Thinking about investing in your child through the rewarding experience of music? In the bouquet of life, there are many experiences available that are rich in their reward and highly fulfilling. One of these experiences is that of music. As a musician of three decades, I can’t think of many more mediums that have allowed me to have a veritable cornucopia of experiences and emotions – high and low and everything in between. There is joy, melancholy, frustration, sympathy, longing, pining, contentment, and more.
Learning to continue on in the face of frustration while traveling the musical path, teaches one to develop extended focus, patience, zeal, and tenacity. One must be creative to solve many of the physical and mental barriers to learning. These become parts of your personality. Just think of the personalities of your musical friends.
Of course, being a musician doesn’t happen in a vacuum and serves a base purpose when only done in isolation. In addition to the variety of personal experiences, the people I have met and shared a multitude of experiences with are some of the best I’ve had in life. The aforementioned character traits are generally found in abundance in all musicians – for you can’t excel within music without having these traits to a high degree. It helps connect people across languages, cultures, classes, you name it.
Having said all that, there is another practical benefit beyond the metaphysical and spiritual: the ability to play darn good music. There are quite a few places in the South Coast to choose from, but if you are looking for world class instruction, high quality instruments, and an effective curriculum, you really don’t need to look beyond my personal favorite, Double Bar Music in Westport.
Double Bar offers private lessons, group classes, ensembles/bands, instrument accessory sales, special order sound equipment, instrument repair, and orchestra/band instrument rentals for students – a serious, full service music center. There are even online lessons!
You may be asking “Why way out in Westport?” Owners and Westport natives Marcelle Gauvin, and her daughters Kelsey Jacobsen and Kimber-lee Jacobsen were born and raised in Westport and have been lifelong residents. Their sense of loyalty goes beyond their favorite town, but they have seen the struggle that the Westport school system has gone through to maintain their music programs through the years. They felt it would be a way to bring music to the community of students who need it and that their presence would be a boon – they were more correct than they thought, as word-of-mouth about Double Bar spread like wildfire and their reach with clientele now extends to Dartmouth, Fall River, and of course, New Bedford and beyond.
One of the places their reach has extended to, is the Berklee College of Music, where Marcelle is an associate professor of voice. She is also the head of the UMass Dartmouth jazz voice studio
What separates Double Bar Music from many of the other music shops in the region, besides the talent, service and friendly staff? Their strong Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) voice studio: they are certified to train healthy vocal technique for pop, rock, R&B, country, music theater, jazz, and alternative singers. They also offer classical technique so all of the students learn to sound stylistically appropriate.
There are ensemble and band programs, such as: a Capella groups, rock bands, string ensembles, songwriting classes, improvisation classes, etc. and regular performance opportunities for the students. The students can collaborate with other students or work with Double Bar instructors. So the instruction there is not the “walk in, get taught, walk off into the sunset until the next lesson.” The instructors have a genuine interest in seeing students translate their skill into the public arena – I’d say it’s a passion.
One fun example of this is the very popular “Summer of Rock” program: an 8-week summer session that takes place every June. Kelsey and crew organize the musicians into bands based on age and skill level. Rehearsals take place 2-4 times per week and they work on songs that THEY want to do. At the end of the session they put on a 2 hour concert! These kids will be playing at venues that you visit soon enough!
The first “Summer of Rock” performed at St. Theresa’s Feast in Tiverton, RI for over 1,000 people and the subsequent event was at the Battleship Brewhouse (video) in Fall River for a packed house. By the reports from the kids and audience members, the shows were smashing successes. Here is a video of the Summer of Rock at St. Theresa’s Feast featuring an 8 year old drummer:
The ensemble programs come in two categories: educational which focuses on music theory, the industry or technology, and performance which prepares the student for the stage – from communicating with other musicians and the audience or developing a presence. Each lasts anywhere from 6-12 weeks, but can be as short as one week in length. It’s a focused, powerful way to impart a substantial amount of knowledge through experience.
A great way to see some of what Double Bar does, is to stop in and see one of their Hump Day Cabarets, which take place at the Heron Dance, Yoga, and Meditation Studio and open to the public. Many musicians, beginners and professionals, come together to make music purely for the love of it. Adults and kids that had never had the courage or opportunity to perform take the stage to share their art. Kelsey mentioned that these Hump Day Cabarets are by far and away the most rewarding and favorite moments by the staff.
So, what age should a child begin his or her venture into music? Kelsey suggest 7-8 years old as a prime age to begin. Of course, it is entirely dependent up the maturity level of a student and she does have some as young as 4 years of age. On the flip side, if you are an adult, don’t think you can’t partake in this whole experience. You are never too old to start and think of what kind of experiences you can have by taking up music with your son or daughter? Can you say impromptu jam session?! You’ll get to share some of your favorite bands growing up as I do with my daughter. Conversation comes easy and you may actually come across as “hip” and “cool” and not square!
The people at Double Bar understand that musical instruments can sometimes be expensive, and no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on one to find out it will turn into a fancy coat rack. Or like clothes, they are outgrown and made obsolete. With that in mind, they offer a variety of affordable musical instrument rentals: clarinet, flute, percussion kits, trombone, trumpet, viola/violin, saxophones, cello, oboe, and horns.
Double Bar even has a “Rent To Own” program whereby your rental fee is applied to the purchase of that instrument. If the moment comes, where you have fallen in love with your instrument, you can buy it at any time at a discounted price!
So whether you are looking to rent an instrument, learn to jam, want to expand your horizons, be a bedroom jammer or become a famous rockstar you’ll find a warm welcome at Double Bar Music. You’ve nothing to lose, by simply heading to Double Bar and browsing around and soaking up some of the positive energy that comes from everyone there. Tell them that Joe sent you and that you want the special treatment!
Double Bar Music
1093 State Rd
Phone: (774) 319-5554
Kimber-lee Jacobsen – voice lessons.
Steve Breese – piano
Patrick Cardeiro – guitar/bass/ukulele/banjo/mandolin
Matthew Cavanaugh – drums & percussion
Michael Corriea – guitar
John Fernandes – guitar
Bill Ferri – piano & bass
Linsey Govoni – trumpet
Tyler Kingsland – guitar/bass/sax/trombone – Tyler also handles repairs for stringed instruments (guitar, bass, violin, viola, cello, etc)
Timothy Mason – upright & electric bass
Tom O’Leary – drumset & percussion
Cory Silva – sax/flute/clarinet
Brianne Vieira – classical voice/violin/viola/cello
You can read more detail about each here.