Dive deep into the musical world with Lab Lessons

The school year is right around the corner and we here at MAMS are looking forward to a return to a somewhat normal school year. *fingers crossed*

With that, we are continuing to offer online lessons for all who are more comfortable with that option, but we are also happy to announce the return of our Lab lessons, which we, unfortunately, had to halt because of the pandemic.

Lab lessons are triple the fun of a regular private lesson at the exact same price.  Here’s how they work.

  1. Three students sign up for the same 60-minute spot.
  2. At Lab, students cycle through three workstations, which includes their lesson time.
  3. Students gain a deeper understanding of music and have a ton of fun in the process through hands-on activities and educational games.

From the teacher’s perspective, the lab lesson (formerly called 20/20/20 lessons) encapsulates everything we love most about one on one teaching.  In a regular private lesson, the teacher is able to tailor their teaching style to the student’s needs and interests.  The lab lesson goes a step further by incorporating hands-on activities that play into a child’s learning style.  Through written and listening activities, plus games and projects students can engage with on the iPad, we can improve their weaknesses, solidify their strengths, and explore their interests.  The world of music is vast and wide, and the Lab lesson gives us the opportunity to explore more of it.

From the parent’s perspective, the lab lesson simply gives you a better return on investment.  Studies have shown that students just learn better when they’re having fun.  Now, we work very hard to create a welcoming environment where we offer fun lessons here at Miss Anna’s Music School, but the Lab Lesson is one of the best ways to accomplish that.  Lab lessons also give students the opportunity to meet other children their age with the same interest in music that they have.  One of the things I didn’t like about lessons as a child was the way that practicing took me away from my neighborhood friends, none of whom played any kind of musical instrument.  But when I met kids in high school that were singers and piano players and guitarists, boy did my outlook change!  We may all love music, but years of experience have told me that it’s always more fun with friends, and more fun when you make friends through music.

Lab lessons also give you back a little something as the parent.  Thirty minutes is a great amount of time for a one on one lesson, but there’s not much you can get done while your child is enjoying their lesson.  In 60 minutes, however, you can grocery shop, do a Target run, or possibly even go back home and work there!  While we are always happy to see you hanging out at the studio while you wait  (the Keurig is just as much for you as it is for us teachers), we know that you are busy parents and may appreciate having the time to yourself to do what you need.

Music lessons work best when the child is interested and engaged in the content.  Whether that is through a traditional private lesson, through our Lab Lessons or through one of our group classes, our only goal is to ensure that your child is learning well and having fun doing it.  So…. what can we sign you up for today?

Red Hot Virtual Summer!

We made it to the summer! You and your kids are probably psyched to not have to be in front of a screen for hours a day doing school work. It’s time to relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer – we’ve all earned it!

Miss Anna’s Music School is open for one on one lessons if you are comfortable coming in person for them. To help us maintain social distances, we have altered our schedule so that only one of our teachers is working at a time. While this does bring us some limitations when it comes to scheduling, it does also bring us some peace of mind as well. Now all of our teachers can take advantage of the spacious studio 1 and really spread out. We even have a see-through barrier as an extra level of protection for our voice students, and for the occasional buddy lesson or group activity. All of our teachers are available for in-person piano, guitar, voice, and ukulele lessons. So if you’re ready to sign up – visit our new student sign up page.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to come back to in-person activities yet, for whatever reason.  That’s fine.  WE’VE TOTALLY GOT YOU COVERED!

Our teachers are also available for online lessons throughout the week as well.  Many of our students really persevered and excelled with our online lessons, so we are eager to move forward with continued online education for anyone who is interested.  You don’t even have to live in New Jersey!

Whether you are a current student of ours or not, we have a number of online group programs to give you something fun to do over the summer.  We have programs for kids of all ages – even the adults out there in the crowd.  Read on…

Rockstar 101 is a program we’ve been running since the beginning of the pandemic, and we’ve been having a lot of fun!  This group class is for students ages 8 and up, and students can have any amount of experience on any instrument – piano, guitar, voice or ukulele – or maybe they’re a total beginner and haven’t done a single lesson yet!  It doesn’t matter – we can almost guarantee your child will have fun making new friends and learning about music.

Each week we learn musicianship skills that will round them out as players – things like ear training, sight-reading, learning solfege, and a little bit of rhythm and theory review.  All of these are important skills that musicians learn along the way – having a class devoted just to this work will give these kids an edge and make them TRUE rockstars!  At the end of class, we always do a bit of singing.  Right now we’re working on a few classic summer bops and we have a ton of fun with them!  It’s basically a party where we are also, oh yeah, learning how to be amazing musicians!  Rockstar 101 meets on Wednesdays at 6:00, online, and the monthly tuition is $40.  You will need a Skype account to join the class.

Our next group offering is for adults only!  Ukulele Sip ‘n’ Strum is strictly for the over 21 set.  Bring your ukulele and your favorite adult beverage while you kick back in a comfortable spot somewhere in your house.  To be perfectly honest, Miss Anna might be teaching the class from her own backyard!  This class meets once a month and will focus on learning one set of easy chords for a well-known song.  Students should have their own ukuleles already, but no previous experience is necessary!  Everything you will need to know to play the song will be covered in the class, and any materials you may need will be emailed to you a few days before.

Ok, you don’t have to be over 21 to attend this class in your own home.  You don’t even have to pour yourself an alcoholic beverage. But this is definitely a class we are gearing towards adults only, so please be over 18.  If you are a teen or still in high school and interested in a class like this, have your parent drop us a line!

Our first Sip ‘n’ Strum will be on Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm.  Class will last about an hour.   Tuition for this one-off class will be just $10.  To register, email us directly at missannasmusicschool@gmail.com to set up payment and to get the link to the Zoom meeting. If you need help purchasing a ukulele, there are many affordable options on Amazon.  We can point you in the right direction.

Finally, we have a trio of free Facebook Live classes you are welcome to join every Tuesday morning.  Each class is geared towards a different group of music lovers, but all are welcome to join in on any class you wish!  All classes are totally free to attend and last about 30 minutes.

First – Sing-a-long at 11am.  This is for our youngest set of students.  Think pre-k and kindergarten students.  First and second graders.  During this class, we sing a variety of super kid-friendly songs, from patriotic songs, songs that utilize hand-play and American Sign Language, and some fun pop songs like Three Little Birds and Yellow Submarine.  We’ve been doing this all pandemic and we’ve been having a blast.

Next at 11:45, a Rock-a-long.  This class features easy to play pop songs in keys like C Major or G Major.  Feel free to sing along or play along on your instrument.  Miss Anna plays the guitar as she sings along for class, and will give guitar playing pointers as necessary.  This is a fun class for students of all ages, whether you are currently taking lessons with us (or elsewhere, we won’t discriminate!) or maybe you are an adult who hasn’t had a lesson in more years than you’d like to admit.  This will be a fun way to get back into it.

Finally, at 12:30, a listen-a-long with Miss Anna.  What’s a listen-a-long?  It’s a different set of songs each week for your enjoyment.  Sing along.. or don’t.  You don’t even have to pay attention to the video if you’d rather prop your phone or tablet somewhere and let Miss Anna play for you in the background as you enjoy your lunch or get some chores done around the house.  Miss Anna does try to honor requests when they come in, so don’t be afraid to make a suggestion.  Who doesn’t love a challenge??  (I’m still working on that KISS song, Markian! — Miss Anna)  Miss Anna plays a variety of music, so you never really know what she’ll play… until you tune in, of course.

Whatever you’re interested in this summer, whether it’s one on one instruction, or some fun group experiences, we hope you’ll join us at MAMS!  See you soon!

Intro to Ukulele Drop in Classes

Do you want to pick up a new, fun instrument?  Want to be able to accompany yourself when you sing?  Want to annoy your poodle? (oh wait, that’s just me)  A ukulele may be perfect for you (and maybe not for your poodle).

This summer, as part of our series of special programming for August Rush, we are including a drop in ukulele class for students of all ages.

If you have never picked up an instrument before, or are interested in adding ukulele to your repertoire, then this class is for you.

We will be meeting four times towards the end of the month, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 – 6:00 on August 21, 23, 28 and 30.  You can attend as many or as few classes as you want.  If you simply need a refresher, or are a great self-learner, you may want to drop in for just one or two classes.  For more direction, or simply to enjoy the full social aspect, come to all four classes. The cost per class is $20.


Students will learn to read music as well as play chords.  All students will be invited to join in our end of month performances here at the studio.

If you are a current student that wants to join the class, log in to the My Music Staff portal, navigate to the calendar, and sign up for the classes you wish to attend.  Or, simply email the office.

If you are a new student, please visit our New Student Sign Up form, and check off the Ukulele class.  Someone from our office will be in touch.

It’s Never too Late

“I used to take lessons…”

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do…”

“I just don’t have the time to practice…”

“I was never good at it…”

You might be an adult who has said something along these lines.  We’ve definitely heard enough adults through the years say things like this.  Many times, in between the lines, the sentiment is often the same, “I really want to take lessons again!” but a lot of other stuff keeps bubbling up and getting in the way.

We’re here to tell you, in the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf, “JUST DO IT!

Let’s follow some of these most common trains of thought to see where they lead to, and if we can’t change course.

“I used to take lessons when I was younger.”

This might be the most common one we hear.  Lots of parents had music lessons as a kid, and often, that is why they enroll their children in lessons. Interestingly, some parents get their kids started with lessons because of the experience they had as a child, while some parents start their children in spite of the experience they had themselves.  Even if a parent had a less than stellar exposure to music as an adolescent, they can still appreciate the importance of lessons, and the impact it can have on their child’s life.

But here’s the thing – there isn’t one path to music lessons and music mastery.  You don’t have to start at age 7 and work diligently for a decade or two before you can do something meaningful with an instrument.  You can start lessons at 27.  You can take a 27 year break.  The piano, the guitar, they’ll still be there whenever you come back to it.

And when you do come back to it, it’s going to be a completely different experience.  When you come back to lessons as an adult, you usually have a much better idea of music you want to learn, rather than your teacher spoonfeeding you every new piece.  You might also be more open to the choices your teacher makes for you (even I, Miss Anna, was that stubborn little kid sometimes).  Musical concepts you didn’t grasp as a child may come more easily to you now.  You might be more interested in the fundamentals of music than you were back then.  Where you may have learned more classical pieces as a child, you may be more interested in learning pop music or learning about improvisation or composition now (there’s definitely more of a trend to incorporate these things into lessons than there was 20 – 30 years ago).

The point is – regardless of the experience you had as a child, if the spark of interest in music is still there inside of you, we say go for it!

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do…”

Maybe you didn’t have lessons as a child.  For many of the reasons we already listed above, adulthood is an absolutely opportune time to start with music!  You’ve matured, you’re more disciplined, you know how to manage your time, you know what you do and don’t like, you’re able to commit to learning something new.  You understand, better than a child usually can, the lasting, positive impact that music lessons can have on your life.  You understand the importance of keeping an active mind as you mature and eventually move towards your senior years.  You know how important it is to have a hobby, if nothing else than as a stress reliever.

Your teacher will understand all your reasons for starting music lessons, too, and, because you’re both adults, you’ll be able to clearly communicate your “whys” when it comes to music lessons.  Adults are sometimes some of the best students to have because they know why they want to take lessons.  When you’re clear on the “why” then everything else becomes a lot easier.

So if you want to take music lessons, what’s holding you back?

“I just don’t have the time to practice.”

I don’t even know you, but if you’ve ever thought this to yourself, I can tell you, with confidence, you’re probably wrong.

“But, Miss Anna,” you protest, “I have a job, and two kids and all their activities, and, and, and…”

I know.

But here’s the thing about practicing.  You think you need to practice 30 minutes a day, every day.  But most days, you just barely have 10 minutes, so what’s even the point?  Well, as I say to my students young and old, 10 minutes is better than zero minutes, isn’t it?

In a perfect world, we’d all get to practice for an uninterrupted 30 minutes every day of the year (what a glorious world that would be!), but this sure isn’t a perfect world.  You live in the real world, and we teach in the real world, and we teachers can work with you on your practice goals, developing good practice habits, and effective practice techniques that will make the most of the spare 5 or 10 minutes you can put into your practicing.

And here’s something interesting that often happens, with students of any age.  If you can just make it to the piano bench, or pick up that guitar, that 10 minutes you think you just barely have in your day, very often magically becomes 20 or even 30 minutes.  Think of all the times you are just going to very quickly check something on Facebook, and an hour later you’re still scrolling through pictures of puppers and doggos!  That very same thing can happen to you if you just let yourself “check something on your instrument” for a few minutes.  An hour later, you’ll still be there playing away!

If you’re afraid you won’t have the time to have a meaningful experience with music, then let us assure you, we can help you have a meaningful experience with music with whatever time you have to give to it.

Finally, the worst thing to hear from any student of music, of any age…

“I was never good at it.”

Well, hold your horses, and stop right there.  Were you never good at music because you felt that way, or because some judgemental adult in your life made you feel that way?  Natural talent helps a lot – in anything – but the naturally gifted musicians are not the only ones out there making music.  The music world, just like any other area of life, whether it’s the arts, sports, business or politics, is full of people who are working with their natural talents and people who have had to work hard for every little skill they possess.

And anyway, you don’t have to be the next Arthur Rubenstein, Jimi Hendrix, Chick Corea, Renee Fleming, [insert famous musician here] to enjoy making music.  If you want to be the next big thing in music, you can work hard at it – Pharrell Williams was 40 when his hit “Happy” debuted.  And if all you want to do is be able to play some songs around a campfire or impress your friends at karaoke, those are important – and fulfilling – goals, too.

So if the thought that “you were never good at music” is the only thing holding you back, throw that idea right in the trash, and give it another try.

Taking lessons as an adult can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your lifetime.  You will be happy you took the chance, and we will be happy to work with you.  Head over to our New Student Signup Page to get started.  We can’t wait to see you at the studio.