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Philly Music Lessons offers a wide variety of music instruction to all ages and experience levels. Specializing in guitar lessons, drum and bass lessons, and piano lessons Philly Music Lessons is your source for experienced and effective music education. Our instructors have experience teaching students of all experience levels from beginner through advanced. We are happy to work around your schedule and offer both in-home and in-studio music lessons. For more information please do not hesitate to call us or submit your questions using the contact form.

Why Learning Piano Can Help You Advance as a Guitarist

7442374So you’ve been playing guitar for a couple years now, and you’ve got all the basic techniques down.  Bar chords are no problem, you can solo with the major and minor pentatonic and blues scales, and maybe you’ve even gotten into learning some 7th chords or rootless voicings.  Now the question becomes: do you know what you’re playing and why you’re playing it?  This is where music theory comes into the equation.  If you want to better understand chord makeups, chord progressions, and what scales and melodies can work over them, then you have to start to understand at least the basics of music theory.  Applying what you learn from theory can open up new worlds of possibility in your playing and composing, and can really help spur on some periods of creativity and inventiveness.  However, tackling these concepts immediately on the guitar can prove a daunting task because of how string instruments are constructed, so I recommend learning some basic piano.

But I’m a guitar player you say!  Why should I learn piano?  Well, piano really is the ultimate theory and composition instrument because of how logically it’s laid out for you.  (Disclaimer: If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to want to learn how to read notes on the guitar so that translating what you learn on the piano to the guitar won’t be so difficult.  I personally recommend starting with Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method: Grade 1, and then moving onto Berklee Press: A Modern Method for Guitar, Volume 1.) Even getting through just the first half of one of these books with a good teacher should at least give you the foundation to figure out how to translate notes from the piano to the guitar.  For example, you might see something as follows when you first begin learning theory, and if you don’t know the notes on the treble clef it’s almost impossible to understand.  It explains the order of half steps and whole steps which constitutes the major scale in any key.



Continue reading to find out why the piano is such a great tool for learning music theory

The Beginner Guitarist

There are a lot of different reasons people decide to play an instrument.  As a child it’s usually because someone you look up to in your life plays music, your parents decide they want you to learn music, or maybe you just heard something that caught your interest, and you want to try to emulate it.  In my case it was all of the above.

Adults, however, end up picking up an instrument usually after years of regretting not learning one as a child, or simply because they’ve enjoyed listening to music for so long they want to take a crack at it themselves.  Regardless of why you may have decided to start playing music, the next step is deciding what instrument to play.  Guitar being one of the most popular instruments in contemporary music is the first choice for many.  The sounds of acoustic and electric guitar are everywhere: radio, TV, internet; and a lot of people start playing music because they’ve specifically fallen in love with the guitar.  The truth is that it’s one of the most versatile instruments out there, and can be heard in virtually every genre of music.

Because guitar is such a pervasive instrument, it can also seem like a lot to take on.  Should I start with acoustic or electric?  What should I start learning first?  Should I take lessons?  And on and on and on…  In the following articles we’re going to help answer some of these beginning questions and hopefully get you started on a path towards enjoying the guitar to the fullest.  Like learning anything that requires technical ability, you want to make sure you cover the basics before trying to move onto playing Hendrix or Segovia.  Trying to learn difficult pieces right off the bat can be demoralizing, so you’ll want to start simple and work up to playing the harder stuff.  No matter if you think you’re a natural or not, the guitar will reveal itself to you with patience, practice and perseverance.

Continue reading for more basic techniques and concepts to get you on the right track from the start

In-Home Music Lesson in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

In-Home Music Lessons in Cherry Hill and Pennsauken, New Jersey

We not only offer private, in-home music lessons to the Greater Philadelphia area, including Lower Merion and all along the main line, but we’re also happy to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge into the Pennsauken and Cherry Hill areas of New Jersey.  We service Pennshauken, Stockton Township, Merchantville, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Erlton-Ellisburg and all along Kaighns Avenue and Marlton Pike.

When I first came back to Philadelphia after graduating from Temple University, some of my first guitar students were from Carusi Middle School and Cherry Hill High School West.  I still spend every Wednesday doing home-visits in the Cherry Hill area to students interested in everything from Jazz to Rock and Heavy Metal.  The other Philly Music Lessons teachers are also available for in-home piano, bass and drum lessons almost every day of the week.  The drive from Fishtown, Philadelphia to Cherry Hill doesn’t take very long at all, and in the springtime you get to enjoy all the wildflowers along Route 70, near the Cherry Hill Mall.

My drive usually takes me over the Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross Bridge.  I start out on Marlton Pike and pass the Garden State Pavillions Shopping Center, visiting houses in Ellisburg and Barclay-Kingston.  When I get to Route 295 I head north, to my students near Chapel Ave, Church Road and the Hillview Shopping Center.  I end my loop near Pennshauken and then head back to Philadelphia from there.

I’ve had some of my students in Cherry Hill for over three years now, and it has been a pleasure getting know them, and seeing them grow up over the past couple years.  There is a special bond that occurs between music teachers and their students, which continues to strengthen as the years go on.  Music is not only fun and intellectually stimulating, but can also serve to bring people together.  Having your kids take music lessons can enrich their lives in so many ways, and that is the main reason I began teaching music in the first place.

Private In-Home Lessons in Lower Merion: Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Rosemont

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At Philly Music Lessons we believe that in-home lessons are vital to parents who want to give their children the gift of music, but have very busy schedules.  You can’t beat the convenience of having one of our professional and dedicated teachers come directly to you.  All you need is an instrument, and the instructor will provide everything else necessary for the lesson.  We’ve been teaching guitar, piano, drum and bass lessons in the Greater Philadelphia area for over 5 years, and getting to know the students and parents in each town has been a pleasure for all of our teachers.  In-home lessons seem to create a bond between student and teacher that doesn’t exist in the more sterile atmosphere of a music school.  Over the years we’ve had teachers who have been invited to their student’s birthday parties, graduations and bat mitzvah’s.

I have personally been teaching in Lower Merion, right outside of Philadelphia, since Philly Music Lessons began.  Some of my first guitar and piano students were in the Rosemont, Haverford and Bryn Mawr areas.  Many of them attend some of the local elementary and high schools such as Harriton High School, The Haverford School, Haverford High School, Coopertown Elementary and The Shipley School.  Our convenient and affordable in-home lessons have enabled countless kids in the area to learn music in the comfort of their own homes!

Montgomery and Delaware counties also offer a whole host of colleges and universities, just a couple miles from the West Philadelphia border, including Haverford College, Bryn Mawr University, and Rosemont College.  A lot of college students think that it might be too late to start playing an instrument, but we have a lot of dedicated, beginning college students, who have shown a great deal of promise.  Also, if you are already intermediate to advanced and trying to continue your musical studies throughout college, we have teachers who have been playing professionally for years who can help you get to the next level.

In-Home Music Lessons in Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore

In-Home Music Lessons in Ardmore, Narberth and Bala Cynwyd

Philly Music Lessons is happy to offer private, in-home guitar, piano, bass and drum lessons to areas all along the main line in Delaware and Montgomery counties. Our professional and dedicated teaching staff can come to you, so you don’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule. Our in-home rates are not much more than our studio rates, and the convenience of having a teacher come to your home can make all the difference in you or your child sticking with a weekly lesson schedule.

Most of our teachers spend at least one day out near City Ave and Lancaster Ave, and it has been a pleasure for all of us to get to know the students and parents in the surrounding areas of Philadelphia. It is important for Philly Music Lessons to bring our passion for music to students from all walks of life.   You’d also be surprised at how often the parents of our students sit in on lessons, see the benefits of music firsthand, and actually end up taking lessons themselves!

I have been doing home visits throughout Lower Merion to the Bala Cynwyd, Narberth and Ardmore areas for over 3 years now. Two days a week I cross City Avenue near St. Joseph’s University in West Philadelphia and teach guitar and piano lessons to students in the area. It’s always nice to take a drive and get out of the city for a while. The site of the old Barne’s Foundation, the Merion Botanical Park and Belmont Park are all welcome sights along the drive. As I leave Bala Cynwyd and Narberth via Montgomery Avenue, I pass Lower Merion High School, where some of my students in the area attend, and eventually end up in downtown Ardmore where I can stop for a bite to eat.

Ardmore is a little gem of a town right outside of the city limits of Philadelphia. I’ve become familiar with it over the past couple years because I’ve worked out the Milkboy recording studios quite a few times. Aside from teaching private music lessons, I am also a recording engineer. I teach regular workshops and recording classes at the Hill School in Pottstown and have helped them build up a state of the art recording facility. Before the studio was built up, we used to record the choir in Ardmore, so the students could get a feel for what it’s like to be in a professional studio and so they could have an album at the end of the year to give to family and friends. We also have a fully equipped recording facility at our studio in the Fishtown and Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia.   We believe that recording can be an incredibly useful tool in furthering one’s musical understanding.

We offer In-Home lessons in West Philadelphia

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More than anything, West Philly is known for it’s top notch universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and St. Joseph’s University.  It’s very common for students who didn’t pick up an instrument in elementary or high school, to want to start learning in college.  A lot of students might have the desire to start learning a new instrument, but may have some reservations because of their age.  Many adults think that it’s too late for them to start, or the best time for learning has passed.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  College level students tend to have great practice methods and a lot of experience in other areas that can be applied to learning a new instrument.  I would encourage any adult who hasn’t already to at least try taking private music lessons.  They can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

I always enjoy visiting my friends in West Philadelphia, because there is not only a strong academic community, but also a very strong sense of overall community.  My band practices regularly right near the newly thriving Baltimore Avenue commercial district.  From the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania to Clark Park and Penn Park, all the way up to the Philadelphia Zoo, it always feels like West Philly.  The large houses with bay windows and the tree lined streets create a city all its own.  As in the Art Museum area, and Center City, Philly Music Lessons is happy to offer quality in-home music lessons to the neighborhoods and universities of West Philadelphia.

 

 

Music Lessons for Kids in the Art Museum Area

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Due to the recent influx of new families to the Fairmount and Art Museum area’s of Philadelphia, we’ve been doing a lot of home-visits there lately.  We have students as young as 3, taking lessons on guitar, drums, piano and even ukelele.  Parents are always encouraged to join in on the fun!  For students this young it is very important for the parents to be supportive, and learn along with the child to help reinforce early concepts during the periods between lessons.

As a former resident of the Art Museum area, it’s always a pleasure to revisit during the work week.  From Center City, I usually get there by driving down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, past the Rodin Museum, the new Barne’s Foundation and the Free Library of Philadelphia; one of the most memorable drives in all of  Greater Philadelphia.  Our student’s locations range from right near Fairmount Park to around Girard College all the way down to Spring Garden Street and the Philadelphia Community College.  During a break in the day, the variety of restaurants and cafe’s around the old Eastern State Penitentiary keep me busy before my next group of lessons.

Although our Fishtown studio is close enough for parents to get there in a flash, they usually choose In-Home lessons in the Art Museum area.  The option for a teacher to come directly to you is invaluable for parents balancing a family and work duties.  During the warmer months when the kids start to get a little antsy to play outside, the Art Museum area also offers a good number of parks where guitar lessons can take place, including Matthias Baldwin Park and Clemente Playground.

Music Lessons in Fishtown and Northern Liberties

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Our studio is located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, just northeast of Northern Liberties and South Kensington, and only a stones throw away from Center City and the Art Museum area.  We’re only a block from the Front and Berks El stop, right near Palmer Park.  I’ve lived in Fishtown for over 3 years now, and it is amazing to see how much development is happening along Frankford Avenue and Girard Avenue.

Just a couple blocks toward the Delaware River from the studio is where William Penn signed his famous treaty with the Native Americans at Penn Treaty Park.  This has been the site of some amazing daytime music festivals, including the Fishtown Shadfest, as well as a couple photo shoots for some of my various musical projects.  Fishtown has quickly been developing a thriving music scene, with a growing number of venues for not only indie bands, but some more well established acts, as well.

We have a couple teachers who do In-Home lessons for Piano and Drums in the Northern Liberties area, as well.  Located just south along the Delaware River from Fishtown, Northern Liberties, over the past decade, has developed into one of Philadelphia’s most thriving restaurant and entertainment districts.  At the heart of the neighborhood is the recently developed Piazza and Liberties Walk along 2nd street, and Liberty Lands Park along 3rd street.  Liberty Lands Park was the site of a fellow musician’s music festival called Realize Philadelphia, amongst other spring and summer activities.

I love going to the Market at the Piazza in the warmer months, where you can pick up anything from amazing custom arts and crafts, to some well curated thrift finds or just a pair of sunglasses.  The free parking just north of the Piazza is also a huge plus.  As more families move into the Northern Liberties and Fishtown area, we are happy to provide quality In-Home music lessons at an affordable price.

In-Home Music Lessons in Center City Philadelphia

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I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Guitar Lessons in Center City, Philadelphia for many years now.  Driving from Fishtown, through Northern Liberties and finally making my way to Old City is always a great drive, and every Wednesday for over a year now I’ve been doing just that, to do home visits for some of our students living in the area.  Between lessons I always enjoy getting a coffee and taking a stroll through Washington Square Park.  The area also reminds me of festivals on Penn’s Landing, where I play guitar at the Art Star Craft Bazaar every spring, as well as the new Race Street pier, which is always good for a sunset walk.

First Fridays in Old City are always bustling with street performers and musicians along 2nd and 3rd street.  A fellow music teacher plays there regularly with his New Orleans jazz combo.  In the later afternoons, as I travel west on Spruce Street, I can’t help but notice the slow change from colonial architecture to the more industrial era style buildings that populate Center City just south of Love Park and City Hall.  I still come down regularly on weekends to see my friends from Temple University perform at the local jazz clubs on Sansom and Walnut Streets.

There’s also a great academic history in Center City; home to University of the Arts, Philadelphia Institute of the Arts, and Curtis among others.  Rittenhouse Square always reflects the city’s dedication to the arts, hosting a plethora of street musicians, students and craftspeople.  Especially in the springtime, I’m sometimes inspired to bring my acoustic guitar and play standards for a couple of hours, soaking in the evening scene.