Archive | July, 2014

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.

Vintage Songs for Ukulele | Philly Music Lessons

New Lesson Material - Ukulele Music from the 1920s's | Philly Music Lessons

New Lesson Material – Ukulele Music from the 1920’s | Philly Music Lessons

Vintage Ukulele Sheet Music Finds: “Japansy Waltz Song” and “Barbara” – Every now and then, when I’m off collecting vintage music paraphernalia for our space, I come across boxes of old sheet music. Often times the songs I find are actually quite useful for our teachers. We’ve gathered some old dixieland tunes, classical scores, and piano exercises published from the turn of the 20th century. Of course most anything can be found online now, but there’s nothing like a chance run-in when you’re browsing through a physical library (in this case, our very own Philly Music Lessons library).  Plus, when rummaging through troves of sheet music in second hand warehouses, one might uncover a truly obscure piece and encounter a unique and remarkable glimpse into the past.

If it’s not the anachronistic titles found in our collection that will pique your interest, it’ll be the art that catches your eye. Many of these newly acquired music editions are silk-screened prints. With Art Deco lettering and ornate scrolling to embellish the covers and edges of the faded sheets, these antiques will satisfy history buffs with their visual and linguistic displays of cross-cultural exchange. One such piece we’ve added to our library is a 1920’s Ukulele piece, its lyrics reading: “My tears will sprinkle your petals each day, my pansy of Japan. Thoughts of my love will keep winter away, Japansy of Japan.”

“Japansy Waltz Song”, with words by Alfred Bryan and music by John Klenner, was published after World War I and before World War II. Though it would take a music historian to infer exactly how this piece of music might have reflected the sentiments of the U.S. population in the 1920’s, there’s no doubt that relations with Japan were on the public’s mind at the time: When this song was published in 1927, our relationship with Japan had been becoming increasingly poor. Though once our allies during World War I, Japanese U.S. tensions were on the rise due to Japan’s economic distress and worsening U.S. attitudes towards Japan. The Exclusion Act was, only three years prior to the publication of “Japansy”, passed by Congress and prohibited further immigration from Japan. While our feelings toward Japan remained complicated, ranging from anti-war to discriminatory, Ukulele music from Hawaii was increasingly appearing in U.S. pop-culture. Its sounds had been trickling into the songs of Tin Pan Alley writers since the initial popularizing of the ukulele during the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915.  Also to note during this period of Hawaiian musical influence, a large percentage of Japanese constituted the population of Hawaii at the time (43%). With the encounters (both positive and negative) that were taking place between the U.S. and the Pacific since the turn of the 19th century, it is apparent that culture was being traded between populations in the form of music. This little love song is a representation of that.

Our Ukulele lessons in Philly– Until more history is uncovered, we’ll be excited enough to have this ukulele piece in our archives. As we offer lessons to both kids and adults, our teachers will be able to reference and play ukulele pieces dating from a time when ukulele was first making its impressions on American culture. Short and sweet enough to be played by kids, this is a great beginner piece. We hope all of our ukulele students will enjoy deciphering this bit with our teachers.

ukulele sheet music - lesson materials

Barbara – Vintage Sheet Music for Ukulele | Philly Music Lessons

Included in the edition was another Ukulele piece called “Barbara”.  We’re posting a snippet of both songs here for you. Love the history of music?  Check out more about the history of the ukulele here. The ukulele is a Hawaiian instrument derived from a Portuguese instrument called the machete. With a smaller neck and soft strings compared to the guitar, the ukulele is a great and manageable way to introduce fret fundamentals to very young children interested in learning guitar.





1920's ukulele sheet music

Vintage Sheet Music – Japansy Waltz Song for Ukulele | Philly Music Lessons


Philadelphia – Baby Activities in Fishtown

mommy-and-me music classes toddlers and babies

Baby music classes for Philly families

Baby Summer Activities in Fishtown – Hello! Getting ready to spread the word around Philadelphia.  Here is our latest (and first) physical announcement for our summer mommy-and-me baby classes (open to babies, toddlers, and kids up to 5 years old) Take a break from the sun (or the house) and join us for some music right here in Fishtown.

My husband and I have lived and taught lessons in the Fishtown neighborhood for a while now. We couldn’t be happier to have a new space where we can host more than just private lessons.  With such a music-oriented neighborhood (and city at large), we wanted to contribute to our neighborhood’s growing number of kids activities.  My background working with children and our long-time dedication to music lead us to the creation of these classes. We hope to to continue to grow our offerings and to enrich our neighborhood with more music-oriented gatherings.

Very accessible from Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, and other neighborhoods in Philly, we welcome folks throughout the city : Old City, Society Hill, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Fairmount, Rittenhouse, West Philly, and surrounding areas. Philly Music Lessons is located at 2111 E Susquehanna Ave. Classes will be a year round occurrence, so keep an eye out for the Fall schedule!

Basic class info:

Beginning July 7th on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 and 10am (babies and toddlers, welcoming ages up to 4 years), our classes are full of sing-alongs, dance, and the meeting of friends.

11am Tuesdays kids classes (4-5 years) include instrument exploration, song and music activities.

Every Monday and Tuesday through August.

Contact us to sign up or look for drop-in times on our calendar.  See teacher bio: Claire Abribat


Flute Lessons in Philadelpiha

Meet our new Philly Music Lessons Flute Teacher – Johnathan received his masters in Flute Performance from Temple University.  We are proud to have him on board teaching flute lessons to kids and adults in Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Society Hill, Old City, Rittenhouse, Fairmount, West Philly and the Main Line. Johnathan teaches lessons out of our studio in Fishtown, and travels to teach in-home lessons in Philadelphia and on the Main Line. Read his bio below!

flute teachers philadelphia

Johnathan Bernhardt teaches flute lessons to families in Philadelphia and the Main Line

I teach flute. I hold a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from Temple University where I studied with David Cramer of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I am also a young artist for the Wm. S. Haynes Flute Company of Boston. I have experience teaching any level from beginner to advanced students. My teaching style focuses on positively developing strong fundamentals such as tone, technique, rhythm, intonation, and musicality, in a way that can help a student identify problems on their own, and be able to teach themselves effectively between lessons. My greatest aspiration is to instill a love of music into my students, so that music making is fun and exciting, rather than a chore.

Visit our Teachers Page to view more instructors, with specialties in Violin, Cello, Piano, Drums, Guitar, Clarinet, Ukulele, Banjo, Saxophone, Upright (Double) Bass, Bass Guitar, Voice, and more.