We’re super excited about the official launch of our new WSBR: Sunburst Radio program! In this program, students will learn the ins and outs of music production, recording, beat making, podcasting and more! Check out the first episode and sign up for a free trial of the class!

Learn more about our teacher of the month, Piano and keyboard teacher Max Somerville. Check out the new album from Max’s band Wreckloose here

maxteacher

What kind of music do you like to play?
When it comes to playing music, my favorite kind is the kind you play with other people! Whether it’s with a band of friends I've been playing with for years, or someone I've just met, music has always been my favorite form of communication. If I had to pick a genre though I would probably say funk/soul. It's just really fun to play!

How did you get into music?
My father is a pianist and a songwriter and he introduced me to The Beatles White Album when I was five. I dug it so much that I asked him to teach me the piano for the only Ringo Starr song on the album "Don't Pass Me By". But it wasn't until I was 14, when my friends told me they needed a bass player for their band (I truly didn't know what bass was at that time) that I really got into music. I started writing music for the group, and I realized I had an application for everything I learned so far. I used the piano as a tool to write music and it all just started making sense.


What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?
My favorite thing about being a teacher is getting to talk about, listen [to], and play music with so many people! As a teacher, I am still constantly learning about music, and many times, I find myself learning something new while teaching something I thought I already fully understood.


Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?
Be fearless! Know that you're capable of achieving anything you put your mind to. Music doesn't have many roadmaps, and that can be confusing and intimidating. But that's also why it's great. You really have the freedom to create and communicate in a way that's completely your own.

In addition to being our beloved office manager, Naomi is also an amazing singer! Here’s a little Q and A with her about her musical background:

NaomiWhat kind of music do you like to play?  

I am a vocalist who likes to sing pop, r&b and gospel music.

How did you get into music?

I have always been naturally drawn to music, I started off as a dancer in a dance company years ago.  As a child, I always sang at home, church and school choirs. I had a fear of singing front and center, so I started singing in choirs and small musical groups.  However, I did not come out of my shell until I was an adult. After I realized my potential, the doors began to open and opportunities started knocking on my door!

What's your favorite thing about being at Sunburst?

My favorite thing about Sunburst to having the ability to be surrounded by like-minded people, who have a passion for music and inspiring students to reach their goals no matter what level they are.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

Be comfortable being uncomfortable, be confident with being uncertain.... but never give up when things get hard. Pushing through challenges is what makes you grow! So keep going and don't quit!

Now is the time to sign up for our winter recitals! Talk to your instructor about performing and stop by the desk during your next lesson to sign up.

We will also be closing each recital with a sing-along version of the classic “Twist and Shout” by Bert Russell, in the style of The Beatles via the Isley Brothers. This will require “all hands on deck”, so we are hoping to get participation from each instrument. Here's a link to the chord sheet if you'd like to get a head start. We also have some copies ready in the studio.

See you in December!

kikagaku moyoErnie’s Pick of the Month

Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples

Hailing from Tokyo, Kikagaku Moyo doesn’t take cues from past psych-rock tropes like heavy guitars, reverb-drenched vocals or thundering drums. Instead, employ an impressive array of sounds that feels like a new chapter for international music. “Masana Temples” is their 4th full length LP and has garnered them a significant amount of recognition stateside. Throughout the record, Kikagaku Moyo weaves through Thai-funk grooves, minimalist bass layers, and catchy hooks that invite the listener to interpret the lyrics to fit the mood of the song. “Dripping Sun” is a great example of all of the different territory they can cover in one song while still remaining cohesive and listenable. If you like what you hear on “Masana Temples”, check out “House In The Tall Grass” and take a trip to Baltimore on November 14th to see them on their fall US tour.


TL;DR: Japanese psych band that everyone can listen to.


Key tracks: Dripping Sun, Amayadori, Gatherings

https://www.kikagakumoyo.com/

SHUCSince 2010, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has honored the people and places that make Squirrel Hill a great place to live, work and do business. The Squirrel Hill Treasure Dinner has become an annual celebration and fundraiser for SHUC. Each year they recognize and congratulate individuals, businesses, and organizations that are integral parts to the community. We’re happy to announce that Sunburst is one of this year’s Treasures! The Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 30th. You can learn more about this special event and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition at https://shuc.org

FinOur October Teacher of the Month is guitar and music production instructor Fin! 

What kind of music do you like to play?

When I play guitar, jazz. I like learning old solos and trying to understand how my favorite guitarists thought about and approached their music. On the computer I like to compose hip-hop beats from old samples. I get a big kick out of finding music you wouldn't expect in a hip-hop/electronic song and turning it into something catchy and fun to listen to.

How did you get into music?

I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old and shortly thereafter got involved in an after school music program that focused on playing R&B and Jazz. The teachers there really got me hooked.

What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?

I really enjoy finding out what students are into. Not just what music they listen to but what T.V. shows they've been watching or video games they're playing. It helps me get a clearer picture of what and even how they want to learn.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

Think long-term! No one gets good at something overnight!

Check out these hilarious music videos from this past summer’s Camp Studio! TacoVille? Don’t mind if we do!

 

IMG 0228Annina is our September teacher of the month! 

How did you get into music?

I always had access to music when I was a kid - my dad had several guitars and a solid record collection of classic rock, Italian folk, and Polka. It was sort of a tradition to put on a record or the radio while we cooked on Sundays. Lots of Tarantella and “when the moon hits your eye like a big (you know it)”. Learning an instrument was never a question and my parents were very supportive of me exploring my interests. I went from playing the violin, to the trumpet, to getting braces and quitting trumpet, to finally playing drum set and guitar.

What kind of music do you like to play?

Soul and R&B through and through–particularly that of the 80’s! My songwriting is inspired by current artists whose sound is reminiscent of that era like Emily King and Regine Chassagne.

What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?

Teaching is a whole lotta fun. Part of it is getting to know lots of different people and learning about their interests. Part of it is helping them explore the thing that makes them happy. It’s sort of a covert trade. I’m always learning something new about music, teaching, my students, and about myself.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

I lean toward self preservation in my practice. Though I’m guilty of leaning in that direction too much sometimes, I think there’s something to it. In order for me to practice drum set or write a song, I need to be intrinsically motivated–it needs to feel fun. I spent a lot time in college feeling stressed out about the quality and accuracy of my playing to the point that it didn’t feel enjoyable anymore. So yes practice, and work toward your goals, but also take breaks and shift from your routine! Have fun!

Check out these tracks from two of our young music production students who go by Smiley_Face and Chillplay respectively:


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