Archive | November, 2014

Rittenhouse Square Music Recitals

recitals, musical performances, philadelphia, students, teachers, lessons

The Church of the Holy Trinity – Student Recitals

Philly Music Lessons | Student Recital, Rittenhouse Square

Come support local educators and join families, students, teachers, and those from the community at the Church of the Holy Trinity for another Philly Music Lessons recital. This year, with even more students in the lineup, you’ll be in for a treat as beginner to advanced students perform their best.

On December 6th at 3pm, stop by to hear cello, violin, piano, voice, drum, and guitar students perform in a gorgeous 19th century church on Rittenhouse Square. Tickets are $5 at the door for non-performers. Families and friends of students, and anyone living in the greater Philly community are welcome to join us!

Hope to see you there!

Here is a piece about the last season’s recital:

This past Spring, we held our recital once again at the Church of the Holy Trinity off Rittenhouse Square. We had fallen in love with the space and its acoustics during our winter show, and so we jumped on the opportunity to perform here again. The sanctuary of the church is full of natural reverb and boasts historic and architectural beauty to complement its top-notch acoustics. The church also sits center to many of the areas where we teach lessons, making for a fun day trip for the Main Liners, and a short rendezvous for the local Philly folks. Its not often students get to perform in such impressive spaces, and so we hope to bring everyone back again next recital!

Since the debut of our student recitals in the Fall of 2013, Philly Music Lessons has been hiring teachers to offer a broader selection of instruments. While we can’t wait to showcase our new violin, cello, and flute students this Fall, we were proud to have some electric bass this time around! And so that’s exactly how we kicked off the Spring show:

Jeremy Watts and Brandon Watts had been taking lessons with our own Donnie Felton for just a few months.  Traveling to our Fishtown studio week after week, the Watts brothers had been exploring R&B, combining a natural ear for music with their new-found technical comprehension of note reading and chord changes. The young duo (accompanied by their teacher on drums) killed a rendition of “Red Baron”, by Billy Cobham. If you aren’t familiar, “Red Baron” is a jazz-fusion tune from 1973. Its a song that requires a lot feel n grooviness, which Jeremy and Brandon surely brought to the table. As the brothers played together on electric bass and piano, improvisation on the keys was a highlight, in addition to the strong sense of rhythm provided by the bass. There’s nothing like opening a performance with this old-school tune and a family band!

This was just the beginning of a very cool set-list made up of original compositions, classical piano works, familiar modern pieces, some jazz/blues improv’ from an advanced jazz guitar student, and more. Someone even mastered a classical piano rendition of the theme song from the old nintendo game, Zelda (my personal fav)!

This Fall, we’re looking forward to having another great mix of instruments and an equal the variety of musical disciplines from our students. See you at the next recital!


December Music Classes

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Moms, Dads, Toddlers, Babies, Kids and Caregivers

Sign up for December Music Classes!

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This Week, Music Begins.

SIGN UP! Reserve your weekday spots in December:

Looking for winter morning outings? Take shelter with us this coming month! Classes continue with another session of songs, play, and exploration on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am. Sign your child up for the month of Dec. for $30 ($5/class for additional children in the family – no classes the last week). Priority will go to those already signed up, so please let me know if you’d like to continue & keep your spot! Also, please indicate if you have interest in Thursday classes, in the event that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are full.

Makeups and Scheduled Saturdays:

As always, if you miss any classes, you can make them up during scheduled Saturdays or other class times. Saturday classes this month will be held on December 6th and December 20th at 10am. Please email if you plan to attend!


All DROP-INS, email if you are interested in stopping by on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays (sometimes classes become full). Drop-in rate is $15/class. First time with us is FREE! Alumni (those who have been signed up for a month) or current sign ups can drop in to Saturdays for $10.

Saturday packages:

Those who are interested in attending regularly on Saturdays can get the discounted sign-up rate by signing up for Saturday packages ($10/class). Starting at 4 classes, packages allow you to drop-in to any of our scheduled Saturdays with a priority spot.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week.


Claire “Coco”
Philly Music Lessons
Philly Music Babies





Consider the gift of music! Purchase a gift certificate for a package of baby & kids music classes!

We also have private lessons available in our studio, located on the corner of Martha and Susquehanna Ave, for both children and adults.Gift certificates are also available for lessons with one of our teachers.

Guitar, Electric Bass, Drums, Violin, Cello, Voice, Piano, Banjo, Ukulele, Upright Bass, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, and trumpet lessons are available in our studio, or in your own home. Check out our teachers and rates!

Copyright © 2014 Philly Music Lessons, All rights reserved.

Philly Music Lessons | Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Bringing our Teachers to the Main Line This Winter.

Set up an In-Home Lesson on the Main Line Now! 

As the holidays unfold, so does the cold! But don’t fret, because our teachers have always traveled outside of our Philly studio to teach lessons in homes all across the Main Line suburbs – We’ll keep you cozy where you are!

music lessons, holiday gift ideas

gift certificates available for in-home music lessons

Call Joseph Primavera to set up your Half-Priced Trial Lesson with one of our teachers and they’ll come to you: (610)451-7883

We’ve always had a portion of our teachers who travel throughout the Main Line to offer their instruction to families in Bala Cynwood, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Narberth, Villanova, and Wynnewood. While coming to our Fishtown studio offers a unique experience for students, there’s nothing like taking lessons in the comfort of your own home. There’s something about the casual nature of the in-home lesson and the ease of staying in that sounds really good around this chilly time of year.


piano lessons for kids

Music Lessons in Your Home! On the Main Line.

Another fun perk of in-home lessons? Many of our students have family members that, after having eavesdropped on some lessons, have decided to make learning music a family affair! Students sometimes take lessons together (siblings, parent-child, or couples), while others have separate lessons with independent focuses (thanks to our versatile teachers, many of whom teach more than one instrument).

 Your first half-priced trial lesson may turn into a gift idea! Because, yes, we do music gift packages! New and seasoned students of guitar, piano, upright and electric bass, drums, voice, violin, cello, banjo, ukulele, and more can be surprised with a bunch of lessons to keep them occupied throughout the winter months. Kids, spouses, nieces and nephews will come out in this Springtime ready to impress with their newly acquired skills, mastered over break and during all that February snow. It could also be the perfect complement to other music-oriented gifts.

banjo teachers, upright bass teachers, electric guitar teachers, cello teachers Philadelphia

Teachers for guitar, bass, drums, violin, ukulele, cello, voice, clarinet, trumpet, sax, piano, banjo, and more.

Baby & Tots Class Nov 22.

music classes for babies and kids

Toddler Music Classes in Fishtown. This Saturday at 10am -Nov. 22nd

Saturday Music!

This weekend 11/22 at 10am

Music class on Saturday at 10am! Please email me if you’d like to attend (some of you already have -Thanks!). This is an opportunity for those who need to make up some classes, alumni who’d like to drop in and say hello, and Saturday regulars who have signed up. First-timers are also welcome to come try out a class for FREE! Great for babies, toddlers, and kids 0-3 (though we welcome all youngsters and their families).

Come start your day with some songs!:

  • $10 for alumni (who have been signed up in the past, or are currently signed up)
  • $15 Drop-ins
  • First-timers FREE!

Hope to see you this weekend! If you can’t make this Saturday, we’ll soon be announcing December Saturdays and weekday classes.

An update on weekday classes for DROP-INS: Classes are now FULL for November! The remaining drop-in spots are currently reserved for those who are signed up and need to make up missed classes. If you’d like to attend class, consider signing up for weekdays in December, or dropping in on Saturday classes!

Stay warm out there!

Claire “Coco”

New Guitar Teacher: Phil Smith | Philly Music Lessons

Philly Classical Guitar Teacher: Phil Smith

Classical Guitar Teacher: Phil Smith

Philly Music Lessons Additions | Classical Guitar Teachers – Please welcome our new and incredibly versatile guitar, bass, ukulele and banjo teacher, Phil Smith. Phil is a music producer, composer, guitarist, and teacher with a rich background in many different musical styles. He has a B.M. in Classical Guitar from the Oberlin Conservatory, and has extensive performance experience in Rock, R&B, Pop, Gospel, Latin, and World Music. As a producer he has recorded and written with many of Philadelphia’s finest musicians and artists. Phil says the following about his passion for music and teaching:

“My head is constantly filled with music, and my days are usually spent making that inner music come to life. It’s a joy to guide others into their own discovery of music, and it’s my duty as a teacher to equip students with skills (both technical and theoretical) that make playing music joyful and effortless.”

Continue reading for a full interview with Phil, where he explains his musical history, how it applies to his teaching style and his personal growth as a producer, composer and performer:

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:
I started playing guitar at age 9. I had recently quit violin, which had temporarily ruined the joy of music for me. But luckily when I was young I became obsessed with my mom’s record collection. I had been listening to a lot of Beatles, Eric Clapton, and Fleetwood Mack, and then one day we saw a guitar at an auction and I coerced my parents into getting it for me. The rest is history!
What are your personal goals as a musician?:

My personal goal is simply to make excellent music and get better and better. That can mean making more moving and convincing records, writing better songs, playing guitar with more ease and expressiveness, or helping other people do those same things. Cross-pollination is also important to me. I want to bring the same sensibilities and skills that I use when playing Bach to the world of pop music, and when playing classical music I want it to groove like my favorite rock records. And I definitely want to leave my mark on the world by making amazing records and putting on great shows!

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?
I have many….but I’ll name one. My best friend in college was an outstanding jazz pianist. We used to jam together constantly, and I was often a little timid because I had nowhere near the level of harmonic knowledge that he had. But through our playing together he taught me the art of being a “baller,” meaning, playing whatever came to me with complete confidence, effectively blasting through layers upon layers of self-consciousness. Being completely okay with playing wrong notes and sounding “bad” is the quickest way to liberate your inner voice as a musician. Just learning how to get into a creative flow can speed up the development process exponentially. If you can tolerate a year or two of sounding so-so but being fearless about it, before long you will sound fluid and creative and great!
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
Just after college I took some lessons with a world renowned Polish guitar player named Lukasz Kuropaczewski. He taught me EXACTLY how to practice in order to MASTER pieces. It’s a really simple process….Just go very very slowly, work on every single measure of music many times, eventually tying everything together, and make sure that the hands and body are ALWAYS relaxed, secure, and comfortable. It’s time consuming, but suddenly very hard pieces of music can become really easy to play. The key also is to only repeat good habits….If a passage of music or an exercise is too difficult, you need to slow down or break it down into smaller chunks until it is easy to execute….only then should you start repeating, and never speed up until it is easy to do so.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:

Studying classical guitar at the college level was very hard, and there were many times that I wanted to quit. I would often procrastinate or not practice enough and feel like I wasn’t making any progress. But i stuck with it! These things take time.

What is your biggest musical achievement?:

It’s hard to say and depends on the era. In high school I got an amazing opportunity to go on tour in the west coast and to Germany with members of Frank Zappa’s band. I was OBSESSED with Frank Zappa in high school, and that was pivotal for me and felt like a big achievement at the time.

My senior recital as a classical guitarist was a huge achievement because I proved that I could perform at a really high level, even after having slacked off for a lot of my Senior yearn college.
I’ve been recently making some recordings, both of my music and others’, that I’m very proud of. I feel that I’m starting to come into my own as a producer and mixer. Not a lot has been released yet though. By biggest achievements are yet to come!

Favorite thing about teaching?:
I really like the feeling of progress. When a student is on a roll, and they’re practicing, and i see consistent improvement week to week it excites me. Also, sometimes lessons may be stagnating, and then there’s an “aha” moment, where the student or I discover a new technique or idea that suddenly propels everything forward.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Be Patient, Go SLOWLY, and DON’T QUIT (unless you decide, after long hours of contemplation and many heart to hearts with family and friends, that you simply don’t like music enough to want to learn how to make it.)
Also, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift ARE NOT the paradigm! You don’t have to be a star by the time you’re 16, or 18, or 25, or even 35! In music you can hit your peak at ANY AGE. Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa when he was 65. Remember the tortoise and the hare? etc. etc.  you get the point….

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any):
I’m currently working on numerous projects with Tony Moore, Pablo Batista, George Spanky McCurdy, and Junius Bervine. We are in the midst of opening a new studio. The company is called “The Breed” and we’re about to usher in a new era of live recorded music in Philly!!! (that’s just excitement, not hubris ;))
And I’m always working on my own compositions under the name “Laughing and Screaming” and plan to release some new music soon.

December Classes for Baby – Kids

for moms and baby

Music Classes for Kids in Philly

A Note About Philly Music Lessons Baby and Kids Classes –  current November classes (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am) are FULL! There is one spot left in each class for drop-ins, so please be sure to email if you are interested in coming to class. This is a great time to try out classes (first time FREE!) if you’re thinking about signing up for the month of December.

December sign-ups will occur on a first-come, first-serve basis. If spots fill up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am, you can hop onto our waiting list until we can offer some new times.

Email with interest, or contact us here.

December music classes will incorporate a variety of holiday and winter themes, complete with jingle bells!

New Flute Teacher: Rachel Murray

Flute Teacher, Philadelphia

Rachel Murray: Flute Teacher

We proudly welcome our new flute teacher, Rachel Murray to the Philly Music Lessons staff!

Rachel is a classically trained flautist currently residing in Philadelphia.  From the age of 10, she has devoted much of her time to flute and music.  This love has helped propel her to the front of many music groups throughout her school career and beyond.

As a student of the Principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra and teacher at Curtis and Julliard,  Mr. Jeffrey Khaner, she has worked tirelessly at perfecting her technique and musicality. In addition to her studies with Jeffrey Khaner, she has also studied with David Cramer, the Associate Principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Susan Palma-Nidel, Principal of the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.

Her performance career highlights include traveling to Europe with the Philadelphia Sinfonia’s Eastern European Tour, attending and being chosen to perform at a Julius Baker Masterclass, soloing with the North Penn High School’s orchestra, playing and performing with multiple chamber music groups at Settlement Music School, etc.

You can read a brief interview with Rachel below:

When did you begin playing [instrument], and why?:  I started playing flute in 4th grade.  Since before I can remember, I had always wanted to learn flute.
What are your personal goals as a musician?:  My goal is continue to grow both technically and musically in order to bring music to life.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:  That when you start learning a piece of music, it’s more important to play it accurately than to play it at the correct speed.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
  I think it would have to be learning ‘Hot Cross Buns’ in the first couple weeks of starting flute.  That song made me want to quit!

What is your biggest musical achievement?: 
Getting chosen to play for a Julius Baker Masterclass out of a couple hundred flautists.
Favorite thing about teaching?: My favorite thing about teaching is helping students to find the beauty, joy and fun in learning music and an instrument.  I love being able to teach the same material in a variety of different ways depending on the student I’m working with.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?: Learning music can be extremely challenging.  It’s something you have to work at daily.  So, I think the most important thing is practice!  Practice as much as possible!
Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc. (if any): Currently, I work with a classical guitarist and play at weddings, cocktail parties, museum galas, etc.  I will also be searching for a position with an orchestra in the coming year.

Baby & Kids Music Classes

Fishtown Music classes

Baby and Kids Music Classes in Fishtown!


SATURDAY DATES: Music Classes on November 8th & November 22nd 

The next make-up and drop-in Saturday music classes will be held on November 8th at 10am and November 22nd at 10am. Hope to see some faces both familiar and new! Please let me know if you plan to attend.


  • Drop-ins $15/child
  • Sign-ups $10 (NEW! Sign up for 4 Saturdays)
  • First-timers FREE!

In addition to scheduled Saturdays, there are regular weekday music classes. These classes take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am. Weekday classes are sign-up focused, with a routine that grows with the group week after week.


  • Sign-ups $10/class
  • Drop-ins are welcome at $15

Drop-ins, please be sure to text or send an email if you plan to visit.

Reserve your spot! Classes are kept small (capped between 6 and 8 children with a few spots for drop-ins). Our weekly 45 minutes is sing-along oriented, and introduces babies and toddlers up to 4 years old to music through movement, rhyme, sharing, singing, and playing. Children explore musical instruments, experiment with “performing” (such as during our “5 Little Monkeys” number), and practice basic solfeggi at the piano. Some of our most seasoned students have even started learning notes.

Thanks to everyone who has made this October full of good times! See you next week.

Claire “Coco”
(215)520-1772 (email or text to drop-in to classes)

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Private Music Lessons for Kids

P.S. For sign ups, priority will be given to those who have been attending classes in October. The rest will be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis. Pllease let me know a.s.a.p. if you’d like to keep your spot for November!


Check out more about our classes, visit Philly Music Babies’s website here and visit
You can also check out our video!


Specials and Discounts:
For families currently taking private lessons, for adults or children, your babies toddlers and little kids can DROP IN to classesat $10.

Try classes for FREE if you haven’t yet been to Philly Music Babies.

Hey Alumni! Those of you who have already completed a month’s sign up of classes are welcome to drop in to any Saturday class for$10!

Can only make Saturday music classes? We now have a new option for you to sign up for a “floating” weekend pass. With a minimum of 4 classes, you can attend Saturdays for