean up shakers to our “clean up” song, and bring out a surprise box of assorted xylophones, rattles, and drums!  Babies love to watch the older kids play circle games or try their hand at strumming the guitar.  Though the pre-walkers often take a seat in mom’s lap, we do a wiggle song where even the babies can swim on their bellies!  Big kids often become the helpers, and the little ones watch, intently learning. Small class sizes allow the teacher to fully interact with each child.  After our unique goodbye song, Coco allows each child to learn notes on the big piano. Meet the teacher

Toddler Class – Taking Turns with Music

During my music classes, I find it nearly impossible to skip the routine turn-taking activities. I know I’ve strummed the guitar a bit too long when I start to see little eyes wandering! Of course these introductory sing-alongs are the staple of any music class – they have an immediate appeal and are crucial to the class routine. But no matter how enamored a child is when they hear those chords on guitar, their little attention spans are ready to explore the next thing after about 3 – 4 consecutive songs.

As children approach two, it seems they are eagerly awaiting opportunities to test their social skills (and observe others).  My class involves many turn-taking opportunities, as I found this is where I see toddlers feeling most proud and engaged with others. There are activities that we do, which require each child to wait as others take turns in the spotlight. For example, “Where is [child’s name]” is sung while each child hides behind one of our scarves. We also take turns learning the C major scale on the piano, one itty-bitty finger at a time.

These are the things that are most readily remembered week after week (and garner the most excitement). These activities are an opportunity for children to observe other kids as they try out new skills. With the social support of the group, I’ve seen children gain confidence through a new found bravery from trying new things. They also feel a sense of accomplishment. These communal experiences are in line with the social needs of toddlers. I find it enriching to the social fabric of the class, as each child is encouraged to take risks and express themselves.

Here are just a few of the songs and activities we do in class:

“Old McDonald” – We spend time in between repetitions, naming farm animals and their sounds. I try to encourage the little ones to participate during class through our familiar song collection. Many children are shy at this age, but are surely paying attention and learning from the ballsy ones! I’ve also observed how quickly a child warms up over the weeks.

“Ba Ba Black Sheep” with a variety colors – A favorite among so many toddlers!

Warm ups with fun sounds and movement – We explore our vocal chords together, using motions and body language to emphasize the difference between high and low notes. We also get our rhythm going by patting our bellies and clapping.

“4 Little Monkeys” – Of course we can’t get away with a class without doing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (because its pretty much everyone’s favorite). But, “4 Little Monkeys” is also awesome – maybe anything with monkeys is fun! This one involves swinging arms and an alligator that inches toward each child during the repetitions.

“5 Little Firemen” with rhythm sticks – This is a new one that has become one of my favorites. Each round adds a “Whoosh!”, and there is a lot of steady repetition, with dynamic pauses, making it a great rhythm exercise for toddlers.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with turns – We do this one in the form of a round sometimes, but the most popular version with the kiddies is the one where a scary animal comes! They love it (we all get to yelp). The tots love taking turns on my lap while we row with the sticks.

There are many more songs that we do and instruments that we play. As I’ve mentioned before, these classes are great for any age. I find that it is best for children 0-2 years old, especially if you’re signing up for multiple weeks. Toddlers are very focused on routines and repetition, whereas a 3 or 4 year old may get a little tired of the same old thing.  That said, we’ve had some older children stop by for the day who had a great time! So we really do welcome all ages, especially for drop-ins. Babies do equally as well as toddlers. They are always very happy to have the lively stimulation and weeks to perfect sitting skills, new sounds, and internalizing rhythm and language.

For older children (3-5 years), we are currently gathering interest and names so that we can put together a class for older children (which would involve instrument making, song improvisation, and more technical concepts).

If you haven’t tried out a class, you’re welcome to contact us to set up a time when you can drop in to a class for free. If you’re looking to sign up, our August music classes are just about done (one more week!). September classes will begin on the 16th, and will take place mornings at 9am and 10am. Currently, we are offering Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (classes will be held based on demand). Keep an eye out for Saturday classes as well! Follow Philly Music Babies on Facebook for class updates and Saturday class announcements. We happen to have a Saturday class on the 30th this month at 10am. You can also find Phillymusicbabe on twitter or text me, Coco, to check class statuses the day of (in case you plan to drop-in).

Happy Singing to you!

Fall Schedule of Music Classes for Babies and Toddlers

Edit to Class Times!! Note that classes are currently being held only on Tuesdays at 9am and 10am and Wednesdays at 10am. If you have an interest in Thursday classes, please contact Philly Music Lessons. 

Fall Music Classes

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9am and 10am

Contact us!
Our August classes have taken off! We had lots of fun in July. These next few weeks will surely be great too, as many smiley faces have returned (along with some new ones). If anyone would like to come by before summer is over (Mondays and Tuesdays), please let me know and we can set something up.

After the August classes are over, the Fall schedule will begin! Fall classes, which will start on September 16th, will occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9am and 10am (based on demand). Classes are 45 minutes long and will be $10/class per child when you sign up for a regular time and day. Though September will be a short month, the rest of the season will be packed with weekly music. Classes will continue into October, November, and December with breaks for holidays and the New Year. Then, you’re welcome to hunker down with us at Philly Music Lessons during the winter months! Classes are great for babies, toddlers and kids of any age.

Starting now, families can sign up for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday classes in September and October until classes are full:

September
September 16th – October 2nd
3 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $30

October
October 7th – October 30th
4 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $40

September and October
September 16th – October 30th
7 weekly classes
Tuesdays Wednesdays or Thursdays
9am or 10am – $70

MAKEUPS
If you know you will be missing or have missed a class, makeups can be fulfilled during any of the listed weekday times. If you can’t make a weekday class time, arrangements can be made for a Saturday music class. Makeups will also carry into new sessions (so no rush).

Currently, there is a drop-in/make-up music class on Saturday, August 30th at 10am. If anyone is interested in trying out a class, this would be a great time to drop-in (for free if you haven’t yet been!). Please contact me if you would like me to reserve a spot for you.

SIGN UP OR DROP IN
If you are unable to sign up for an entire session, please feel free to contact me. You can also drop in (pay as you go) at $15/class. There is a max of 10 kids per class, so please check our calendar to see which classes are full.

SATURDAY CLASSES
On another note, if anyone has an interest in regularly occurring Saturday classes, please let me know! Based on demand, I’m considering holding a music class every other weekend.

Questions and sign ups:

Email Phillymusicbabies@gmail.com or call (215) 520-1772

More information:
Philly Music Babies
Philly Music Lessons