Where to Find Music Lessons for Kids
BY ANN MARIE O'PHELAN
Every day at Fort Myers School of Music, students are strumming guitars, practicing piano scales and blowing into horns. Whether new students learning their notes, or more accomplished players practicing for an event, they’re all praised and encouraged to stick with their love of music. After all, the 15 talented and experienced instructors are college-educated performing musicians who well know the challenges and joys of learning instruments.
Since 1991, Fort Myers School of Music, located at Jay & Kay’s Organ & Piano on Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers, has offered private lessons for piano, guitar, drum, bass, organ, ukulele and vocals. The lessons are held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.—to accommodate the varied schedules of traditional or homeschooled or older students.
“It’s great that they offer so much for adults and the whole family,” says Mandy Baker of Fort Myers. She’s a 48-year-old piano player who’s considering learning guitar next.
Fort Myers School of Music has been so successful that it recently changed its location, although it stayed at the same address, to accommodate even more students. The reason for the move was to expand the number of lesson rooms, known as studios, from five to 11. The additional music studios allow more simultaneous private lessons at peak "prime time" slots. The school also added dedicated art rooms and art classes have now debuted.
“Thanks to our new studio, we can now offer more types of instrument lessons,” explains owner Jay Guretsky. Also, brass and reed instrument lessons will be part of the new offerings.
The rooms are all stocked with what is needed for the lesson, such as amps, drum kits, pianos and more. Parents can accommodate their children in the lesson rooms, or kick back in the waiting room. It’s a family-friendly waiting room with comfortable chairs, children’s toys, magazines and Wi-Fi.
Encouraging students to learn and love music is something the school strives for—from offering a welcoming and accommodating front desk, to helping students find the right teacher. And students earn trophies, certificates and award wristbands through Fort Myers School of Music’s participation in the Music Ladder System.
“We believe that private lessons are the best way to learn to play an instrument. Our students have won local, regional and state competitions. Many of the students have earned college scholarships throughout the years,” Guretsky says.
The school charges $30 for a half-hour private lesson. For students who want longer lessons, 45-minute and 60-minute sessions are available. Fees are paid month to month, with no long-term commitments. There are unlimited makeup lessons. A 14-day notice is all that is needed to stop lessons.
Children aren’t the only ones who love music—many adults take lessons at the school, as well. And, of course, the love of music often runs in the family. “We frequently book the entire family’s lessons at about the same time, saving parents [from making] trips to different schools and a lot of waiting time,” notes Guretsky.
Additionally, the school offers two recitals a year, during spring and in December. Recitals help build confidence and are a chance for students to show off their skills. With so much to offer students—and, in turn, their parents, it’s little wonder why Fort Myers School of Music is the recipient of many awards and honors, and is always highly reviewed.
Tips for Parents
· Show off your love of music by keeping it on in the home and car. Take lessons yourself!
· Choose the right instrument for your child’s age. Some instruments may be too bulky or difficult to learn, while others are easier for younger children.
· Find the right teacher. Every student has his or her own way of learning; every instructor has his or her own teaching style. Find the right fit!
· Keep your child motivated. Fill out a practice and accomplishment chart. Reward your child as he or she progresses.
· Let your child play the type of music he or she likes. For example, guitar students may want to learn country, piano students may want to learn pop and vocal students may want to sing rock ’n’ roll.
For More Information
Fort Myers School of Music
1400 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers
Jay & Kay’s Organ & Piano
1400 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers
239-939-4549; jayandkay.comAnn Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.