Over The River and Through Our Memories

About half a year ago

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david on stageWhen I was very young I always loved listening to stories from older family members. I can remember I wouldn’t go outside and play with my cousins during the visits to Grama’s house. I would stay at the dinning room table during the after dinner coffee and desert time because I loved hearing their stories about times gone by. They were funny, everyone laughing to tears, colorful, wonderful stories that made me want to be inside their stories. This was almost better than television, and that is saying something because TV was everything to a Baby Boomer child of the 1950’s.

Thanksgiving conjures up instant feelings of warm Fall colors, stopping the race of everyday life, great aromas of food, families getting together, and seeing friends. Yes, even with the normal dysfunctional family situations of dealing with our own oddities seemed to be dealt with, diminished, ignored or resolved during this family gathering holiday. The house where the turkey is prepared was the place to wake up to that heavenly aroma of cooking that only Thanksgiving can produce.

To a child of the Boomer Generation, Thanksgiving meant waking to that wonderful smell of the turkey roasting in the oven, then rushing down to watch the Thanksgiving parade on TV and getting primed for Christmas and waiting for Santa to show up at the end of the parade. Thanksgiving was all about food. I have old family photos of my Dad’s dinning room display of food. He set up this display of fruit, berries, nuts, crackers, cheeses and anything else he could think of. Of course he managed an A&P grocery store at the time, which obviously helped. My Dad was always ready to set up a display of anything, most likely from displaying food in the grocery stores. Even during his later years as a car salesman, he would decorate his office with a full display of fall leaves and deer so he could enjoy the feeling that the Fall brings to us all.  I am very aware that I was fortunate to have been born who and where I was to enjoy the abundance of food and memories. There were so many who did not have this abundance, who I was oblivious to as a child. Especially during the post World War II, 1950’s,

Thanksgiving was originally a way of celebrating the year’s harvest of the crops, but it seemed logical and appropriate to make it an event of taking some time to give thanks for all the blessings we have. Our first President of the United States, George Washington, proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America, marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.” (Wikipedia)

All of us at David’s Music House are so very thankful to each of you who support and spread the word of what we do. I will never take the blessings of starting my first business and watching it grow into one of the most respected sources of Music Education in the South Hills and surrounding area. As a lover of music and a life long musician for over 55 years, I have always known that whatever I started, had to have a mission and goal that was purely from my heart and not to make money. I feel this is what makes David’s Music House unique and successful, in that this message is felt and known by all the wonderful families and students who choose to come to us for their music learning.

Each and every one of us at ‘da House, wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday.  May you all take time out this Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for all the blessings you have and enjoy the day with family and friends.

Peace and Love,

David

 

“There’s no crying in baseball!” – Tom Hanks – “League of Their Own”

Almost a year ago

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 In the popular Tom Hanks movie, “A League of Their Own”, Hanks portrays the manager of a women’s baseball team created during World War II who tries to treat the women players with the same hard knock methods as he would with a men’s team. When a player becomes upset at him yelling at her and begins to cry, Hanks says the popular quote from the movie, “There’s no crying in baseball”! I use this as an example to illustrate how I talk about the subject of “taking the summer off from taking music lessons”. To this I say…. “There’s no stopping in music!”

I consistently speak to this issue to all parents and students. This is a subject near and dear to the CORE Mission of David’s Music House. Ever hear the quotation, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?…Practice, Practice, Practice”? Becoming the best you can be at any skill only comes from consistent learning, practice and experience. When the academic school year ends, this is the BEST time to continue or begin taking private music lessons, as there is actually less personal time restrictions for families. You’ll be that much ahead of the game when you go back to school and music activities the next year.

Exercising, weightlifting, running, losing weight, and basically any endeavor where the goal is to improve and be as good as you can be, can only be achieved by consistent and continuous pursuit of all the aspects that will lead you to that accomplishment. Music is a skill that one can only improve by adhering to a schedule of continuous experience. As with any skill, any extended or repetitive length of time not spent on that effort, whether it’s a physical sport or playing an instrument or singing, will cause physical changes to occur, such as fingertips getting soft again if playing guitar, or muscle strength in the hands and fingers that develop playing the piano or the vocal cords that grow and strengthen as one learns to sing. All the time spent on developing strengths and learned skills will diminish during long periods of non use and then will have to be relearned and strengthened all over again. Why would anyone want to take 5 steps forward, only to slide back to step 1 again?

NEW SUMMER PACKS PROGRAM

We realize that Summer also means the opportunity for families to spend some much needed time together for some R&R, going on vacations or visiting distant relatives. To help our DMH Families to be able to continue their music learning and take time off for vacations, we have developed our NEW SUMMER PACKS PROGRAM. There are some excellent options for families to schedule and reserve lesson times on our schedule that will also guarantee not losing your usual lesson times. Call us at 724-941-9200, email dmh@davidsmusichouse.com or stop by and ask our receptionists all about the details and reserve your summer lessons right away!

It is the mission of David’s Music House to insure that everyone is immersed in any and all the ways that will offer a continuation of the pursuit of the love of music and the “WHY” they need to continue learning and experiencing playing, listening and sharing the Power of Music! We don’t only teach how to perform music….we help you KNOW WHY music is awesome. Our music teachers are Music Mentors who collaborate and work together as a team for all our DMH students.

Thank you for your continued support and for spreading the word about the VALUE of David’s Music House to the community!

Peace & Love,

David

 

Creativity….It’s In My DNA

Over two years 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

What’s Happening at the House

Over two years 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

Keep on keeping’ on….. 

Over two years ago

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David b&wIf I’ve learned one thing about starting your own business, it’s that you always have to bring yourself back to center focus on WHY you are doing this in the first place. Often, the purpose is to start something that will be successful, new, innovative, and monetarily rewarding. While these are all part of starting a business, they will not keep things moving toward real fulfillment.

During my last 5 or so years before my 22 year corporate job ended, I began thinking, there has to be a better way….a better purpose…something that “I” could do differently. I began exploring a few franchise ideas. I quickly discovered that many franchises have one single purpose and that is providing income to who was selling the franchise. I knew whatever I did, it had to be centered on something that was “me” and on something that had been at the center of fulfillment, most of my life…and that was music.

I must confess that what is David’s Music House…. was not in my mind from the start. I really only knew how I felt inside and that my creativity could come up with something different. I have ALWAYS been about doing things or looking at things from other viewpoints and other ways. As I explored resources about starting a business, I began doing the basics. I took a course “How to start a business” at our local community college. The course provided a general knowledge of steps to take and a TON of resources to investigate. I knew that this was just a first step in a long process of research and discovery that would put me on a path of where I wanted to go.

Then something else seems to take over my next steps in this journey. It was more of an inner voice telling me to go ask this person for advice or ask to speak to the owner of a business. I don’t remember having these steps in my mind but rather just some inner force pushing me. Eventually, I reached a point within a 2 year period of gathering resources and advice that I had to put a pin on a date on a calendar and “just do it”! Somehow, all the pieces fell together as if by some miracle force to the magical date of 10.10.10 –  my Grand Opening Day! October 10, 2010….yes… 10.10.10…so many pieces of a HUGE puzzle of how I had arrived at this date were nothing less than miracles! To this day, I KNOW IN MY HEART that my Dad, who had passed when I was 40 years old, had been standing there, right beside me all the time, making everything happen to me that brought me to that date!

That force and spirit that has been guiding me…that inner voice…is still working within my life, every single day! From that opening day, too many “miracles” have been happening to keep my journey going. I know that the forces that brought me to where I am right now in my life have not happened by chance and that makes me know that this journey that is David’s Music House is only going to continue moving toward my inner purpose of doing everything I can to help others find their personal journey, and what better tool can we use to make our lives better, than music!

Changes happen…and unexpected things occur…but one thing remains the same….we each have a purpose that guides our choices and actions as we go through life. If you listen to who you are, deep inside…the voice that has guided your good and bad choices in life…you will know what to do when those changes come along. Stay in focus of who you are. THIS will always make you know how to make the right choices in whatever you do.

As David’s Music House contines to grow and face challenges, my inner voice will always guide me to keep on target of doing the best I can to provide a place of happiness, guidance and mentoring to those who wish to find out who they want to be….and we do that …. with MUSIC!

Peace and Love,

 

David

 

New Changes for 2015 – Focus on Performance

Quite a long while 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