Your company’s name, Hey Joe Guitar, suggests that you only offer guitar lessons. Is this correct?
Actually, guitar is only one of many instruments we teach. Others are the piano, drums, trumpet, trombone, brass, reeds, saxophone, clarinet flute, violin, viola, cello, strings, accordion, ukulele, banjo, recorder, and mandolin. And, we also give voice lessons.
What prompted you to start a music school?
Since I am a performing jazz musician, composer, and music teacher myself, many people asked me for recommendations for good teachers who would come to their homes or offices. So in 2007, I founded Hey Joe Guitar, with the purpose of “connecting” eager students with excellent teachers.
Why did you decide to launch in-home music lessons rather than have students come to you?
There are several reasons for that. Many of our students are kids and we know that their parents would prefer to have lessons in the comfort of their own homes. As far as adults are concerned, people are so busy nowadays and have such hectic schedules, that they don’t want to waste valuable time commuting to and from lessons. Our teachers, whom we screen very carefully, will not waste a student’s time.
And there is also a matter of an often extreme NYC weather – very cold winters and very humid summers, when people prefer to stay indoors. So three of the major reasons we make house calls is for the customer’s comfort, convenience, and time efficiency. After all, if restaurants can have a home delivery, so can music schools!
Who are the music teachers associated with Hey Joe Guitar?
They are such a diverse group, it’s impossible to put a label on them. One thing they do have in common are their excellent credentials and qualifications – they are all graduates of top music schools and conservatories, and the majority hold master’s degrees in music and/or teaching. All of them have at least five years’ teaching experience, so we will send only the very best teachers to our customers’ homes.
Why is it important to take music lessons rather than learning to play online?
Mastering any instrument takes more than just strumming or hitting the keys. It is also about good posture, correct body position, and the right way to hold an instrument. We are not denigrating online courses, but from our own experience, as well as from experiences of other people, we know that individual lessons, adapted to each student’s age, level, and speed of progress – as well as to specificities of each instrument – are much better. It’s the difference between personal and generic.
Who are your customers and where do they live?
Our customers are people of all ages and levels. From kids to seniors, beginners to advanced. They live in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
What is the best age to start music training?
There is a body of evidence suggesting that developing a musical sensibility should start in childhood – as long, of course, as parents don’t drag their kids to music lessons kicking and screaming! In my experience, however, that rarely happens – children are naturally curious and eager to learn new things.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s such a thing as “too old” or “too late” to start music training. Absolutely not! Adults of all ages can learn to play an instrument. As the saying goes – “if there’s a will, there’s a way!”
What is the most important thing to keep in mind while learning to play an instrument?
Practice! Even if you can dedicate only an hour a week to play with your teacher, that’s already enough to keep the momentum going – of course, if you can manage to do it more frequently, all the better. Many people think that learning to play is very time-consuming, so they don’t even start. But this is a case of “every little bit counts,” as long as it’s regular and continuous.
What, in your expert opinion, are the most significant benefits of music training?
There are so many! In children, music can improve their learning ability, memory, motor skills, hearing, and even emotional responses. In adults, music is one of the best, all-natural de-stressors. Since it releases some powerful “feel happy” hormones like endorphin and serotonin, exposure to music can reduce chronic stress and anxiety. In fact, many hospitals use music therapy to help their patients recover. All these are compelling reasons to start music training, but let’s not overlook another important one – it’s a fun and enjoyable activity for people of all ages.