Musicians Without Arrogance – Do They Exist? ( #repost )

Over two years ago

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david on stageYes…..they do exist. I have indeed crossed paths with brilliant musicians who are LISTENERS, HELPERS and HUMBLE! Granted, they are few and far between, but they are out there. I admit that performing music for an audience can provide approval and praise that often can led to an heightened sense of ego, but pride and confidence should not be confused with arrogance.

One of my passions and missions of David’s Music House is that I stress to our Teachers/Music Mentors to do more than instruct students how to just play an instrument. There is so much more involved in the teaching of how to be a true musician that is often neglected in music education. These days, with so much promotion of learning music and performance through technology, this personal and inspirational mentoring is being lost. Music in its best form, can only be fully learned with face-to-face, personal human interaction.

Our mission at David’s Music House is to Teach, Mentor and Inspire. The first thing you have to do to insure growth in learning is inspire the student to continue learning, beyond the beginning curiosity. They need to come back and WANT to learn. That’s where the FACE-TO-FACE INSPIRATION comes in. Without that, you’re only selling shoes.

The next aspect of learning music is that during the earliest stages of lessons, music students need to learn how to perform in front of others. Unless someone is purely planning to play an instrument in a closet, by themselves, they need to be taught to realize that there are people listening. That’s why DMH teachers have access to our coffee house stage, to bring the student out of the lesson room and play what they just learned.

The next and extremely important part of being a musician is learning HOW TO LISTEN! I can not tell you how many musicians I have known who find it impossible to LISTEN to the other musicians they are performing with. This disability has grown progressively worse as more and more young musicians are migrating to performing in their bedrooms and basements to the YouTube world. The Internet is leading youth to become more siloed and disconnected from inter-personal connection with others. While YouTube and open mic nights are great tools for learning and getting feedback on your performance, they also tend to create a path that is disconnected from playing with other musicians.

David’s Music House Music Mentors teach our students that by listening to what another person is playing along with you, you will be able to do such things as play softer to allow the soloist to be heard above the rest, insure that you are keeping your timing equal to the other performers and most importantly, understanding how BEAUTIFUL the complete collection of performers sounds as each part compliments the whole sound that is heard by everyone! This is a concept that is taught in orchestras and bands because each person’s single part only sounds good when performed with the other parts.

These are the reasons we say “The Lesson Room Is Only The FIRST Step”. It has always been a personal passion of mine to insure that anyone learning music at David’s Music House, is not only instructed, but INSPIRED by their teachers, to be not only great musicians, but HUMBLE LISTENERS.

I personally will insure that all of our teachers work hard to follow these passions and principles and your feedback is very important to me, to insure that our students are the highest priority of everyone at DMH. Send me your comments or any questions you may have to

You can also post your comments directly to this article.

Thank you again for your continued support of David’s Music House.


Music Teacher Spotlight: Jeff Knell

Quite a long while ago

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Jeff Knell is a native of McMurray and has been involved with music since the age of 10. While attending Peters Township High School, he held leadership positions in both the marching and concert bands as first chair trombone player and was selected to participate in County, District and Regional band festivals. To fill an empty seat in a pit orchestra rehearsal, he taught himself to play the bassoon and quickly took to the instrument. This experience fueled the desire to continue learning woodwind instruments in addition to the brass he was already familiar with, and helped him to decide on a future in music.

A graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie with a degree in Music Education, he is an accomplished performer and teacher and is certified to teach general, vocal and instrumental music. While his primary focus in college was bassoon, he performed on saxophone and trombone regularly in the jazz ensemble and played clarinet, flute and oboe at various times in chamber groups and pit orchestras for musicals, becoming versed in classical, orchestral, jazz and contemporary band literature. He played the baritone saxophone in a saxophone quartet, and has also performed vocally in concert choir, chamber choir and an a cappella vocal jazz ensemble. He has spent the past two summers working at a Music and Arts Day Camp at Chatham University and enjoys performing and teaching instrumental music.

Jeff has been a substitute Bethel Park Middle School 6th grade general music teacher from January 2012, composing some wind band music, waiting to plant in the garden, dabbling with electronics and microphones with his personal recordings and teaching himself electric bass in his free time, of which there is very little.

“I’m loving everything I am doing, I just wish I didn’t have to eat or sleep so I could get more done in a timely manner.” says Jeff.

“I am so very proud to have someone of Jeff’s caliber teaching here at David’s Music House. Jeff is not only an extremely knowledgeable teacher, but an absolutely amazing person and all of his students love him, as do all of us at DMH!” – David

We keep bringing in The Best Performers

Quite a long while ago

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Kurt Scobie performed last night, March 23, and literally dumbfounded the audience! I have been a musician for over 40 year now and I am completely lost for words when some performers come to my little venue “dream” that I have created at this period of my life. These “special moments” when someone gives me a lead to check out some independent musicians from all over the country, take me aback as I first am caught up in getting them in, settled, plugged in, work the sound check, set up chairs and video cameras and begin to sweat bullets just getting things just right. Then suddenly, I realize this wonderful musician/singer/songwriter who literally drove hundreds of miles just to play only in one stop in Pittsburgh, David’s Music House! WHAT????

It’s a musician’s dream to hear the BEST performers and to have one-of-a-kind musicians like Kurt Scobie, perform in our “living room cafe” is beyond a musician’s dream!

Marielle Thomas is an absolutely wonderful local area singer/songwriter who happened to come to one of our Open Mic Nights a few months back and I thought she would be a perfect opener for Kurt and she proved me right. Marielle has a velvet voice and writes great songs and is putting her band together as I type this. We’ll have her back with her band in the coming months.

I keep plugging away and trying hard to tell the community of South Hills about how David’s Music House continues to bring these performers who could easily win contests like American Idol and The Voice…right to their own neighborhood. It’s taking a long while to get past the “do you have alcohol” mindset to get people to just realize the music that’s going on here at “da House.

I hope we can continue bringing artists like Kurt and Marielle to our venue…..but we need the support of the community to let these performers know that this area does indeed love music and will support independent music, wherever it appears.

Click on our YouTube button at the top right corner of our webpages to see ALL the amazing performances that have appeared at David’s Music House over the past 15 months, as well as check the calendar page for upcoming performances. If you click right on any performer on the calendar, it will take you to another webpage with some samples and detail about each concert performers as well as some of their videos.

Please continue coming to our concerts and spreading the word about what a gathering place of music David’s Music House is to all of your friends.

We thank you all for your support!


Recent Happenings at ‘da House

Quite a long while ago

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Recent weeks have been very busy at DMH. A NEW music lesson program, back to every Saturday Open Mic Nights, Fall Concert planning, NEW recording artist projects and Special Deals! Whew….hetic, to say the least, but all good.

Our NEW Music Lesson Program has some great news! We have your favorite teachers and have brought 3 new instructors.

William Loughman began in October and for 45 years, has lived music, taught, recorded and collected fine guitars. His guitar solos range from jazz to pop to classical. Bill attended Berklee College of Music and studied with world-renowned artists. Bill also taught classical guitar at “St. Georges English School in Rome, Italy. Bill still has his long time lesson studio in Peters, but has offered to teach DMH students as well. Bill allows us to offer more days of lessons to accommodate our customer needs. Ryan Grisnik is our other excellent guitar instructor.

Kate Steratore began teaching beginning and advanced level piano lessons at DMH in October. Kate has been teaching piano for 30 years. She teaches the classical method and also offers beginning blues and jazz instruction. Kate has studied with Fern Faigen, Natalie Phillips, Ralph Zitterbart and Ron Bickle and has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She was also a Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association winner as well as a Young Artist Concert Society Award recipient. and has chosen to become part of the DMH family as well.

Our newest addition to the DMH instructors is Nicole Gasse who will be teaching vocal lessons. Nicole is a 2003 graduate of Peters Township High School and a 2007 graduate of Mercyhurst College.  She holds a degree in music education and opera performance.  While teaching voice lessons in her private studio, and music at Chartiers-Houston Jr./Sr. High School by day, she continues to pursue a career as a professional opera singer by night. Nicole also is a member of various musical productions in the Pittsburgh area. We are so excited to be able to offer advanced vocal instruction as well as beginning lessons.

DMH is constantly looking for music teachers to bring as many resources as we can to further our mission of providing all the resources you need to learn and become a musician. We bring learning, performance, recording and the arts of promotion and marketing yourself.

Over recent weeks, we have brought Andrew McKnight, Tyler Stacy, Alicia Romano, Brooke Annibale, Heather Kropf, Judith Avers and The Streelights Doo Wop group – quite an array of area musicians as we strive to support the music scene and bring in sensational music performances to the South Hills community in a family friendly venue.

Here are a few moments of some recent performances:

Alicia Romano, Brooke Annibale, Heather Kropf & Judith Avers

Tyler Stacy

Vicky Andreis

After Z Concert – A Story Project

Quite a long while ago

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AFter Z, from Youngstown, OH, performed on the Coffee House Stage last Friday (7/22/11) and gave a quite unique performance. Their music is really more of a story. The founder of the band and creator of the music, Nathan Stauffer, is completing a book that is a part of the whole story of the project that they are a part of. Here is After Z’s explanation of their current project:

“For anyone willing to close their eyes and listen for whispers, to fill up the corners with wonder, to learn to walk through the sky and discover the previously unseen shapes and colors…for anyone willing to believe in bigger things, the story is quite clear: there is another world out there, one that exists outside of the things that we see with our eyes or touch with our hands. Where is it? Well, I suppose it can be found in the notes of your favorite song, or in the colors of your favorite picture, or in the love you feel for your favorite person. If it were a number, it would be larger than infinity…and if it were a letter, it would come after Z.”

Quite a different performance for the coffee house, After Z brought a blend of hi-tech and acoustic sounds and played what could have easily filled a large venue, perfectly into our small, intimate environment. The songs of their current project will blend and interweave into the soon to be released novel that Nathan is just about finished with.

For any DMH fans who could not attend the concert, we will be posting more videos of their performance very soon on our YouTube Channel and After Z will be coming back sometime in the fall. We’ll keep everyone updated as to when the book is completed and how to get it.

After Z has become another DMH friend and we will make sure to keep you all informed on what the band is up to and when you can look forward to them coming back to ‘da House.

Thanks again to all the community who come and support David’s Music House by donating to the cause of bringing in great performances to the South Hills Community.

The 6:32 Band Concert Review

Quite a long while ago

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This weekend’s Friday Night Concert Series presented an evening of gospel music at ‘da House. Opening was Brad Bendis, who regaled the audience with a soulful blend of folk and old gospel tunes. Brad certainly has a way of transferring lyrics of great songs like “The City That Lies Foursquare”.

Next up, The 6:32 Band served up an hour of a sample of what they play during their worship service on Sunday evenings at the Meadowlands United Methodist Church, which is offering a service and gathering for anyone who finds it more convenient to attend a Sunday early evening service and informal gathering of anyone of any religion who just want to share and gather for some wonderful music. The band consists of Vicky Andreis, Bob Giacometti, Rodney Cregut and Jeffery Conn.

This was a wonderful and spiritual evening of music for all and a chance to hear some of what the 6:32 Sunday service is like for anyone who would like to give it a try next Sunday evening. Check and Like their Facebook page out at: 6:32 Contemporary Worship Experience

Also, check our DMH YouTube Channel by clicking on the YouTube icon on our website for all of our performance videos, especially for any artist you have missed.

Thanks again to all for continuing to support David’s Music House by donating during our “Friday Night Concert Series”. Only with your support can we continue to bring Pittsburgh area