Who Loves Music Lessons? Xea Annecka Kruger!

XEA circleSince we think that Off The Wall offers the best, funnest, most awesome music lessons, we wanted to take a minute to introduce you to another one of our fantastic students!

Nine-year-old Xéa Annecka Kruger has been a student at Off The Wall School of Music for almost four years.  She takes both voice and piano lessons with Sarah Angel and aspires to learn even more instruments!  We did a little question and answer session with her recently and here are some of her responses.

What is/are your favorite song(s) right now? “Dear Future Husband”, “Feel the Light” and “Blank Space”

What is your favorite band?  Can you say why? “Maroon 5” because I like dancing to their music.

Do you have any pets?  How many, what kind, and what are their names? 1 cat named Moco

What do you want to be when you grow up? Wildlife Veterinarian

We love having you take lessons here. What is your favorite thing about Off The Wall School of Music? Recitals

Thank you Xéa for giving us the opportunity to get to know you a little better.  We can’t wait to hear you perform again at our next recital!



3 Lists Telling us what’s Happening this Weekend — music and beyond…

Are pirates your thing?  Maybe Legos?

seafair pirates

A couple cool lists of local weekend summertime happenings:

1) Here’s a good list from Seattle’s Child, which includes things like a Seafair Pirate Landing and an edible garden tour at West Woodland Elementary school, which is a few minutes northwest of our school.

2) The Stranger Music calendar is awesome.  You can sort by type of music, select specific days, venues.  Has free shows, all-ages shows…a little something for everyone!

3) Who didn’t love their little red tricycle?  Well, now you can have it all the time!  Well, Red Tricycle grew up and now provides news as well as this handy, dandy and fairly comprehensive list of things that are happening for area families.  From music and plays, to camps and LEGOS!  (We love legos.)  And you can look ahead to other weekends, too!



Student Spotlight: Madison Herbst

Hi Everyone!

We wanted to introduce you to 15-year-old Madison Herbst, who has been a student with us for two years.  Madison participated in an interview with us and we learned that she can play drums, bass (upright & electric), as well as the alto saxophone!  What an amazing accomplishment!

Even more amazing are some of the answers to our Off The Wall questions.

OTW: What are your favorite songs right now?
Madison: Dream a Little Dream of Me performed by The Mamas & the Papas (check out Mama Cass in this video!)

OTW: What are your favorite bands and why?
Madison: Miles Davis Quintet because I look up to the musicians and I love jazz.  Also, Chon & Tricot because I’ve been getting into Math Rock which uses weird time signatures & intricate rhythms.  It’s really fun to listen to….you have to have an ear for it.

OTW: Do you have any pets?
Madison: No pets right now but I have a lot plants…an orchid and a succulent.  If I could have a pet right now I’d like to have a bearded dragon.  You can take them for walks….they’re AWESOME!

Simple pan fried rice noodles with Chinese broccoli and pork.

Pad See Ew: Simple pan fried rice noodles with Chinese broccoli and pork. YUM!

OTW: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Madison: Pad See Ew…yummmm (We agree! Click here for recipe!)

OTW: We love having you take lessons here. What is your favorite thing about Off The Wall School of Music?Madison: All the teachers are really nice.  They care about you learning and really getting to know the music.  They are fun to talk to & they have a lot of experience they pass along.  They each have they have their own unique teaching style that makes learning fun and it’s not boring.

Fantastic answers, Madison!  Thank you so much for sharing.

(And, if she ever gets that bearded dragon…they seem pretty tolerant of affectionate cats, too!)



Songs For The “Good Old Summertime”

Recognize this?  It looks a lot like an early summer in Seattle…



Indeed, the heat wave has come early to Seattle this year. As we settle in for what looks to be quite a warm summer, let’s get in the mood with a virtual journey through some classic hot-weather hits.

First, a little background….

In the very early days of recorded music, it was thought that when a song referred to a specific time of year, sales would drop once that season was over.  “In the Good Old Summertime,” recorded in 1902, broke the mold and we are glad it did.  The song was adapted by different musicians for decades – even more than a century later by this modern barbershop “quartet.”

Here are some of the summertime, seasonal hits that followed:

Though Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” was not a theatrical success, its songs received attention right after the show’s opening in 1935.  “Summertime” has become one of the show’s most famous, as there have been an estimated 33,000 recordings covers over the years. Often sung or played at an easygoing pace, here you will hear Billy Stewart swing it furiously, unleashing some of the fastest, most animated scatting you have ever heard. A Top 10 single in 1966, it was one of Stewart’s biggest hits before his tragic death in 1970.


“Hot Fun In The Summertime”
The year after show-stealing performance at Woodstock, Sly and the Family Stone released this laidback 1969 single, which reached #2 on the pop charts.  It has become a classic summertime hit.

Summer Breeze”
Originally recorded in 1972 by Seals and Croft as a wistful folk-pop number, the Isley Brothers offer their twist with a pronounced funk beet that still sounded bright and summery.  Ron Isley’s shimmering falsetto lead vocal and younger brother Ernie’s fiery guitar solo complete the package.


Another song that salutes the carefree, relaxing nature of the season , this number was recorded as for War’s 1976 Greatest Hits compilation.  It had climbed as high as #7 on the pop charts by September.  Like most of War’s songs, which often evolved gradually from jam sessions, the writing on “Summer” was credited to every member in the group.


Check with your teacher about learning these songs as well as other great summer songs.

— Eric Andrews



It feels like summer!

The weather has heated up and Headshot - Chris circlesummer is upon us! Soon school will be out and everyone will be heading out to enjoy the sunshine and explore the world. AWESOME!

It has been an exciting year so far at Off the Wall. We’ve added new staff members, increased our social media presence, and are doing our best to capture and share all of the awesomeness that is our school. Who wouldn’t want to brag about the best students in the world?!

Have you seen our new waiting room décor? There are new posters and even staff pics. We are always looking to change and improve so if you have any ideas for us, please drop us a line! We love receiving your input.

I’m really excited about how totally awesome our May Rock-cital went! Everyone had great performances. If you have a moment, check out some of the pics and clips on our Facebook album (public for everyone!) And, while you are there, “LIKE” us so that you can keep up with all the things we are doing.

Even though you’ll be basking in the sunshine, don’t forget to keep those instruments going. Joining up with one of our Rock Band Camps is a great way to do just that. We start June 22nd and there is room in several camps so, if you are interested in joining a band, we’d love to have you! Or, if you just hang out, jam a bit, eat ice cream…that’s cool too.

With all of the awesome things you will be doing this summer, we realize summer lesson scheduling can be chaotic. Please let us know if you want to make any schedule changes. We will gladly switch you to ad hoc lessons. If you want to move your recurring lesson to a new time, we can do that!

It is wonderful watching our students improve! If we don’t see you at one of our camps, we hope that you continue to practice this summer and prep for our next recital in the fall!

We look forward to spending the most rockin’ summer ever with our OTW family!


— Chris



Summer in the City! Back of your neck getting dirty and gritty?

Hot Time!  Relax with this cool hit from 1966!



Hello … Is this thing on?

Headshot - Chris

Since I don’t get to talk with everyone as much as I’d like I’m going to trot out this idea of posting a little something here every month.  And maybe you’ll read it and just get the warm and fuzzy feeling that we are having a really awesome conversation.  Maybe not, but I do wish we all had more time to connect.

So, if you have the inclination…by all means, read on!

continue reading..



#tbt: To when pirates were cool!

Arrrggggh!  Ye Mateys!  Let’s rock the recital!

You don’t want to miss out on this kind of fun, do you?  Then make sure you’ve signed up for our May 17th recital.  You can do it here!  And we’ll see you there!

tbt chris 2014 recital



This week’s guest teacher was….

Look who stopped by yesterday on Star Wars Day. You know…”May the Fourth be with you.” Bada bing.

May the Fourth Be With You



The Future of Jazz. Here in Seattle?

Fa La La! ‘Tis the (Jazz) Season!

Essentially ellington photo

Like Jazz?  Like kids?  Like kids playing jazz?  Well, then this is the time of year for you to pay close attention.  That’s because the country’s youth jazz community is in the throes of of its annual jazz concert competition calendar.

Lionel Hampton Jazz Competition was last month.  The Reno Jazz Competition was last weekend.  The Essentially Ellington Competition — the granddaddy of them all! — is in two weeks in NYC.

And, once again, the country is watching…Seattle.

Sure, the jazz programs of Roosevelt High School and Garfield High School are national perennial favorites.  But check out this list of last week’s winners at Reno and you’ll see there are lots lots of schools from the Seattle-area — middle schools, high schools, private schools.  We are jazz happy here!

And, please don’t forget to cheer on Roosevelt, Garfield and Mount Si high schools May 7-9 at Ellington.  And, win or lose (they both can’t win, afterall!) when they return to Seattle…they’ll be putting on some BIG shows for those of us who didn’t make the trek to NYC.

Here’s a nice write-up from KOMO News about our high schools produce the best jazz bands.  Coincidence?



#tbt: Seattle Grunge

Ever been interested in hearing the gritty back story of Seattle grunge?  Well, who can tell it better than the guys who lived it … and created it?  Check out this this Rock Cellar interview — and some great pics — with Mark Yarm, author of “Everyone Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge,” a Time Magazine Best Book of the Year.  The town the book refers to, btw, is our town, Seattle.

If the interview compels you to peruse the book, then you can grab it here at Amazon or it might be available at your local Seattle Public Library.

Nirvana: Cobain, Novoselic, and Grohl (credit: Ed Sirrs)



Save the Date: Spring Recital time!

It’s time to show off those new songs at our Spring Recital!!!

Hard Rock

We’re excited to announce our Spring Recital will be held again at the Hard Rock Cafe near Pike Place Market!!! They have a great stage, great service and great food.

Invite your family, friends and fans to come watch you perform. Your teacher can help you start preparing 2 songs now so you are as comfortable as possible. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice taking the stage in a safe environment and celebrate all your hard work! For those of you who want to perform more than two songs, there may be time to perform an additional song at the end of your session.

The day will be divided into 1-hour sessions of similar age and ability and we will notify you of your recital session time as we finalize who will be joining us for the fun!

Please Come Hungry:  The Hard Rock will have a special kids menu prepared, and will be looking forward to us ordering food and drinks. There will also be extra staff on hand to take care of any of your needs.

(There is no fee if you would just like to come watch and cheer other students on. Just email us and let us know you’re coming so we can get an idea of the total number of people attending.)

Date: Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Time: 11am – 7:00pm. Each session will last one hour.
Location: Hard Rock Cafe in Downtown Seattle
Fee: $15 per performer – added to your May invoice.
Parking: There are parking lots and garages nearby. Our favorite garage is The West Edge, located on 2nd and Pike, it has pretty reasonable rates for downtown and is just across the street.



Review: Eddie Vedder, Sonic Jam at Easy Street Records

A big Seattle music lover, Charles Cross was on hand to witness generations colliding last weekend at Easy Street Records.  It was part of the celebration of International Record Store Day.

(Didn’t know there was such a thing?  Our bad.  We’ll give you a head’s up next year.)

Meanwhile, if you missed last weekend’s shindig, check out Cross’s review in the Seattle Times:  Read on.  Rock on.

Eddie Vedder with the Sonics at Easy Street Records Charles Cross
(Eddie Vedder w/ Sonic at Easy Street Records, Photo credit:  Charles Cross)



Tip o’ the Month: Practice = Skittles?

We are all about candy here at Off the Wall.  And we are cool with bribery…and we think it’s awesome when we can combine the two.

So, here is a friendly reminder about our “Practice = Skittles” program here at Off the Wall.
OK, so maybe it’s not really an official program but it still works.  And it works a TON better, when you use a practice chart.

We’ve made a handy practice chart because we think it’s helpful to have reminders to practice. Post it where you think it will help the most.

Maybe your fridge?  So you are reminded about your music when you are eating.
Your desk?  Music practice is kinda like homework, right?
Your front door.
Your forehead.
Your sister’s forehead.
Your dog.

You get the idea.

Put the chart whenever you think it will work best to remind yourself to … practice. And when you’re reminded to practice, then you’re reminded about … Skittles.  See what we did there?

You will get one skittle for for every day you practice and, remember, lesson time is practice time so, BONUS!

Print this at home or find one at the school.  Our apologies to the dog.  But we are all for what works.

Off the Wall Practice Chart



New Rock “Stars” at Off the Wall

Check out the newest Rock “Stars” at Off the Wall!

Rock "Stars"

Sign up for a free lesson today! http://offthewallschoolofmusic.com/scheduling/



Learn How to Read Drum Music fast with this Cool Drum Instruction video!

Are you interested in learning drums, but a little anxious about reading the music??

Check this quick reference video out!!

Rob Litten from DrumsTheWord made the lesson. He did a great job explaining how to read music for drums. At Off the Wall we like to have students use videos as much as possible in their lessons to help them learn faster, and it’s FUN!!

“This three part video series takes you through the basics of reading and writing drum score notation, from total beginner to intermediate level – nothing is left unexplained.” from by www.DrumsTheWord.com



That Face, That Face, That Guitar Face!

It is very easy to get carried away when playing music, especially when you are in the middle of a real kicking solo. Not only does it show in your playing, but it also shows on your face.


Some players “feel” the music they are making in certain unique ways. Their reactions can be quite a sight to see…and that is where some fun can be had.


Imagine if a musician had their instrument replaced with something scary…slimy…like a giant s-s-s-slug!

A variety of reactions could include…







Or…well, we are not quite sure what to call this one…



When you practice, do you get so lost in a part that it takes your breath away…literally?

For more hilarious “solo” faces, check out http://slugsolos.tumblr.com/.



Don’t Miss out on Summer Camp Early Bird Savings!


 The Bandits, a band from Rock Band  Camp Summer 2014 created this music video to their cover of  

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

Are you ready form your own band and rock and roll??

Everyone over 7 is welcome to join us at our 2015 Summer Rock Band Camp! We match you by age and ability level.

Don’t miss out on the Early Bird Savings! Sign up before March 15th (4 DAYS LEFT) and take advantage of a whole week of camp for only $325!!

We’re looking for campers for the following weeks:

June 22-26- Girls Camp this week!!!

July 6-10

July 13-17

July 20-24

July 27-31

Aug 3-7

Aug 10-14

Aug 17-21

Aug 24-28

Join us!! Sign up here before March 15th and save!http://offthewallschoolofmusic.com/rock-camp/



Ready for the Upcoming February 22nd Recital?

Will, Matt and Josh are getting ready for the upcoming February 22nd recital! We’re excitedly anticipating seeing all of our awesome students show off their hard work!!

We look forward to seeing you at the Hard Rock Cafe on February 22nd!



Creative Musicians – Shovel and Broom Guitars

We all know that musicians are creative people. We came across these two street musicians and just had to share! Check out their inventive creativity!


Have you ever made your own musical instrument? What would you make if you could?