SAW would like to thank a very awesome keyboardist and songwriter out of Chicago named Andy Rosenstein for dropping off his donations of a very nice student model Back trumpet and guitar!!!!! We're so excited to have friends like Andy!!! Thank you for your generous donation Andy!!! They will be put to great use!!!


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Thoughts 2/2: Why take private lessons when I can learn online?

Great question!

There's nothing wrong with watching tutorials online.  I mean come on, its free for crying out loud!  There's a lot of professional musicians who also like to learn from our fellow musicians on YouTube.  When it comes to music, there's always something to learn no matter what level you're at.  When you already understand how music works and are proficient at your instrument, learning from someone online is probably a bit easier for you. 

But, there's an advantage to having a one-on-one tutor or teacher.

Getting started.  If you don't know where to start, private or group lessons would be ideal for you.  Your teacher can help you get started.  One of the worst things you could do when learning anything is learn it the wrong way.  Its typically hard to correct it later. 

Critique.  Your teacher is there to help guide you from beginner to expert levels.  There are somethings that a video can't give you which is critique of your own playing.  I've found that for instruments or audio production tools that I taught myself how to use, I have to find a professional (friend) to listen to me or watch me record or mix to get some feedback from them.  Also, when mixing a song, there are 10 different ways to do the same thing.  Why not have someone show you their technique?

Ask Questions.  You can ask specific questions when there is confusion while you're standing next to your instructor.  Of course you can email someone online and wait for an answer, but you'd be waiting.

Referrals.  In a lot of situations, your teacher is probably a working musician.  Sometimes, they won't be able to do a gig based on their schedule or (if we're being real here) maybe they require more money.  If you have a good rapport with your teacher, they will think of you and pass your name along. 

I'm sure there are more reasons to choosing private lessons over taking lessons online.  The thing to remember is that you aren't stuck with either one.  You can take lessons for a while and then you can study online.  You can also just throw yourself in a jam session and learn by making mistakes.... many downsides to that by the way. 

But whatever you choose, PLEASE remember that neither will come over night.  Where online tutorials may get straight to your answer, learning overnight won't happen.  Put the time in and you'll be a thoroughly skilled musician later!




Thoughts 1/2: The Story of Sounds About Write!

Hello!  I'm JoVia, founder of Sounds About Write, a lesson studio for music and audio production. 

My journey to creating SAW started as a Music and Audio Mentor at YOUmedia Chicago.  It is a 5,000 sq.ft. space for high school students located in downtown Chicago.  Students spent hours writing poems, making music, creating graphic designs, taking photos and playing video games.  During Wednesday evenings we held an open mic for the teens.  Students were able to check out laptops and other digital media tools such as cameras, piano keyboards, and video games.  The whole experience was great not just for the students but also for me.  I learned about teens and myself.  As it turns out, a lot of the students were interested in learning how to play instruments and write songs. 

I faced two hurdles.....  one hurdle was managing the impatience of today's teenager.  Learning music isn't something that a person will typically learn overnight.  Years ago, music teachers would hand out a sheet of paper full of scales and you were told to go home and learn your scales.  The following week, you'd be tested on how well you can play them on your instrument.  I can't pick on the teenager that much though because even an adult will struggle to learn a foreign language.  Motivation to learn is a big factor of course.  I've found that if someone is determined to do something, they will do it no matter the challenges they face. 

In the case of the teenager at YOUmedia, they still had to do homework, do chores at home and wanted to hang with friends.  How could I compete!?!?  I mean, learning music wasn't an requirement so I couldn't force them to go home and learn their scales.  So I thought about different ways I could make learning music fun for them in hopes that they would stick with it because they wanted to.  Now, its best I explain the other hurdle.  We had no instruments.

"........Oh lawd, what is we gone do!?!"


Be creative!   We had no guitars, basses, trumpets or drum sets.  We had drum machines, midi keyboards and laptops.  I remember Bro. Mike mentioning a digital symphony that he saw online.  There are some colleges that offer music technology programs where there is an ensemble creating.... mostly ambient sounds together.  But, then I thought about some of my friends back home in Detroit who created music on the fly in front of their audiences.  Both sparked an idea that I could try with my students.  I tried something and it worked.  I gave each student a music tool- a midi keyboard or a drum machine that we had in the space.  I gave them each a role as a musician and we wrote a song together.  I blasted everyone's laptop through the main speakers so that everyone in the room heard it.  They were excited and had learned a lot about music in two hours.  Melody, scales, rhythm, chords, song structure, half-time, and about various countries and the genres they've attributed to the world of music.  And although encouraged, they didn't have to spend countless numbers of hours to study scales.  They were learning a lot and a little at a time.   

Mentoring at YOumedia

I ended up resigning in 2012 from YOUmedia as I found it hard to balance my full-time music career with the demands of YOUmedia and my students.  Not to mention my personal life.  All three began to intermingle.  I found a few teaching jobs that didn't take up my whole day and didn't demand much of my personal time.  I taught at SAE Institute where I was teaching adults.  I got the same results with the adults.  Some of them explained to me that they had struggled trying to teach themselves music theory in the past, but my SAW workshop really helped them understand how scales, chords and rhythm works.  Most of them were interested in creating Hip Hop or dance music.  There were a few on the path to be singer songwriters.   

Now, it seems that a lot of nonprofit organizations are having funding issues.  I love teaching and giving back to the community.  I hope to help those in Chicago who have an interest in music create great music.  I've found that music has brought many people together and is very therapeutic.  I want to bring more music to the world.  In return, maybe it'll bring a little peace of mind.  Does that sound about right?