Announcing Baby Music Classes for Fishtown – Having just settled into our new space off of Frankford Ave (just north of Northern Liberties), we are proud to announce our new baby-mommy music class! We love our Fishtown neighborhood, and we love music. We thought it only fitting to offer a class for those too young for private lessons (and not yet old enough for a Johnny Brenda’s show!). Welcoming families and their little ones (babies 0-2 and kids 2-4 years), Philly Music Babies is a place where neighbors and friends can commune and play some music together. Beginning in June, our classes will be held on a regular basis. Lead by one of our teachers, Coco Primavera, who specializes in singing tunes for babies and toddlers, these group explorations will engage youngsters through song and movement. Our 45 minute sessions will appropriately advance according to age throughout the weeks, months, and even years. Children will become familiar with friends and teachers in their community, while learning song, dance, and the fundamentals of music. With bubbles, scarves, instruments and guitar-lead kids’ songs, we look forward to seeing you throughout the summer and next year! Whether you plan to drop in occasionally, or make it part of your weekly routine, our doors will soon be open.
If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.
Introducing music to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It sharpens the senses and relaxes the mind. The benefits of building a strong musical foundation will be revisited throughout life. In a post-war Japan, Shin’ichi Suzuki used music to renew a sense of beauty into people’s lives after the devastation of World War II. The Suzuki method was developed to encourage playing in a natural way, by feeling rather than intellect. He believed that creating the ‘right environment’ would foster excellent character in his students. Song-playing is encouraged rather than technical exercises, with a heavy emphasis placed on learning by ear.
Each student contains unique pathways to learning. If the initial learning experience is approached with intuition, curiosity, and trust, the student will have more fun and will be drawn to the instrument more naturally. A student must first reach an appropriate level of maturity to play in order to retain focus, with a genuine interest in exploring sounds. The act of play should be free and easy, where the posture is supported yet relaxed. Eventually, a communication emerges between student and instrument. Effective lessons should instill confidence in the student and be part of a fun, rewarding experience.
As a teacher at Philly Music Lessons, I’ve found that young beginners learn most effectively when they are introduced to brief recognizable melodies. Using short repetitive phrases, their ears begin to pick up on tonal patterns while the movements of their fingers become absorbed in muscle memory. It’s amazing to see the light bulbs go off when a student learns how to play one of their favorite songs.
Intuitive playing emphasizes process over repertoire driven results. Students should enjoy their lessons, while the teacher should make sure students develop a solid feel for rhythm, melody and harmony. Learning in the spirit of lighthearted exploration is the surest way to achieve success at the piano and begin a lifetime appreciation for music.
A Philly Music Lessons Recital Review
So it came again, the time of year for a Philly Music Lessons recital. Last year, we were pleased to present, to our students and community, the very first Philly Music Lessons recital. The performance took place at the Ukranian League, situated in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. Rookies from all across Philadelphia and the surrounding areas tested their live chops on guitar, piano, vocals, and drums for the very first time that night.
This year, with even more bourgeoning musicians in the lineup, we were able to showcase our students’ talents, backed by the impeccable acoustics of the Church of the Holy Trinity just off of Rittenhouse Square. The ornate dome of the church, which arched high above the grand piano and musicians, opened up into a wide vault. Here, in the sanctuary of the church, parents and friends watched eclectic performances: Blue Monk arrangements on piano, an epic jazz guitar improvisation (one of the many teacher-student duets), and a crooning electric guitar solo that reverberated Metallica into the vaults.
First up to perform was Ian McGrath. He had a great sense for the tune, and was able to interpret on the spot like a true jazz pianist. Bravo, Ian! It’s not every day that young students decide they want to take on the challenge of learning jazz improvisation! What better city to explore this musical genre than in Philadelphia.
Next to stage was Addie Dash. Addie is a relatively new student with Philly Music Lessons, yet she wowed the audience with her delicate and soulful, finger-plucked rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas”. While her guitar instructor strummed along, Addie confidently navigated the frets and strings while she played the melody beautifully. Not bad for a 6 year old!
Following Addie was her sister, Hayden Dash. She offered an energetic piano performance of Do-Re-Mi, from the Sound of Music. Hayden kept great rhythm in both hands, hitting chords in her left, and playing the classic melody in her right.
Philip Dilgard Clark returned again this year to show us his continuing progress. Philip began guitar with us when he was just 4 years old, and has already started to cultivate some serious guitar skills! He confidently strummed the chords of “Sweet Caroline”, by Neil Diamond, and rocked out into a fun, finger-plucked melody of “Old McDonald”. We loved this song pair and Philip’s emerging style.
Noah Williams changed the tone, and sat cooly in his chair to transport us all into the heavy metal era of the 90s. The combination of the pristine acoustics with the grunge electric guitar sound was, well, awesome! Noah’s choice to cover Metallica was a welcomed modern performance.
Laura Zahn has a degree in Music from Indiana University, and has been teaching consistently in the Greater Philadelphia and Lower Merion areas since graduating in 2010. You can read her Bio below:
I teach Voice and Violin and
Tablature is a system of reading guitar music which is based on fret numbers as opposed to symbols on a staff. As guitarists we have two options when it comes to reading music. One is standard notation, which is essential for translating music to anyone who’s not a guitar or bass player, and the other is tablature. There are many people who will disagree with me on this, but I feel that learning how to read tablature and rhythms is enough to get by for the casual guitarist. However, if you want to begin to learn music theory, get into the realms of jazz or classical music or pursue music as a career, then it is essential that you learn how to read standard notation.
Introducing standard notation too early on can be a little boring for guitarists excited to start playing the music that they love, so I almost always start with teaching tablature (unless the music that they love happens to be jazz or classical). Once you’re able to read tablature there are endless resources available to you on the internet and in transcription books to keep you busy for a long, long time. The good news is that tablature is an incredibly simple system for translating guitar music. Once you get the basics of reading tabs, you should find a teacher or a book that explains reading rhythms. This is really important in comprehending more complex solo passages or strumming patterns, and is often overlooked by guitarists.
This is what a line of blank tablature looks like:
Here’s a little montage from our Fall 2012 Recital. Thanks to everyone who came out for making it such a great success!
Performances in order of appearance:
Philip Dilgard-Clark – “Smoke on the Water”
Ian McGrath – “Let It Be”
Julia Dickman – “Firework”
Philip Johnson – “Dust in the Wind”
Aliyah, Debbie and Teyah – “Be Alright” and “Rolling in the Deep”
We are happy to report that Philly Music Lessons now has a near new Pearl River upright piano, available to all students taking lessons at our studio in Fishtown. There is just no substitute for learning the touch and feel of a real piano. Students who practice on keyboards at home will now have the benefit of being able to experience the acoustic instrument during their weekly lessons.
Philly Music Lessons in conjunction with the Bache-Martin Elementary School’s Saturday Programs in Fairmount, is now offering group music classes, Rock Band and Group Guitar (Ages 8+), starting Saturday, September 15th, 2012. Registration for the 8-week session is $200. Classes will be limited to 5-6 students in each program and both classes will end with a recital that is open to all families and friends. The Bache-Martin Elementary school is located at 22nd and Brown Streets, Philadelphia PA 19130.
Open to Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums and Vocals, Rock Band is designed to give students who already know the basics of their instrument (1+ years of experience) a chance to play and perform with fellow musicians while learning new music and increasing their musical knowledge in the process. Repertoire will be decided in the first couple classes based on the interests of the students and is not strictly limited to rock music.
The Guitar Class is for guitarists who are just starting out (up to 1 year of experience). The goal is to learn the basics and further their understanding of the instrument among peers in a group setting. Throughout the 8 week program students will learn how to read guitar music, explore some beginning guitar repertoire and practice playing together as a group.
Joe from Philly Music Lessons here. Just wanted to give you all some updates on our teaching staff and let you know about some current promotions that we’re running.
The ever growing Philly Music Lessons family now has four teachers covering guitar, bass, piano and drums. Our two newest additions are piano teacher Kira Abribat and guitar teacher Vince Guglielmello. You can see all of our teachers bio’s and pictures under the TEACHERS tab on the website. As always, we provide private lessons to all ages and skill levels, in the comfort of your own home, or at our studio in Fishtown, Philadelphia.
You may also be interested to know how you can get some free lessons. Well, it’s easy. Simply refer someone to us, and your next lesson is free if they end up taking with us for a month. Just spread the news to friends and family and start racking up some free lessons today! We are also offering a half-priced trial lesson to anyone who has never taken with us, so no one pays full price until they know they’ve found the right teacher.
Welcome to our brand-new website, which features a whole new look and feel, an iPhone/Android optimized layout and more.