Creativity….It’s In My DNA

Over a year ago

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david on stageI have always loved looking for a new or different way of doing anything! I can remember from a very early age following my Dad around and watching anything he did. My Dad was always into something, from home improvement projects to taxidermy (don’t know what that is? Google it :-). Dad would do home projects but always with a creative drive. He didn’t like having the same things every other house in the neighborhood had. Many homes had driveways in our neighborhood that were either gravel or cement where the tires drove into the garage with grass in the middle. Dad decided he was going to make the driveway all cement but he found a way of coloring cement so our driveway had a strip of green cement where the grass used to be. Dad also installed air-conditioning in our home way before anyone ever considered getting air-conditioning in homes.

Dad was known for having that creative flair even when he was very young. He was an avid hunter even as a teenager, but in those days, teenagers weren’t just given money for anything they wanted. If they wanted something, they had to find a way to earn the money. Dad also started doing taxidermy as a teenager, so he walked into the local hardware store and asked the owner if he would allow him to decorate his front window to display their hunting equipment, in exchange for hunting supplies he wanted. So the owner agreed and Dad used animals he had stuffed, leaves, tree branches and created an awesome display window and this was how he was able to get the hunting supplies he needed every year.

I definitely have the creative gene in my DNA. I’m always looking for better and creative ways to improve our “Total Music Experience”. Over the next couple of months, we will be migrating to a new scheduling software that will provide each parent/student their personal portal of communication with their teachers.

Beginning Soon – NEW Scheduling Software.

Some of the services this will offer:

  • Your personal webpage to view your upcoming lesson appointments
  • One place for teachers to post lesson plans, notes about music books needed, resources to help with practicing for you next lesson
  • Communications tool to your teacher
  • Email reminders about tuition payments
  • FUTURE – on-line payment processes
  • DMH merchandise, gift certificates, etc. in an easy access on-line store.

Speaking of growth, we are indeed growing. One aspect of growth is keeping up with it in order to continue providing the same level of service and satisfaction. Our growth is reaching the level where we need to be aware of how to insure we are providing the BEST EXPERIENCE to ALL of our DMH student families.

Opened on Oct. 10, 2010DMH Student Grown 2010-2015

Started with 30 students

Now over 200 students

Started with 4 teachers

Now – 17 teachers

Our Monthly Student Showcases, for example, have been extremely successful, to the degree that we are overcrowding our space. We now need to limit the amount of people for the comfort and safety of everyone, so the students performing will invite two family members to watch their performance. We also need to insure performing students have seats to enjoy the showcase as well.

Other family and friends can watch their students perform as we will be streaming showcases LIVE, on the internet using Ustream. To view a showcase, anyone can simply go to www.davidsmusichouse.com and click the U icon, in the top, right corner of the HOME PAGE and they will be taken to the LIVE performance.  The performance will later be available on our DMH YouTube Channel, which is also accessed from the YouTube icon on our website.

I love looking for ways to use technology and creativity to insure David’s Music House always provides “A Total Music Experience”.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your continuing support and love!

PS – Don’t forget to check out our Ustream Channel LIVE broadcast of this month’s Student Showcase.

Peace & Love,

David

“Til the Season Comes ‘Round Again…”

Over a year ago

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Fall is really my most favorite time of the year. I like the cooler sunny days and the amazing color Fall foliage that we get to enjoy in our area. It’s a great time to get some cozy time, binge watching holiday movies about family gatherings of Thanksgiving. This month is really centered around giving Thanks for all the blessings we have enjoyed all year and the people who we love and who love us. We all need to spend time each day of our lives to give thanks all that we have.

I really don’t mind that the last two months of the year have been blended into one mass holiday that I call – Hallothankamas. True, it is the product of business marketing and commercialism, but that’s not what it means to me. I choose to celebrate this time of year for gathering of family, enjoying spending time together in the warm colors of Fall and appreciate God’s goodness and love. The whole month of November IS for giving thanks,  that culminates in one beautiful day of Family & Food of the harvest of a year of hard work. Yes, there are Christmas movies and commercials spamming us to buy, buy buy….but in these days of Tivo, DVR’s and Netflix…we can just pass all the marketing right by and enjoy the good stuff. As long as we each insure we focus on the true meaning and reasons for the holiday season, it’s not really necessary to be concerned of what everyone else is doing.

I like to keep music as a part of our family’s holiday celebrations. Music has always been a major part of my life and even when we aren’t paying attention, we are living with the sounds of music everywhere. Music is the theme of the holidays, through our favorite holiday movies to the sounds of the season at the shopping malls.

One of my most favorite songs of the holiday season is “Til the Season” written by Randy Goodrum and John Barlow Jarvis. It has been performed by Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers and others. The lyrics of this song really highlight the true meaning of this time of the year.

“And we’ll all join hands and remember this moment
 And we’ll love and we’ll laugh in the time that we have
’til the season comes ’round again….”

We all have busy hectic lives and it’s natural for us to be caught up in the moment of where we have to rush off to or do next. The stress of all we have to do tends to make us forget the really important things and people in our lives. We NEED this these two months of the year to take the time to really think about the people we love because we never know if they will be with us next year.

Make this Season special by spending time with the people you love. Show them how special they are to you. Say the words….give the hugs and kisses. Each day we get to spend with our loved ones deserves to be something we focus on…while we can physically do so, while they are with us.

All of us at David’s Music House wish each of you all the blessings of the season and the bounty of family, friendships and loves.

Happy Thanksgiving, Peace & Love.

David

 

It IS a Beautiful Life…

Over a year ago

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david on stageYes, it IS truly a beautiful life…full of countless blessings and I am thankful every day for each one, including all the community support and for everyone who has spread the word about David’s Music House.

We have put together a small video of just a small portion of all that has happened over the last 5 years. Enjoy!

October 10, 2010 is a day forever in my mind, right up there with the biggest events of my life! It was actually hard for me to believe I had pulled off getting off my unemployed butt and create a music school in the heart of Peters Township. I still have to pinch myself every time I drive past it on Washington Road and see the David’s Music House logo sign light up in the Waterdam Plaza. Me!!!… I own my own business, and not a tiny one at that. I’m not a big business by any means, but to start the very first business I ever tried, to have opened in the one of the largest spaces in the plaza and be responsible for the rent and overhead to keep it running, really seemed quite beyond my reality.

The journey has been completely rewarding and of course, also one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was never a risk taker. From my earliest memories, I was not the child to climb a tree with my neighborhood buddies. I was the kid who watched one of those friends fall out of the tree and break his arm and see his bone sticking out of his skin! There’s a different feeling I now possess which removes the word “risk” from my focus, and that is knowing that this is my mission – to help make our world just a bit better, by insuring we all have more music…and musicians, who also carry that same purpose….to make the world a better place.

In the scheme of creating, owning and running a business, I know I am still an infant in years, but I have at least been able to pass over that first hurdle of the start up years. Having reached our 5th anniversary is definitive proof to myself that I can do great things. I am a firm believer that, as I look at the past events of my life, there have been far too many blessings that not only led me to where I am right now, but are also proof that too many things have happened and continue happening, that give me an awareness that I am on my correct journey. I am doing, what I exist for and that allows me to know that success will not only continue but will increase. Believing this is, in fact, a major reason for continued success.

All the pieces of the puzzle of my life are clearly showing me the picture that has been developing all these years. Of course, the puzzle will never be completed as my life is but another piece of the puzzle of the universe….all connected….all important…..and all changing and growing.

I say all these things to make others aware that you can do anything you want to do…IF you try hard enough and never quit, even when quitting seems to be the only option. Those who succeed….just tried harder than all the others.

We have planned an event to celebrate and take special note of the importance of our 5th Anniversary filled with Music, Food, Prizes, Student and Teacher Performances and a performance by myself along with my friends, past bandmates and teachers. This is an opportunity for some of our students and families to see and hear what I (David) can actually do! In addition, I intend on just having some righteous FUN!!! It has been quite a ride.

I continue, as all of us of the DMH Family, to thank each of you for coming to us, supporting us and for spreading the word to the community about the good works being done here at David’s Music House.

Peace & Love,

David

What’s Happening at the House

Over a year ago

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David

David

There’s always lots going on at David’s Music House. We have more New Teachers, Summer Camps still going on, our monthly Student Showcase Performance (2nd Wednesday of each month) and a great Kick Off for September with Guitar Virtuoso Ian Ethan Case coming back to perform LIVE on the DMH Coffee House Stage.

What makes David’s Music House your BEST choice for music education? Simply put we are “A Total Music Experience”

As a parent myself, I drove my daughters to music lessons, parked in driveways, sat in basements on old couches with the house cat jumping on me, or I drove around for 20 minutes, until it was time for the lesson to be over. That’s why the main thing I wanted to do when I created a music school, was to create a large space for parents to wait, read, listen to music, use free WiFi or have some coffee, tea or a small snack. We hear so much from parents, “I just LOVE coming here during a lesson…just to relax or read.” I also remember all those tiny lesson rooms where my daughter’s knees were almost touching the teachers. I thought this must have been a closet to hang coats at one time!” That’s why I made sure our lesson rooms are very large and can easily allow a parent to sit in and be a part of the lesson, so they know what the teacher is teaching and how they can help support that learning process.

2015 Summer Camps

Our Summer Woodwind Camp was a wonderful success…lots of learning, tips, recording studio exposure and capped off with a LIVE performance on the Public Radio Saturday Light Brigade Program.

SLB Sax Ensemble

Our 2015 Woodwind Camp students are: Luke Will (11, McMurray Elementary, Alto Saxophone), Brenden Stillwell (13, Canonsburg Middle School, Alto Saxophone), Nicole Esselstyn (13, Peters Township Middle School, Soprano Saxophone) and Matt Liberatore (13, Canon-MacMillan High School, Piano).

There are still more camps to go. Next is our Broadway Camp. Our camps are 3 hours for 5 successive days (Mon – Fri) usually from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. All campers get a free snack and one of our DMH T Shirts. Call 724-941-9200 or email dmh@davidsmusichouse.com for all the details.

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Woodwind Camp

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Woodwind Camp

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Woodwind Camp

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Woodwind Camp

We are so very excited to welcome two New Music Mentors to the DMH Family: (click on their pictures for BIO) Jonathan Klein and Javier Camacho.

Jon Klein

Jonathan Klein will be teaching Drums, Percussion and Beginning Guitar.

Javier Camacho

Javier Camacho will be teaching Beginning to Advanced Piano

September 2, 2015 LIVE Performance – Ian Ethan Case + DMH Student Showcase

I know it’s still Summer but start planning to make it to this LIVE Performance of one of the most amazing guitarists in the country… and also one of the nicest persons I know. Ian Ethan Case plays double neck guitar and loops his performance, LIVE and continues weaving more amazing and intricate parts with all his other guitars and percussion instruments he has with him. It is truly an amazing live performance…not to be missed.

We will be having some of our guitar students perform a student showcase during Ian’s performance and they will get to meet, talk and learn all about the amazing things Ian has done in the music world! This is LIVE INSPIRATION and nothing put a learning student more on the path to success than that!

As always…thank you all for your amazing support and for spreading the word about David’s Music House.

Peace & Love,

David

Let Your CORE Characteristics Lead You To Success

Over a year ago

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david on stageAt David’s Music House, we teach music lessons….yes, but my real purpose for the creation of David’s Music House is a higher mission.  I have realized over recent years, the creating and planning of “what I want to do”, comes from something deep inside of me that has driven my entire life, through everything I ever experienced, whether that be good or bad, positive or negative.  I have only recently discovered what I always thought of as my core character of weakness and fear, is actually the strength of who I am and how I have behaved for my entire life!  I have never been a fighter.  I have never liked competition and therefore I never liked sports or anything competitive.  Because of this, I have always thought of myself as the “odd” one…the one who is different, and so I retreated from most difficulties in my life.  Growing older helps a bit, but I have never been one to raise my hand or step forward into any challenge if I could avoid doing so.  As I have said quite often, discovering MUSIC and my natural gift of being able to sing, gave me my first avenue of standing out in crowds as someone special.  The thing is, when I wasn’t playing music or singing and performing, I retreated and remained, in my mind, the “odd” one.

With reaching my sixth decade, leaving that corporate environment where I had remained silent and “different”, I have been doing the hard work, on my own, with my own initiatives and thoughts, that have created and kept my first business going and prospering for nearly 5 years now. This has given me the knowledge that as I face problems, that very same passion and “difference” that I felt all my life, was now the driving force that I KNOW is why my business is not only still existing, but is growing. That PASSION and looking back at the HUGE things I have accomplished in the last 7 years to make this business possible, IS THE KEY to knowing David’s Music House, and what it provides to the community, WILL CONTINUE TO SUCCEED!

So, how does one succeed at a business? Look at the center or core of who you are, what you want to do, not as a business, but exactly what makes you tick. It may take a long time to discover that, but it is Key to your success…that and the knowing that you can’t quit trying.

The next Key ingredient is your team. You must find others who are amazing at doing the things you need in your vision. They need to have the gift to do the things you want to do but better than you could. The only way you can get these other experts to do what THEY do best, but within the focus and direction that will satisfy your vision, is Leadership. They need to have the ability to see and love your vision. You can find many who want to ride your journey but never be capable of seeing and joining your quest.  It is crucial that you continue tweaking your team and insure you don’t have anyone who simply is along for the ride. Gifted members of a team on a focused quest do not hinder your vision…they use their gifts to enhance it…Why? …because they believe in the vision and in YOU! It’s your job to make them know you love them for what they do but it’s their job to help you on this journey, not hinder it.  If you always talk about what your vision is and continue to praise and promote the gifts that your team brings to the journey, it will always be easy to see the weak links in your team and quickly make adjustments.  Everyone on your team needs to add to and magnify your vision. It’s the job of every leader or business owner to keep the vision and mission of the business clear and at the center of WHY everyone is on this uniquely gifted team.

Using my CORE characteristics of wanting to use the powerful tool of MUSIC to do more than merely give music lessons, our MISSION STATEMENT is:

Through the magic of music, it is our dream to fulfill a larger purpose of instilling humility and kindness into what occurs at David’s Music House. Toward this purpose, we have adapted a slogan of “The Lesson Room is only the First Step”, meaning we begin teaching how to play an instrument or use one’s voice, but our teachers also become Music Mentors to our students. They also work together, as a team with a higher singular purpose of instilling as much mentoring as is possible, to ingrain performance characteristics such as looking at an audience, listening to other musicians they perform with, making sure their instrument “blends in” with the others rather than trying to make sure they are the only ones heard playing or singing. Along with these performance traits, a natural inheriting of humbleness will also become a part of each student’s learning. Using the amazing power of Music to connect to the soul, along with a mentoring process of humility will hopefully bring more people into the community who will do good things and play music. THIS….is the real agenda behind everything we do at David’s Music House.

I welcome anyone to send comments or email me at david@davidsmusichouse.com with your thoughts or questions about what we do or anything about this article.

Peace & Love,

David

 

 

 

New Changes for 2015 – Focus on Performance

Over two years ago

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david on stage
Another New Year…..I still remember how incredibly hard it always was for me to go back to work after having the Christmas Holidays off. All the celebration and not having to drive to work early in the morning and dealing with gong back to “the grind”, would always leave me in a depressed slump for at least the first full week of the new year. Those were the days of frustrations of a job that I didn’t like for at least 20 years of the 21 years I was there. Now, I celebrate the holidays, take time to enjoy family and friends, reflect on the past year and awaken to excitement of lots of new ideas and plans to try to make David’s Music House even better at bringing more music and better musicians into our world. David’s Music House is all about doing EVERY THING we can to do Music Education better. For 2015, we will be focusing a lot more on “performance learning”. The DMH Coffee House Stage was built mainly for teaching, as well as a good place for musicians to perfect their craft. We have had a mission statement of “The Lesson Room is Only the Beginning”. This means just that…first comes the teaching of the instrument, but there is so much more to becoming a better musician. Anyone can learn how to play an instrument and play in their homes for themselves, but the main purpose of music is to “perform” for the listener. Music needs a landing platform or someone who is listening. This is often an overlooked aspect of music education, especially in private lessons. This creates many gifted musicians but many who are paralyzed with fear of performing before an audience, especially as a solo performer.Instead of the once or twice a year, formal recital type performance, that is the usual and expected step in music education, we will be bringing performance training on a more informal and consistent basis. We are changing our monthly under 18 Open Stage night to incorporate our “Student Showcases”. Each month, one of our music teachers will host and be preparing their students to perform at our monthly Student Showcase/Open Stage Night. Families will come to see their students progress at playing their instrument as well as the progress in performing on the stage, to an audience. Students will be trained on stage presence, using microphones properly, eye contact and speaking to the audience. This will give all of our students much more training on how to perform on stage. Additionally, our under 18 Open Stage provides a platform for any young musician a family friendly environment to explore becoming a musician.

Additionally, about once a month, we will be bringing in professional touring or local music performers and adding additional Student Showcases during the professionals intermission. This will provide stage training to the student but also allow them to meet and greet the professional artist to learn and be inspired by their talent.

These steps are just more aspects that make David’s Music House “A Total Music Experience” and the “Future of Music Education”.

All of the years that I have performed with various musicians have provided me with a keen sense of how much young musicians need to learn how to be good listeners and humble people. Being a musician is an ego trip for most of us and DMH is here to teach students the difference between enjoying your musical gifts and being so full of your talent. Nothing is more important than the “PERFORMANCE” and the “LISTENER”.

Thanks for supporting David’s Music House.

David