KCS: So Jason – tell us how you got into music and started Sage Music?
JS: I got into teaching through the military. After sustaining a brain injury in 2003 in Iraq I was having difficulties and went to speech therapy. It was helpful, but not with complicated tasks – so I went into learning music and techniques to aide my own recovery. I now apply the same principles for teaching and learning for students as well.
JS: I was teaching privately since 1996, but I’ve had so much referral business that I couldn’t take them all on anymore. I got a small studio in Forest Hills and it’s just grown from there. We moved to LIC three years ago, and Greenpoint in the last couple months.
KCS: It’s great to see you so successful and bringing such enjoyment and education to children’s lives. What age do you think is best to get them started?
JS: That depends on your goals. Instruments such as the guitar and violin take two hands to make one sound, so those are great for around ages 6-7. Piano and drums take less coordination only requiring one hand to make one sound, so you can start them as early as ages 4-5.
JS: Of course, it’s still great to get kids exposed to music at an earlier age. We offer classes for ages 5 and under that are fun and engaging and about exposure, not training. They come to learn about music as well as a little singing using movement and rhythm. We also have a mom and me class for babies under 2 years of age. You can see them all on KidzCentralStation.com!
JS: There is a progression and I encourage parents to do the exposure classes for toddlers to see what their children prefer – kids don’t always know what they will like. So if they are exposed, they will see if they really love music or not.
KCS: Music really is great for kids. My toddler loves to scream and “dance” when music is playing. Even if a car drives by playing it, he will dance in his stroller. I agree it’s incredibly helpful and engaging. Can you share a great story with us about how it has impacted a student of your own?
JS: I had one student who was badly hurt many years ago, and he’s had trouble getting a job and/or even holding a job because of the injuries and demeanor. However playing music has given him a real sense of purpose. He’s found a home and something meaningful to do. It’s inspiring to see others as empowered by music as I have been.
KCS: That’s a beautiful story! Is there a certain instrument that students resonate with over others?
JS: Well, we have this new class where we introduce multiple instruments. Each week we show them a new instrument, and I am fascinated how excited they get over almost all of them! I thought they wouldn’t like this one, and love this one, but it’s exciting to see how kids in general respond to music and instruments.
JS: Most students stick through the programs for many many years.
KCS: Well I have to say we’re pretty excited ourselves to come and check out a class! Can you give us a little more info about Sage Music?
JS: We’re different than most schools – we have a mature atmosphere. Adults also take classes, or we have parents and children taking classes together. Fathers and sons can take guitar lessons together and it’s really cute. We encourage that. We also offer group classes for adults and weekly group practice sessions, as well as recitals. Sometimes we do private recitals, and then open to larger crowds too.
JS: We also offer performance opportunities outside in the public, such as concerts on the waterfront in LIC (Gentry Plaza Park). It’s usually as the sun is setting on Manhattan – it’s a really magical experience. You can learn more about the concert series here on LICconcerts.com. We are planning one concert this year to be a kids day – with children performers, and children’s entertainment. The schedule will be posted soon.
KCS: That sounds AMAZING! We’ll be sure to come check them out. Any other events?
JS: May 17th is the LIC Arts Open – http://licartsopen.org/ This is the free arts festival in LIC, which is running at the same time as LIC Springs – http://www.licpartnership.org/events/lic-springs – The free community block party, where we will be running the stage. Be sure to stop by and say hello!
Sage Music School focuses on teaching the skills that enable your children to play music with confidence and ease. The school’s educational core encompasses proper instrument mechanics, proper body usage, as well as the best methods for learning and practicing so that your kids will get the most from their lessons. The school offers private lessons and classes in guitar, piano, voice, violin, cello, clarinet, saxophone, flute, trumpet, drums, composition, theory, and more. In addition to traditional music instruction for children and adults, the school offers special music programs for students 0-6 years of age. Register for music classes, private music lessons, or contact Sage Music school.
Jason Sagebiel, an MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, is the owner of Sage Music school. He is a music educator, guitarist, composer, and the director of the NYC Guitar Orchestra. He has performed in major concert halls and on the radio. Sagebiel is the subject of two books on music, in addition to being on the music faculty of the City University of New York.