Climb the stairs to the fifth floor of the Gowanus Arts building at 295 Douglass Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, and you will encounter the next generation of talented Brooklyn musicians.
The former industrial building, which was once a soap factory, is the home of Brooklyn Music Factory, a place were kids from 4 to 16 (and adults, too) learn to jam with each other.
Now four years old, the school has grown to about 200 students from the surrounding neighborhoods.
At Brooklyn Music Factory, students can take private lessons in piano, guitar, bass, drums, and voice. They can also join one of the many bands that meet weekly. The goal is to give young musicians the regular opportunity to play and perform with others.
Co-founders Peira Moinester and Nate Shaw are passionate about their approach to teaching. They have created an environment where children can learn with confidence and where the emphasis is on "keeping the play in playing music." Moinester and Shaw believe that giving children the opportunity to make music with others motivates them to continue developing as musicians.
At Brooklyn Music Factory, students learn about song forms and chord progressions, and are taught to transcribe lyrics. They also have a hand in producing their own songs. "It's about the process to make them into complete musicians," Shaw told me during a recent visit.
In addition to the regularly scheduled classes, Brooklyn Music Factory offers a wonderful summer camp in co-operation with Brooklyn Bolders, which is located right across the street. The summer program will give kids the opportunity to jam, write music and record, as well as unwind by climbing rocks during part of the day . That sounds pretty cool.
Spaces for the summer program are still available, so enroll your child now.
Moinester and Shaw and their dedicated staff of teachers have succeeded in creating an amazing community of young musicians. It is fitting that they chose to locate their program in Gowanus, in one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The future of music is well assured in this neighborhood and in this city as long as there are programs like Brooklyn Music Factory.
Brooklyn Music Factory
295 Douglass Street
(between 3rd and 4th Avenues)