Administrator’s Note: Though Michael is not mentioned much in the article, I find it to be very much in line with his love of music and children, especially since he started in music when he was a just a baby. I think that Michael would have been ideal as a music teacher or as an administrator for a program like this had he not been famous. Very positive article. CP ♥
Source: Asbury Park Press – By Bonnie Delaney
Steven Franklin, 13, Annandale, on bass guitar, leads Lakehouse Music Academy students during a lesson. Singing (at left) is Treshaun Pilgrim, 11, Asbury Park. In the back (from left) are: Noah Lipton, 14, Ocean Township; Oswaldo Rojas, 11, Asbury Park; Holly Potter, 15, Upper Freehold; Jessica Brinkerhoff, 13, Clinton; and Tanya Pena, 13, Asbury Park. / MARY FRANK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ASBURY PARK — It’s 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon and the joint is jumpin’.
Eleven-year-old Ethan Kautz of Ocean Grove heads into one of seven private practice rooms at the Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park for his 45-minute drum lesson.
Ethan later emerges from his lesson and enters the large rehearsal room with a stage, a drum kit, microphones, amplifiers and large glass windows so parents can watch. He is joined by seven more young musicians, including two keyboardists who wander in when they are done with their lessons.
Then, music director Albie Monterrosa takes over as the students learn to play Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
“How many measures of drums are there before the bass comes in?” he asks. The answer: two bars, and then there is the guitar riff.
“What’s a riff?” Monterrosa asks them. Answer: a phrase of notes or a phrase of a melody that gets put together and is played over and over throughout the song.
Albie Monterrosa instructs students during a group lesson at Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park. / MARY FRANK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Ethan is one of 130 students from throughout the area who have come to learn music at the academy, which opened this past March.
“He started lessons this summer and loved it so much that he wanted to come back during the school year,” said his mother, Tina Plantamura.
“When we saw them on stage and the connection he had with the other musicians and his brothers, I knew this is something that is good for them,” she said. “They are learning patience, appreciation and grace, as well as how to work with other musicians in a band.”
The musical mission of the academy – which was founded by Jon Leidersdorff, a musician, commercial composer, producer and engineer – is to engage and enrich students through musical education by promoting performance, composition, collaboration and scholarship.
Lakehouse Music Academy owner and musician Jon Leidersdorff looks on as students practice during a group music lesson. / MARY FRANK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Leidersdorff said his goal for Lakehouse was to create the infrastructure to keep Asbury Park an important player in the music scene, hence his vision to build a top-notch facility where you can learn to play guitar, drums or keyboard from working rock musicians, play in a band, rehearse for your next gig, buy a new or used instrument, record in one of two state-of-the art recording studios, or even stay in an apartment on site if you are playing a concert in Asbury.
The three-story building overlooking Wesley Lake underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation over several years that transformed it from a vacant warehouse to what it is now. Leidersdorff declined to divulge the exact cost of the renovation and accoutrements, but added that musicians from all over the world would love to record in the studios designed by prolific studio designer John Storyk, which feature recording gear like the 1972 class A Neve 8024.
“The studios feature 800-pound doors lined with concrete to aid in soundproofing and there are 35 vintage amplifiers, a guitar collection, and a conservatory grand piano C7,” he said.
Lessons are offered in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, piano, harmonica and string and woodwind instruments. There are multiple programs, including the cadet program for ages 6 months to 6 years, the “Get Started” program for ages 6 and up, the core program, a college prep program, songwriting, adult group sessions and an introduction to audio engineering.
“It’s awesome. I have such a love for teaching kids to play music and seeing them get it and work together,” said Monterrosa, a singer, songwriter and recording artist who is the founder of deSol, a rock band with a Latino vibe. His band toured nationally for seven years, sharing marquees and tours with bands such as R.E.M., Blues Traveler, Los Lobos, The Legendary Wailers and Widespread Panic.
He points out one of the brand new students on the stage.
“Oswaldo just walked in today and he is already playing chords (on a guitar),” Monterossa said.
There are also special workshops, including the Rebel Girls program which runs through Jan. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays for girls ages 9 to 18. The goal of the program, being taught by Maggie Pakutka, is to empower female students through music education that features creativity, collaboration and self-confidence. The format includes a private lesson and a group lesson with the goal of having the student bands perform at the Big Gig, a live performance event that will be taking place Jan. 26 at the Stone Pony.
Pierre Michel, 12, of Neptune plays drums during a group lesson at Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park. / MARY FRANK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A Broadway Intensive on Sundays that started Oct. 20 is being directed by Theresa Fowler and features guest instructors such as Constantine Maroulis, a Tony Award nominee for best actor in a musical for “Rock of Ages” and “American Idol” finalist.
The Songwriter Series that runs through Jan. 6 is directed by Allie Moss, a musician and songwriter from the Jersey Shore, with guest instructors such as Glen Burtnik, Charlotte Sometimes, Bess Rogers, and Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers.
David Ades, the Lakehouse marketing director, said the academy is also accepting tax-deductible donations from individuals, groups or companies who would like to sponsor a promising student for the music program.
“We have several students who are already taking lessons due to generous donors and hope to launch a program to encourage more contributions,” he said.