Castle LeDell Music
Castle LeDell Music was established in 1983 at the Castle of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Since then hundreds of pupils have started their musical journeys here, learning piano and/or voice. The instructors are the husband and wife team of John & Cinder LeDell. We teach children and adults of all ages, beginners to advanced, and music from Bach to Rock.
The teaching philosophy at Castle LeDell Music is to focus on learning to read music and to have fun. Piano should be a joy, and that is what we try to make it for our students. We want to give them a life long gift of being able to play the piano. We feel music is music so we teach all kinds of music from Disney songs, Broadway, Popular music like Taylor Swift etc and of course Classical. Most students get to play all types of music, but some tend to focus on one particular style.
We don't use only one method book for teaching (ie Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard, Alfred, Bastien, Thompson etc). Instead, we tailor an approach for each student to help maintain interest in piano and make practice at home not such a drudge. We stock about 25,000 pieces of music so almost whatever song a student wants to play we have it.
We have two student recitals each year, early December and early June. We hold our recitals here at the Castle in our Great Room which can seat 100 in addition to two Steinway Concert Grands. We participate in all the music organizations - MEA of NJ, National Federation of Music Clubs etc. If a student wants to play in competitions, we arrange that but we don't push it.
One thing we do push is the annual Guild Auditions sponsored by the American College of Musicians. The College sends a judge to our home (we are the audition center for the area teachers), and students perform about 10 pieces for the judge who grades them on 45 different categories (fingering, touch, pedaling etc). We use this as a way to measure student progress and to determine areas of weakness that need work. In the past two years we have had the College award 26 of our students their High School Diploma in Music--a prestigious and nationally recognized achievement. We have more diplomas than any other piano studio in the country.
We're obviously very proud of what we do with students and why we are one of the most popular piano studios in the state. The only way a student gains proficiency at the piano is by putting in the time, and that is only possible if it is enjoyable.