Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Not For All…

Over a year ago

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david on stageIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s the song title that describes this time of the year for so many of us. There are however many who are effected quite oppositely, with depression and sadness from losing a loved one or perhaps living in poverty and hunger and lack of the basic necessities of life. The holidays and the fact that it’s the end of the year just lends us to feel like everything, good or bad, is much bigger and more significant.

I’ll tell you a little secret….David’s Music House was created to be a safe haven…a fortress of solitude for the soul. We all know that “music soothes the savage beast” and about all of the benefits music brings to the mind and the soul. Well, our Big Living Room was created to provide the community a place to get away from it all. No, we’e not a resort in the Caribbean….but we can provide you with a break from the sometime insane world outside…with some warm beverages and perhaps a satisfying snack or two…all while soaking you in the wonderful world of Music! Music from the sweet voice of a small child singing a Christmas carol in a lesson room to the strum of a guitar or pull of a bow across the strings of a violin. In the distant, you can hear the beginnings of a young learning musician. I often see the face of a young child smiling from ear to ear, just so excited to see their music teacher’s face welcome them with a “So…you ready to rock n roll?”, to which the response is a HUGE “YESSSS” and followed by a run to the lesson room. There is just nothing quite like seeing a young, eager musician who can’t wait to come into David’s Music House and meet with their teacher. We even have a Music Therapy program for anyone dealing with more serious issues of depression and anxiety or diagnosed issues of all ages. Our Music Therapist is licensed and trained to use The Power of Music to help anyone dealing with these more serious issues.

I have found the MOST AMAZING business model EVER….knowing that this “special place” is indeed…changing our world…every single day! While most business ideas are about a business plan, financials, budgeting, cash flow, profit margins…and on and on…. I receive treasures of the heart…in every single note played or sung… from the instruction of a gifted teacher, into a child’s hand and voice, through a glorious music instrument’s vibrations….into the air and out into our world…and finally falling onto the ears and heart and soul of all of us.

That, my friends…is AMAZING STUFF!

I always knew that someday, my yearning to change the world, one person at a time, would take some form and shape. Now, I’m seeing that blossom into reality!

December is about Christmas, helping others, making people smile, giving and receiving, music and laughter….and HOPE and FAITH that this world will spend one time of each year, making this life worth living.

Come, be a part of our journey and help change the world…one note and one person at a time.

All of us at David’s Music House wish each of you the Merriest Christmas and Happiest Holiday Season and hope that we all take the time to do some small acts of kindness during this time of year to spread Peace, Love and Joy.

Peace and Love,

David

Music & Laughter – BEST Stress relievers

Over two years ago

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david on stageStarting your own business takes money, confidence and TIME…and I mean serious amounts of TIME…oh yeah… and for those out there wanting to start a business, this is time WITHOUT being paid! For the first few years, yes, I said years, you will most likely receive no pay! OK… now why do so many do it? For me, it was my chance to be able to use my creativity without being told to stop thinking and go sit down. In addition to this need to use my brain to solve problems and come up with creative solutions, I have had an inner passion to rid my mind of the life long lack of self confidence. I have always had a deep desire to do something to help others but often lacked the confidence to put myself out there to commit myself to that goal. Really age and years of being made to feel as if I couldn’t do anything huge and successful, is what finally gave me the knowledge that not only do I have the ability to do something big, but that I have been doing BIG things for many years. So I finally had the money and the confidence and the willingness to commit the time. There is no way for anyone to understand how much time commitment this really means. It’s more than you can imagine and you WILL become tired and stressed. You will face times when being tired will weaken your focus and drive. This is why it is so important to overestimate the time commitment if you want to start your own business, especially if it’s a new unique idea where you really have no other models to research.

Two things in life can do miracles for our happiness and stress relief and they are MUSIC and LAUGHTER. Fortunately, my business is all about one of these. Of course, that is MUSIC, but even running a music business provides all the stress related issues of any business and I have to find time to completely disconnect myself from the business. Sometimes, I’ll just sit down at the piano and “doodle” and create music of whatever feelings I have at the time. Other times, I’ll just veg out or meditate to some relaxation mood music.

I also LOVE to lose myself in COMEDY! Laughter is another part of being human that provides happiness in indescribable ways. Like music, laughter heals. I know that a few episodes of “Seinfeld”, “I Love Lucy”, a stand up comedian or funny movie takes my mind away from thinking. Whenever I get together with the guys I have played in bands with for most of my life…I get to enjoy both of these at the same time. Recently, when we all performed at David’s Music House, I actually felt a decade of youth enter my body while we were playing on stage. Music is that powerful IF you learn to allow your emotions to fully take over. These guys are also one of my BEST resources of laughter! I never laugh harder, to the point of tears, than when we all get together. Life long friends will do that for each other.

We all have to find time to do things that make us happy and when you are occupied with tasks that consume your thinking and time, you need to STOP and soak yourself into something that takes you away from the race. You can always rely on MUSIC & LAUGHTER as BEST medicines for happiness.

Check out our Music Therapy page for services we offer that utilize #thepowerofmusic

Thanks for all your continued support and spreading the good word about what we do at David’s Music House.

Cheers,

David

“A Total Music Experience – The Future of Music Education”

Getting Wiser or Learning How Much More There is to Learn?

Quite a long while ago

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david on stageIf I’ve found one thing out for sure in six decades of life, it’s that you don’t really get wiser as you get older…you just find out how much more you have yet to learn. There is no end to discovering and learning new ideas, ways of thinking and doing things, IF you have an open mind, that is. Creating a business that doesn’t exist anywhere else is a great idea, but there is really no other models to learn from. You are creating the model from scratch, through trial and error and a lot of instinct. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, after working for a corporation for 22 years that told me to NOT think or create.

My mind constantly is thinking of new aspects and new ideas to use in my business, but I still need to focus on things moving along that are already in place and that are bringing in revenue. To this end, in the beginnings of my fourth year in business, I find that I need to slow down and focus on what is actually feasible and necessary to insure growth and progress. I keep thinking of those creative new ideas, and I keep working on them and storing them, much as a songwriter, who creates the initial idea of a song, but may work on development for years before publishing it.

This is what I love about being an entrepreneur….using your skills and talent to resolve issues and grow the business, but being able to just bring in a brand new concept because you know it will enhance the business concept and mission. That’s something that you can never do if you have to go through manager after manager,  to suggest an idea, only to be told it won’t work or worse, have them implement your idea and call it their own.

I have found it completely a waste of time to even think about what other competitors are doing, other than to see if there are ways similar efforts can help each other’s business. When I look at another business in my area, I wonder how we could partner and work together to increase the community’s wellness. It serves no purpose for me to see what “they” are doing and copy it or be jealous of it. This is a trait of a foolish business person. I’m far too busy thinking of ways to promote music and help the community better connect, through the power of music to bother wasting time trying to get ahead to the “other guy”.

So, needless to say (but I will…) there are some GREAT enhancements coming to David’s Music House over the course of 2014, and beyond. Keep your eyes and ears open for some more great ways to bring more music into the world.

One such enhancement occurring in May, will be better instrument rentals as we partner with “Music Hut”. This is a local business that has been in existence for many years of renting and repairing instruments. We will now be renting acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, amplifiers, cellos and others, in addition to the woodwinds, brass and strings we currently offer. We are often asked by parents of children beginning lessons about renting as they do not want to purchase instruments until they see that the student really wants to keep playing the first instrument they become interested in. Now, we will be able to offer a much wider selection to rent, as well as support another area local small business.

Now….some reflection and what’s coming next:

Our Spring Student Concerts were just amazing and full of great new talented students of all phases of learning and all ages.
I am constantly looking for great talent all over the country who can perform in our DMH Cafe and INSPIRE our students, as well as our teachers! We are bringing an A Capella Chorus Group called “Minor Variation” from Wake Forest University of North Carolina. This will be an evening of choral music as our new DMH Chorus opens with a few songs and then gets to attend the concert for FREE, as well as talk to them about how they tour and record.
In coming months we will bring back the Hillary Reynolds Band and Noel McLeary among other touring recording artists.

Behind the scenes, we are doing some serious soundproofing to the lesson rooms, as well as a fresh coat of paint and some NEW design and artwork. Most of these tweaks will be done by the end of May/June and will not cause any interruption of lessons or events. All of these improvements will give everyone a much better learning experience!

As always, thank all of you for your continued support and spreading the good word of David’s Music House bringing more music into our community and world.

David

A Special Season of Thanks & Celebration of Blessings

Quite a long while ago

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Fall can be looked at in two ways…as nature closes down and prepares itself for the long, cold winter…. or as a beginning of gathering times when we all congregate together over warm beverages, sweet pumpkin flavors and sharing of times and friendships in comfy chairs and listen to some amazing music. This is a great time to move away from the hot and crazy summer hectic lives and relieve our stress with the sound of music! All of us at ‘da House are set to give thanks to all of our students and their families, as well as the community of musicians and music lovers who have been making David’s Music House their second home. We have some great music events lined up to celebrate and give our thanks to all of you.

On November 10th, David’s Music House is just the place to come as we bring a celebration of Classic Country songs from legends like Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash, Hank Thompson, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Buck Owens and many others. Rock and roll has their “oldies” groups, those keeping the music of the 50′s and 60′s alive. Now, the local country scene has Black Horse to accomplish the same.

Also, this November 17th, David’s Music House brings a South Hills favorite entertainer and close friend, Bradley Bendis. Brad has been a firm supporter and promoter of David’s Music House since we began in October of 2010. Brad will be singing some of his favorite folk and country legends and will also be playing with his band, These Old Bones, who will each perform individually as well. This will be a great evening of music to be sure.

To round out our musical events, we bring back a Special performance from Alayna performing with John Michael (Johnny Bee from the John Michael Band) on Thanksgiving Eve, November 21st. This will be an evening of fun, food, music, laughter, conversation, and thanks. This concert will also be an interactive workshop as Alayna will be talking about how she is pursuing her musical dreams and there will be a question & answer time so students, get your questions ready.

SPOILER ALERT: David’s Music House Teachers are gearing up their students for a “Hollywood Holiday Concert” which is scheduled to be on December 20th, so be sure to mark your calendars for that.

Once again, all of us at David’s Music House wish all the blessings, good health and prosperity possible to all our “Special DMH Family and Community” and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with loved ones and friends!

David

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes

Quite a long while ago

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These are lyrics from a classic song by David Bowie, “Changes”

Life is all about changes. Changes can seem good or bad, but the key to everything is how we react to changes.…how we learn and act from that point on.

Over the last 4 years, I can’t believe how many huge changes I have gone through, from having my 22 + years corporate job outsourced, losing my mother to Alzheimer’s Disease, searching for what I would eventually do for a living, going to a Community College class, “How to Start a Small Business”, meeting several friends and business mentors, SCORE advisors, deciding what the risk factors are, coming up with a business model and plan and organizing a Grand Opening involving 22 performers, outside stage, and opening the doors on my newly designed and constructed David’s Music House on October 10, 2010 (10.10.10).

One major factor that I knew was important for me in this new business venture was that I had to LOVE what I was going to do and not choose a business that was not just involving some product or service that may sound like a “good thing”, but to insure that whatever I did was focused on a major passion in my heart and soul. I knew that had to be music.

I have been playing music since I was 13 years old. About a year after I began taking organ lessons, I started playing the in a local restaurant, playing organ music on Friday & Saturday nights for 6 hours a night. A few years later, I heard the band “Santana” which featured a Hammond B3 organ and my life changed. As with all things when I started, my Dad, helped myself and other friends purchase instruments and find our band jobs. He was totally involved and really responsible for myself and others beginning our professional musical journey.

Since opening David’s Music House, about 18 months ago, I probably have had to step back 3 or 4 times and re-organize my business model. So it’s time once again to take a step back, look over everything over, what works, what doesn’t work and eliminate the things that don’t work and focus more on what does.

So, it’s time once again for some of those ch..ch..ch…changes! Its just about summer time and all of us at ‘da House are working hard to bring the most AMAZING Summer Music Programs to the community.

The Recording Studio is getting re-designed and will also double as a Rehearsal Room for area bands who need some great space to get together and get their performance nailed down. The Rehearsal Room will have a great sound system, mics and drum kit available. There is easy access with no steps from the back of the store to bring in your amps and just plug in. All for an ridiculously affordable $20/hour fee! ARE YOU KIDDING???? NO WE ARE NOT!!!

All of the DMH Music Teachers have been working hard to put together the most AWESOME Summer Band Camps, Songwriting and Guitar Workshops as well as Broadway and Cabaret Camps. Check our website or stop in for all the details and dates for the various camp weeks.

Get ready for this!!!!!!!! We will have some well-known celebrities holding some Master Classes. These will be centered on areas such as songwriting, marketing yourself as an Independent Musician and How to prepare for going to college for a music degree. Names like Vanessa Campagna, who has performed concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Marvin Hamlisch and concerts at Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night, as well as third generation accomplished musician Benny Benack III, currently attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

We are brining in a constant stream of NEW accomplished and degreed teachers to our already renowned staff of music instructors to insure you can find a time and day for just about any instrument you would like to study. Our music teachers at David’s Music House are unique to any other place you may find as they teach and “inspire” and involve students into our “Total Music Experience” with the use of our coffee house stage for quick, impromptu performances, perhaps after a great lesson or at one of our “Inspiring Professional Artist LIVE Concert Nights”, which are for the whole family!

What makes learning an instrument “A Total Music Experience” at David’s Music House is that we provide the entire path anyone needs to learn, develop and be inspired to become the musician you want to be! We take you from lessons, to performance on our café stage, into our State of the Art, Digital Apple Logic Recording Studio and then show you how to distribute, market and promote yourself. What’s more, we provide a direct connection with many Independent Professional Musicians who are doing exactly that. Students who come to our Concert Nights will be able to sit and talk directly to all the national touring musicians we have performing on our coffee house stage.

You CAN NOT FIND a more Total Music Experience anywhere!

Come in anytime and talk to us about whatever aspect of music you are interested in. We have a whole new “EXPERIENCE” right here in your neighborhood!

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