Introducing the TakeLessons Team: Meet Matt

Matt

Matt is our Sales Manager, and has been a part of the TakeLessons team for nearly two years.  A musician himself, Matt grew up playing the trombone, as well as singing and playing the piano.  In fact, he was one of the dueling pianists at San Diego’s famous Shout House piano bar before coming to work at TakeLessons!

What’s a typical day like for you?

I get in at 7:00 am since we have a lot of early calls from the East Coast.  I’ve always been on the phone a lot talking with prospective students as our main salesperson, but now as Sales Manager my job has shifted to less calls and more motivating, encouraging, and training new and current Sales Reps.  I’m loving it!

What do you like about working at TakeLessons?

Ever since grade school, music has been a huge part of my life!  I was in band and choir in middle school; band, choir, and theater in high school; ended up going to college partially on a singing scholarship; studied business and music in college; worked at the San Diego Symphony out of college; been in too many singing groups to count; done community theater; sang and played piano in a dueling piano bar for a year; and now I work at TakeLessons.  Everything I’ve done since 5th grade has in some way involved music, and I often wonder where I would be if I hadn’t gotten started in music to begin with.  With that being said, it means a lot to me and it brings me a lot of joy that I am personally able to get people involved in music, whatever their age and whatever the type of music lessons they are interested in.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

In grade school and middle school I definitely wanted to be a baseball player; in high school, probably an actor; and during college I wanted to win the lottery and live on the beach!

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m very proud that I was able to get through college debt-free thanks to scholarships.

What activities do you participate in outside of work?

I try to stay active.  I like running outside and just exploring more or less rather than the treadmill, so I do that quite a bit.  Living a few blocks from Balboa Park makes that easy!  Just like everyone else in San Diego, I enjoy going to the beach.  I’ve been lucky to be able to do some traveling in the past and can’t wait to do more!  But all of the things listed above take a back seat when football season comes around; then, I am out of commission for a few months.

Where are you from originally and what is your favorite thing about living in San Diego?

I’m originally from Phoenix, AZ.  I love Phoenix and it will always have a place in my heart, but after living in San Diego, how could I possibly go back to the heat and the desert?!  I love the fact that I can be outdoors just about any time of year.  One of the best things (which can also be one of the worst things) about San Diego is that there is always something to do or something going on.  I just bought a Jeep and I am SO excited to take off the top and leave it off all summer!

Check back every Friday for a new profile on one of our TakeLessons Team members!

TakeLessons Rock Star Teacher of the Week: Matthew P.

Matthew P.Our latest Rock Star Teacher of the Week has only been teaching with TakeLessons since January, but he’s already making a big impact with his students.  Meet Matthew P., who teaches several subjects including drums, guitar, and singing in the Los Angeles area.  Matthew specializes in pop and rock performance, and works with students who want to learn how to express themselves in a live environment, as well as aspiring songwriters and composers who are learning to write their own music.

Matthew’s enthusiasm for music is infectious, and his students certainly agree; they say he is “easy to work with” and “gives great feedback.”  In addition to teaching, Matthew is an award-winning composer and songwriter with many film and television credits, including the new Starz series “Gravity” which premiered on Friday, April 23.  Awesome job, Matthew!

Introducing the TakeLessons Team: Meet Chuck

Chuck

This Friday, we’re introducing you to Chuck, our VP of Technology.  Chuck has many responsibilities here at TakeLessons, including developing and testing new features for our website, as well as managing statistics reporting, operations, and IT.  He works hard to ensure that we have a usable and reliable website – an important factor in keeping our students and teachers happy!

How long have you worked at TakeLessons, and what do you like best about working here?
I’ve worked at TakeLessons since April 2006. What I like best about working here is the culture we’ve built to support personal and business growth. I’ve particularly enjoyed building the company, both on the technical side as well as participating in the strategic planning.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Outside of work I’m spending a lot of time training to run my first marathon in June. Once that is finished, I’m looking forward to spending more time enjoying some of my other favorite activities: hiking, biking, cooking, and traveling. I love food, so I’m always excited to try a new restaurant or recipe. My wife and I also like to travel; we try to hit a new area of the country each year to explore the local attractions.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’ve never been to Asia, so I think it would be a great experience to visit a place with a strikingly different culture and language. I’m particularly intrigued by the scenery in more rural areas of China.

What is your favorite thing about living in San Diego?
For me, the best thing about living in San Diego is that it has become a hub for beer culture. There are a lot of great events, restaurants and people that support both local breweries and homebrewing. I also really like the high level of support and participation in outdoor activities here.

What are one professional goal and one personal goal that you hope to achieve this year?
My big personal goal for the year is the aforementioned marathon. A professional goal of mine is to keep learning by reading at least one book per month.

Check back every Friday for a new profile on one of our TakeLessons Team members!

Give the Gift of Music Lessons this Mother’s Day!

piano fingers

The countdown to Mother’s Day is on, with the big day rapidly approaching on Sunday, May 9th.  This year, instead of giving mom the same old flowers, candy or jewelry, why not give her an experience she’ll remember forever?  Give her the gift of music lessons with a TakeLessons gift certificate!

Whether your mom has previous musical experience or wants to try singing lessons or playing the piano for the first time, a TakeLessons gift certificate is a unique Mother’s Day gift that gives her the opportunity to learn some new skills and have a little fun!  TakeLessons gift certificates are valid for any type of music lessons that we offer, including singing lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons and many more.  Gift certificates can be used for lessons with any of our TakeLessons Certified™ Instructors and never expire, so recipients can use them at their convenience.

TakeLessons offers gift certificates in amounts beginning at $50, which can be printed at home or sent to the recipient via email.  Simply call one of our student counselors at 877-231-8505 or visit our website to purchase your certificate today – it’s a gift any mom will appreciate!

TakeLessons Rock Star Teacher of the Week: Parker G.

Parker G

It’s time to recognize another one of our amazing TakeLessons instructors, and who better to name as this week’s Rock Star Teacher of the Week than a specialist in all things “rock” —  Parker G. from Denver, CO!  Parker teaches guitar and classical guitar, music theory and songwriting, and has 15 continuing students with TakeLessons.  His interest in music began at the age of 12 and continues today as he pursues a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory/Composition at Metropolitan State College of Denver.  According to Parker, “Teaching is fun and rewarding, but it is also my way of thanking the great teachers I’ve had.”

One of Parker’s main goals as a teacher is for his students to walk away from each lesson having learned something new, and he constantly introduces fresh styles and techniques to keep lessons fun and engaging.  As one of his students recently told us, “I have had almost 20 years of music lessons starting as a kid, and Parker is by far the best instructor I have had.”  Keep up the great work, Parker!

Introducing the TakeLessons Team: Meet Abby

AbbyThe success of any company is inherently related to its people; talented individuals are needed in order for a company to grow, and finding the right people is key.  That’s where Abby, one of the hard-working team members from the TakeLessons Recruiting department, comes in.  Abby’s job is to interview potential music teachers to make sure they are the right fit for TakeLessons.  She’s also our unofficial office photographer and social planner!

Tell us your favorite thing about working at TakeLessons.

TakeLessons has become much more than job for me. It truly has become my family. In the short months that I’ve been here, I’ve made friendships that I know are going to last a lifetime and I feel exceptionally proud to come to work every day! I know that the work I’m doing and the work that my teammates are doing around me is helping to change peoples’ lives for the better. Music is so inspirational! To know that I am impacting the way that someone sees the world is just mind blowing and it makes me feel incredible!

Do you have any musical experience or play any instruments?

I am a vocalist. I have studied privately for a number of years, participated in many local choirs, and musicals, and even traveled to China and Hong Kong to sing! Most recently I began taking guitar lessons to further my passion for music!

What are your activities outside of work?

I enjoy running, hiking, and sun bathing! I love spending time with my friends and family and just laughing! I have a HUGE place in my heart for all animals, particularly dogs, and more specifically pugs! I have a pug named Lucy and it’s a favorite pastime of mine to see her running and exercising and playing with all her canine friends!

What is your favorite thing about living in San Diego?

My favorite thing about living in San Diego is the opportunity it has provided for me to spread my wings and expand my horizons. Professionally and personally!

What are one professional goal and one personal goal that you hope to achieve this year?

One professional goal of mine is to go above and beyond the expectations set for me each and every day. And a personal goal of mine is to get in the ocean and up on a surf board despite my fear of the water!

Check back every Friday for a new profile on one of our TakeLessons Team members!

Wanna Play Music? Take Part in Music Monday on May 3!

WannaPlayMusicWeek10During the week of May 3-7, musicians, schools, and other organizations across the country will come together in support of the fourth annual National Wanna Play Music Week, sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).  This week-long celebration highlights the importance of music education programs in schools and promotes the benefits of playing music for people of all ages and skill levels.  NAMM is also a TakeLessons organizational partner, which is why we are proud to support this event and power the lesson locator tool on the official Wanna Play Music website.

The week will kick off with “Music Monday” on May 3, an event in which schools, community and professional organizations will perform one piece of music simultaneously at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, 11 a.m. Mountain Time, 12 p.m. Central Time, and 1 p.m. Eastern Time.  NAMM hopes that by having everyone sing the same song at the same time, music will transcend all genres and unite people through the melody and the act of performing the piece together.

NAMM is also encouraging people to pick up an instrument of their choice and play any time on May 3 as part of the Music Monday celebration.  This is the sixth year that NAMM has supported Music Monday, which is also hosted by the Coalition for Music Education in Canada and has grown to more than 2,000 schools since its inception.  You can register your school or organization as a participant in Music Monday by e-mailing musicmonday@namm.org.

If you plan to take part in Music Monday on May 3, tell us how you’ll be getting involved!  Will you be participating in the group song, or playing an instrument?

TakeLessons Rock Star Teacher of the Week: Carol K.

Carol KEach Monday, we give recognition to an outstanding TakeLessons instructor who is making a difference and inspiring students to discover and cultivate their talents through music lessons. This week’s Rock Star Teacher of the Week is Carol K. from Manassas, Virginia, who teaches lessons in piano and music theory in the Washington, DC area.  Although Carol has only been an instructor with TakeLessons for six months, music has always been a part of her life. She began taking both piano and voice lessons at a young age, and it is her passion for all types of music, as well as her ability to interact with both children and adults, that inspires her to teach others.

Carol is a warm and caring instructor who caters to each student’s individual learning style by using a visual and hands-on approach to reinforce musical concepts. She has 100% student retention, which is surely a testament to the interest she takes in her students and her willingness to help them succeed in the learning process.  We are so lucky to have Carol as part of the TakeLessons family!

Making the Most of Your Music Lessons

guitar lessonHere at TakeLessons, we have the opportunity to work with numerous people who are embarking on their musical journeys.  Some want to take lessons so they can learn to sing like Beyonce, and some are looking to develop guitar skills that rival those of John Mayer.  While each student’s motivation for taking lessons is different, making the commitment to take music or voice lessons is only the beginning.

Once you have taken the step to enroll yourself (or your child) in music lessons, your focus may turn towards how to get the most out of your lessons.  Most TakeLessons students meet with their instructors once a week, for anywhere from 30-60 minutes at a time.  These sessions will fly by, so it is important to maximize the limited amount of time you have to work with your instructor.  The following tips will help you to prepare, progress, and make the most of your music lessons:

1. Find the right instructor.  One of our main goals at TakeLessons is finding the right instructor to fit your needs.  There are many factors our student counselors consider when placing a student with a teacher – age, location, skill level and style, to name a few.  When teacher and student personalities don’t mix, valuable time that should be spent learning is lost, and for new students, the instrument itself can even become a source of frustration.  Working with a teacher that you mesh with will allow your lessons to flow more smoothly and allow you to get more out of each lesson.  This is also the reason that we offer a 100% money back guarantee to new TakeLessons students; we know how important finding the right student/teacher dynamic is, and we want to make sure you are working with the instructor that’s the best possible fit for you. If you feel like switching music teachers might be necessary, just give us a call.

2. Come prepared.  Before arriving at your lesson, take a few minutes to relax and prepare your voice for singing, or your hands for playing music.  Stretch, do vocal warm-ups, and perhaps most importantly, try to clear your mind of all distractions so you are ready to focus on the task at hand – learning your instrument.  You’ll be surprised at how approaching each lesson with a positive attitude and an open mind will directly impact your success.

3. Take notes and ask follow up questions.  It may be difficult (okay, impossible) to take notes while you are actually singing or playing an instrument.  As part of the TakeLessons program, your instructor will keep track of any notes regarding what is covered during each lesson and will upload them in your online lesson journal.  You can then refer back to your journal as you practice to see what you should be working on.  At the same time, if you think of questions between lessons be sure to write them down so you can get answers from your teacher the next time you meet.

4. Practice, practice, practice.  To fully reap the benefits of your music lessons, practice is essential.  As a student, you cannot continue to evolve and master the musical skills you are learning from your instructor if you don’t put in any extra practice time outside your lessons.  When you are practicing, find a quiet place free of distractions where you can give your undivided attention to your instrument.  Focus on truly learning and understanding the techniques and methods your instructor has taught you, rather than just playing songs.  Pretty soon you will develop a routine, and the results will become apparent with each lesson you take!

Ready to sign up? Search for music teachers near you and book lessons today!

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