Tag Archives: private lessons

Just in! Ukuleles for Kids Classes

Learning Guitar Concepts on Ukulele in our Group Kids Classes

Good news! Our ukuleles just came in so we can start prepping for music class. Our Big Kid’s class starts April 4th. As of now, we’ve just got an 11 AM Saturday time. However, these small classes work much like private group lessons in that they can be scheduled based on group interest. We’d love to hold more times, especially an after-school weekday time with one of our guitar teachers. So, if you’ve been looking for something along these lines (perhaps as an alternative to private lessons or something to do after school), look no further and contact us with your availability! We’ll do our best to arrange a group. For group lessons, we don’t just do our kids music classes – we also arrange groups for teens and adults and offer classes as well (BYOB singing classes, Beginner Guitar, Folk Ensemble, Vocal Technique, and more).

Description of Our Big Kid’s Class:

This class is a step between our baby and toddler music classes and private lessons. Small group instruction for kids ages 4-6 uses ukuleles and xylophones to playfully teach music. Classes are made up of between 5-6 children. Through guided exploration, children learn notes, listen with their ears, and practice basic technique. Songs are used as learning tools and interludes between activities. Curiosity and experimentation are encouraged.

*People often ask us, what age is good to start children with private lessons? Every child is different! Some kids might be interested at an earlier age than others. Typically, we suggest waiting until your child is at least 4 years old. We do, however, teach children younger if there is a strong interest. Instruments like piano and drums are easier to start with than guitar, and ukuleles are a good way to work up some of the strength required for guitar technique.

Philly Music Lessons student performances!

Student Performance

Cello and Guitar Performance at Philly Music Lessons

The Importance of Student Performances – We returned this December to the Church of the Holy Trinity, where students performed their best. Playing in recitals is voluntary, but we always encourage students to take part. Its an opportunity for both teachers and students to focus on skills, master new material, and see a piece through to the end. It is also a time to experiment with performing in front of an audience. This kind of challenge gives students a unique sense of confidence. Recitals are also be a great way to practice playing live (work out those butterflies!). Ensembles and duets sharpen musicianship and enable students to gain group experience. Even though they can be a bit nerve racking, recitals tie together concepts in ways that go above and beyond the private lesson. So students, pat yourselves on the back! We know its not easy to get on stage, and we’re all so proud of the work you’ve done.

Into the Performance Archives – For some, this was their second or even third recital. For others, it was their first. Looking back it is incredible to see the progress of those who have returned (even since the 2014 Spring Recital). First timers, you’ll be able to look back at these performances in the future and say, “Hey, look how far I’ve come!” Part of why we keep an archive and write the recital review is so that students can analyze, critique, and appreciate their progress.

Our Fall 2014 Recital Review – This year, the cello made its first appearance. We had a few returning duos and some new – The Glew brothers performed a Coldplay song on cello and guitar, and two adult students played duets from the Mel Bay guitar books. New teachers contributed to the recital as well, including string teacher Veronica Hudacek, and piano teacher Meredith Ferro.

Lilly Huber opened the recital on the piano. Her teacher, Meredith Ferro, has been working with Lilly following classical piano methods, focusing on proper technique and note reading. Lilly played “Minuet in G”, and “Falling Leaves”. Her graceful performance was filled with ease – an ease that has grown since last recital!

Another one of Meredith Ferro’s piano students, Elim Savage, went next. Elim, a beginner, is among one of our youngest students (just 4 years old!). With his first piano lesson just a few months prior, Elim bravely performed “Hiking” with his teacher, followed by a great first-time solo performance of “The Rainbow”. Good Job Elim!

Then, Colton Moran came to the piano. Colton has been a student of our teacher, Alex Maio. This was his first time playing in a recital. Playing with both hands, a feat for a beginner piano student, Colton performed “Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick” simply and sweetly (just in time for the holidays!).

Ally Altshuler played us three songs from her growing repertoire: “Bravery at Sea”, “Waltzing Elephants”, and “Animal Band”. Ally and her teacher Joseph Primavera have been working on some pop tunes, while also studying note reading and beginner piano technique. Last Spring, Ally sang and played piano at the recital – Ally, its amazing how far you’ve come in just half a year!

Addie Dash has been working on some pop pieces with her guitar teacher. She chose to play a mellow, acoustic version of “Firework” by Katy Perry. As she and Joe work on guitar technique during lessons, Addie also works on songwriting. Exploring composition, melody and lyrics, Addie wrote an original tune – she played “Black into Light” at the recital. Good job Addy!

Gabe Moran was up next, bringing our attention to the drums. Gabe is a drum student with Alex Maio, and this was his first recital. He kept the beat while playing an 8 bar jam accompanied by some blues guitar from Joseph Primavera. We can’t wait to see Gabe play again with other musicians, as he’s clearly ready to back up his first band!

Jack Hirsh and Joe played “The General”, by Dispatch. Jack has been learning tablature and working on his fret board skills. Jack did a great job with the complicated finger work during the opening of this song. While playing some solid rhythm guitar throughout, Jack also sang the chorus with Joe. Last year, Jack played piano in the recital. He studies both piano and guitar during lessons. Bravo to a first time guitar performance!

Hayden Dash, a piano student with us, played “Best Day of My Life”, by American Authors. Thanks for bringing spunk and personality to this piece and to the recital! Its nuts to think it was only one year ago Hayden played this beginner’s classic (with equal energy!).

Jacob Altshuler played “The Man”, by Aloe Blacc. Jacob started guitar lessons with Joe not too long ago as a beginner/intermediate for his age group. Jacob has worked from guitar books, but has mainly been working with tab recently and right hand picking technique. We enjoyed Jacob’s song choice and his picking skills!

Duncan Glew played a duet with his cello teacher, Veronica Hudacek. Together they played”Etude #5″, by David Popper. Duncan is an intermediate cello student. He produced smooth and clear notes as he performed this classical piece for the audience.

Next, Duncan accompanied his brother, Finn Glew, as they performed “Viva La Vida”, by Coldplay. Finn sang and played guitar. As this was Finn’s first vocal performance, its clear these two are just scratching the surface of their musical collaboration! We hope to see more of this duo at the next recital.

Jessica Lydon has been an adult piano student with Philly Music Lessons for a few years. With an interest in learning chord melodies for popular songs, Jessica has been working on the song “Mad World”, by Tears for Fears. She performed this Donnie Darko tune for us on the piano.

Phyllis Farquhar and Joe Stanczak followed Jessica’s performance with two guitar duets. Phyllis is a beginner guitar student, and Joe Stanczak an intermediate. Both taking lessons with Joseph Primavera, these two played “Ballad”, and “Pretty Pickin'” from the Mel Bay Guitar books. There’s often no better way to make note reading come to life than in the form of duets. Often times, teachers will offer accompaniment for such practice, but we love when our students create their own ensembles.

Joe Stanczak, though a long time guitar student, recently began taking voice lessons with one of our teachers, Marcelle McGuirk. In order to improve vocal technique and better understand the mechanics of singing, Joe has been focusing on vocal exercises. He and Marcelle have begun applying a technical singing practice to his interest in classic rock. Coordinating guitar and vox together, Joe performed “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who for the recital – a first-time vocal performance!

Henry Corkran, who studies guitar with Joe, played “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin. Way back when, Henry was just beginning to scratch the surface of all the great classic guitar riffs from artists like Pink Floyd and Zeppelin. Its clear Henry’s grasp of the fret board is moving along!  Onward, to mastering more great electric guitar lines, Henry!

Derek Mansen, an advanced student studying jazz guitar, performed “Play it Pretty”. He’s been dissecting some chord melodies during lessons with Joe, tapping into theory along the way. Tackling these advanced pieces fosters a thorough understanding of the fret board and scales, and requires mastery of tone and form. Derek played this piece smoothly and evenly.

Alana Gardner closed the show with her heart-felt performance of “Come Home”, by One Republic. Performing on piano and vocals, Alana showed off her singing skills again! Alana has been translating pop music into solo performances, accompanying herself on piano. As a supplement to her lessons, Alana has experimented with recording. Recording, like recital performance, challenges students in a unique way. We’ve got some of Alana’s first recordings here.

To Our Students – When you’re in the thick of learning an instrument, its easy to forget that there was a time when you didn’t know anything about music – when your fingers were sore from holding down a single string, when you couldn’t yet hear intervals, when you didn’t know the names of the notes, or how to make a decent sound come from the strings or trumpet. Taking time to look back will remind you of the process and how far you’ve come. May these reflections inspire you as you continue into the future! As you watched everyone perform this past Fall, with students from ages 4 and up, perhaps you were inspired by those who are just a little further along than you. I know there were some little ones in our audience who were surely doing the same, waiting for their turn in the spotlight!

Meet our Cello and Violin Teacher!

Cello Lessons Philadelphia

Cello and Violin Teachers in Philly | Philly Music Lessons

Veronica Hudacek is one of the most recent and impressive additions to the Philly Music Lessons staff. Teaching cello, violin and piano, Veronica carries in-depth knowledge of stringed instruments and is classically trained in piano. She holds a BM in Cello Performance and a Masters in String Pedagogy. In addition to being a highly trained musician, Veronica also boasts honors in teaching. Veronica’s former students have won regional awards and many have gone on to pursue degrees in music. One of the things that makes Veronica’s teaching unique (in addition her musical knowledge spanning three different instruments) is that a great amount of her experience has been teaching homeschoolers and homeschooling families for several years. Coming from a homeschooling background herself, she knows a more than bit about the process. She shared some words with us about her own experience, which led her to a generous exposure to the arts from a young age:

“I understand how difficult and rewarding the process can be. I came from a rather large family and while our family dynamic was chaotic, we were very close knit and supported each other. In addition to homeschooling, my siblings and I were also involved in lots of activities in the fine arts: music lessons, dance lessons, and several theater productions, sometimes with a few siblings at one theater in a certain part of town and another couple of us in another production across town. It’s no wonder our mom quickly earned the title “Super Mom” within the theater circuit since she could seemingly be in several places at once! Overall I was very grateful for the experience and learned a lot about myself and how to be capable and independent, yet part of a larger community.”

While not everyone is able to take lessons during the day (especially during the school year), Veronica is excited to announce her availability during daytime hours. This may be particularly appealing to families with children being home-schooled, but would also be relevant to those with summer break and adults with flexible schedules. Anyone for a cello lesson? Coming from Veronica after a brief interview are some thoughts about learning music:

 

When did you begin playing cello, and why?: The cello was actually a Christmas present when I was 14. The gift consisted of a plywood cello and bow, a methods book, and a VHS of How to Play the Cello. Like so many people out there, I loved the extensive range and overall sound and tone of the cello. Also Yo-Yo Ma was making regular performances in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and I made a point to go to every concert I could. I guess my Mom took notice!

What are your personal goals as a musician?: To continually improve my technique and skills in teaching and performing, and to pass along that knowledge and experience on to my students. Specifically here in Philly, to use music as a means to better the lives of individuals from all walks of life.

What was the most difficult of your instruments to learn – piano, violin, or cello?: Probably violin, I started at an early age with piano and pursued it as a secondary instrument in college but didn’t pick up violin until I was well into my cello studies. The technique concepts are similar, but the weight and balance distributions take some adjusting to!

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?: VIBRATO! I learned a certain approach and positioning in my early years, and it wasn’t until much later in my studies and careful observations of talented and successful musicians that I realized my positioning needed to be adapted. Observing and experimenting with technique is something I always encourage my students to do.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?: Make a great sound, and don’t injure yourself. (Jeffrey Solow) Words to live by!

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?: Practicing! Always a challenge.

What is your biggest musical achievement?: The recent completion of my Master’s Degree at Temple University, more specifically the lecture recital I gave in early May which was the culminating project of my two years of studies.

Favorite thing about teaching?: Seeing the expression on my student’s face when something finally clicks and they get it! I feel very proud of them, and myself for getting them to that place.

 

 

Cello Lessons Philadelphia

Cello Teachers in Philly | Philly Music Lessons

I teach cellopiano, and violin. I received my BM in Cello Performance from the University of Minnesota, and recently graduated from Temple University with my Masters in String Pedagogy. While at Temple, I taught private lessons through the Community Music Scholars Program (CMSP), where several of my students won top positions in the regional All-City orchestras, with one graduating student pursuing her BM in cello this fall. I have over 10 years of teaching experience working with a wide array of ages and abilities, from students as young as eight years old to adult beginners as well as pre-conservatory students. My teaching method puts focus on the individual and what they hope to gain through their musical pursuits. I emphasize playing in a healthy and relaxed manner, and finding what works best for the student. I incorporate my extensive knowledge of music theory and technique to build a solid foundation for a lifetime of musical enjoyment. I teach beginner violin, beginner to intermediate piano, and beginner to advanced cello. In addition to my teaching schedule, I also perform with several orchestras and ensembles in the greater Philadelphia area.