In the novel “Time Enough for Love,” Robert Heinlein wrote that “specialization is for insects.” While the list of skills every human being should be capable of included writing a sonnet, there was no mention of playing a musical instrument, perhaps it was just assumed. For centuries, a sure sign of a complete education was the ability to play some sort of musical instrument.
Regardless of the omission, the sentiment is spot-on: Human beings should never stop learning and trying new things, and learning to play an instrument is a fun way to expand your skill set. Hoboken’s got a long history of being a musical city, and while its days as a bohemian hotspot for musicians and clubs is gone, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to bring a little music into the world. Here are the best places to take some music lessons in the Mile Square.
Full disclosure: I took guitar lessons at the Guitar Bar for years. Spoiler alert: They’re great. Everyone there from Jim, the owner, to the rotating cast of instructors are professional musicians who love all kinds of music and really seem to enjoy passing their knowledge on to amateurs. At $125 a month for 4 lessons, or $35 for a single lesson, you can learn guitar, bass, drumming, piano, ukulele, banjo, violin, and vocals.
This is a pretty incredible place to have in your hometown, IMHO. It’s a full-on music school, offering private and group lessons in piano, violin, viola, flute, cello, guitar and voice. There are classes for all ages and levels of experience. Best of all, they offer 100% FREE lessons in music theory, and free group lessons for violin and cello every Tuesday from 3PM to 5PM. If you’ve always wanted to learn about music but don’t have any spare money, you can’t beat free lessons. Instruments are available for rental as well.
Getting your kids to learn music at a young age not only gives them an edge on the other kids, it’ll cultivate a love of creativity in their young brains that will pay dividends for years to come. Located at Local Barre in the Hudson Building at 1180 Maxwell Lane, Preschool of Rock is held every Wednesday at 11AM and 12PM. $239 for a 10-week session, $149 for siblings.
Offering guitar, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, and violin/viola lessons at $35 per 30-minute lesson ($32 if you pre-pay), $48 for 45-minute lesson, or $64 for an hour, the Tonal Art Music Center is located at 47 Harrison Street, on the border between Hoboken and Jersey City. While there’s a concentration on kids, the lessons are designed for any age and any level of experience.
There will always be something cathartic about pounding out a beat if that’s your jam the Drum Den at 333 Newark Street is for you. With a dedicated lesson room, lessons start at $35 for a half hour and $65 for an hour (you can pre-pay for four lessons at $125 and $230 respectively). The focus on all things drums means you’re going to get a focused lesson that’s backed up by the incredible knowledge and the stock of equipment on hand.
You can choose between pay-as-you go lessons (at $45 for a half hour) on piano, guitar, violin, viola,, electric fiddle (!), and voice, or becoming a member at $175 a year. One thing that’s great about GSSPA (located at 1018 Washington Street) is that you can add songwriting to any lesson, so if your goal isn’t just to be able to strum a few chords at the next cookout, you can get serious about writing songs and expanding your musical vocabulary.
Being able to pick up an instrument and play real music that sounds, you know, like songs is kind of incredible. If you’ve been stagnating, or you want to get your kids excited about creativity, check out these places for the best lessons in Hoboken.