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The Art of Teaching Music: Featuring John Payne Music Center

By Kristen Bosse

Located right across the street from the Brookline Village T stop is a quaint and unassuming brick building with the sign "John Payne Music Center" overhead. Although its outside appearance may not be dazzling, the wonder of musical enjoyment awaits inside. The John Payne Music Center is a non-profit music school that provides high quality instruction to students of all ages and skill levels. John Payne, the school's Founder and Director, had an extensive national performing career, including playing and recording with Bonnie Raitt and Van Morrison, before settling down and starting the school. Since then, it has been well known in the Brookline area for provide excellent and patient instruction to complete beginners.

On What They Offer...

The teachers at the JPMC offer private music lessons on saxophone, flute, clarinet, recorder, piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, trumpet, trombone, french horn, baritone horn, violin, drums, and voice. In addition, they have twenty-four student ensembles at various levels and musical styles. The school itself offers one-on-one lessons or group session with an ensemble group. First time customers are free to try out either with no obligation to continue or pay for more. If they are not satisfied at any point, they can leave with a week's notice. Although this may seem little, most music instructors require payment for a full semester upfront, therefore forcing the student to participate for a long period of time.

John Payne, again Founder and Director at the school, elaborated on why his particular establishment turns out some of the best musicians in the area.
"I think it is the experience level, patience, and friendliness of the teachers and the accent on enjoyment. We are a low key family-style place that treats the complete beginner with the same care and respect that we give to more advanced players. We realize that the joy of making music is the most important focus, that, of course, you need to learn things and practice, etc, but always with the lessons tailored to the students interests and goals and how to get the student to where he wants to go."

On Why Their Teaching is Superb...

"The most important characteristic a music teacher must have is a genuine and deeply felt desire to help the student learn to play music", Payne states. Over at his music center, Payne makes sure his teachers are the most patient in town. Whether you are a complete beginner, or require some more advanced instruction, the instructors teach the student with the same amount of patience, attention, and respect. More importantly, the teacher should have a genuine desire to open up another to experience the joy of playing that instrument.

John Payne Music Center is also home to perhaps the largest adult student small band program in the Greater Boston area. Altogether there are seventeen different adult groups playing jazz, rock, R&B and Latin music, and an additional 7 groups for kids age 10 to 18. These groups meet weekly and experience the joy of group music making. Outside of the classroom, the groups often perform in public, including performances at Ryles Jazz club several times a year.

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