Learning to play an instrument

Nonprofits – Caffe Lena School of Music aims to introduce more children to acoustic instruments – The Daily Gazette – The Daily Gazette

Summary

Since its opening in 1960, Caffe Lena has been a welcoming home to burgeoning songwriters and musicians, offering opportunities to create and play music for the world to enjoy.

Now the Saratoga Springs spot invites children ages 7 to 15 the opportunity to learn and play the fiddle, guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, bass, percussion and more during 45-minute, 10-week sessions after school under the guidance of Oona Grady and James Gascoyne as part of its School of Music program.

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Since its opening in 1960, Caffe Lena has been a welcoming home to burgeoning songwriters and musicians, offering opportunities to create and play music for the world to enjoy.

Now the Saratoga Springs spot invites children ages 7 to 15 the opportunity to learn and play the fiddle, guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, bass, percussion and more during 45-minute, 10-week sessions after school under the guidance of Oona Grady and James Gascoyne as part of its School of Music program.

Caffe Lena board member Kevin Bright, the Primetime Emmy Award-winning director whose credits include the smash television comedy series “Friends,” is credited with introducing the idea of the after-school program.

“Kevin really wanted to see young people playing acoustic instruments, singing folk songs to ensure that we were passing the legacy on to the next generation, and he very generously funded the startup,” School of Music Program Director Vivian Nesbitt said during an interview inside the renovated Caffe Lena.

Nesbitt relocated from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to join Caffe Lena.

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“I have a background in curriculum development and strategic planning for small academies,” Nesbitt said. “I created an acting school in Albuquerque and moved from there.”

The School of Music has changed dramatically from its concept meetings to the current product offered at 47 Phila St.

“The original idea was that we had single-instrument classes, basically learning the song from scratch and then everyone would come together in a jam [session],” Nesbitt said.

That idea was scrapped, and lessons are now offered as a group with multiple instruments during each 45-minute session. The system of learning is different from the traditional viewing of sheet music and replicating the written dictation on the instrument of choice.

It’s all done by ear.

“Now your action varies with what the other instruments are saying as well, so that they can … they get that feeling of being part of something that’s a really interesting dynamic,” Nesbitt said.

In the intimate setting of just four students, the focus is on the music, not the mechanics.

“We want children listening to each other and thinking that if that is a G chord, I know how to do that on the ukulele, so I’m going to play that on the ukulele for a second,” Nesbitt said. “They find the tune on the ukulele and they can play that. What does that voice sound like with the group? There’s a lot of freedom in this environment.”

The role of the instructors includes more than timing and tuning when introducing new folk songs to a group.

“We try to make sure that children know where the songs come from,” Nesbitt said. “We hope in the future that children will know where the songs came from. We try to stick with the old songs with tried-and-true education in them.</…….

Source: https://dailygazette.com/2021/10/28/nonprofits-caffe-lena-school-of-music-aims-to-introduce-more-children-to-acoustic-instruments/