Video Credit: Brooklyn Independent Television, a community media program of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn
GOWANUS MUSIC CLUB strives to give kids, ages 8 to 16, an opportunity outside of the classroom to play music together in a friendly, safe and productive environment. We instruct kids both individually and as a group on their chosen instruments. Our goal is to help students develop ear training, write songs, and “rock out” together as a band. Beyond that, GMC strives to foster the kind of confidence in kids that inspires them to make positive choices, build strong creative expression, and seek collaborative relationships.
All of the founders of the GOWANUS MUSIC CLUB know first hand what an early commitment to music can bring to a young person’s life. We know because as kids, we were all lucky enough to have great musical mentors. We hail from the suburbs of Connecticut, the wilds of Oregon, the shores of Jamaica and the streets of Brazil. Josh, Peter and James grew up together playing in their first rock band in high school. Tracy and Tomas both have had valuable experience performing and recording for Warner Bros. and Island Records. In short, music has been a driving force in our lives since early childhood. Now, we want to be mentors, so that the younger generations can benefit in the same ways we did.
Sadly, many New York City public schools lack sufficient
programs in the arts due to Federal and local school budget
cuts. Music class is among the first in a curriculum to
be cut. This is unfortunate, since music programs teach
children to concentrate, develop better communication skills,
and increase their levels of confidence and enthusiasm
for life and learning. That’s where THE GOWANUS MUSIC
CLUB comes in.
GOWANUS MUSIC CLUB offers kids year-round private instruction
and group band instruction along with many opportunities
to jam together informally. Students will spend time both
in the rehearsal studio and in a recording studio.
Bands will be formed to support individual ability and skill to allow each person to progress at their own pace while immersed in a shared musical experience.
We will nurture diverse interests in musical genres to help kids discover what kinds of music they love.
Each semester will culminate in a student performance that parents, family and friends will attend. Kids will take home CDs of their work that will serve as a wonderful document of their experience at GMC. It is of the utmost importance to us that your child has an inspiring and most of all fun experience at GOWANUS MUSIC CLUB. We are dedicated to the growth and fulfillment of your child’s Rock and Roll future!
Click a name to read biographies.
Josh Margolis began playing drums at the age of five under the tutelage of session drummer Kenny Aronoff (with John Mellencamp) in the family living room. Ten years of both drum and piano lessons followed. After attending Berklee School of Music, he went on to study percussion with Miles Davis' drummer Mino Cinelu and Kenwood Dennard of Sting's band. He has been performing in rock, jazz, and acoustic groups in New York City for the past fifteen years as a drummer, singer and multi-instrumentalist. He has also worked as a live television producer for Jonas Brothers, Anna Nalick, and Switchfoot amongst others. Josh has worked as a BMI composer for ABC News, Martha Stewart Living Television, and FOX Sports. Billboard Magazine and the New York Songwriter's Circle have lauded his songwriting skills. He currently teaches music production in New York City schools through the nonprofit CREATE organization, instructs a rock band class at the Manhattan JCC, and teaches privately. He lives in Boerum Hill with his wife Aimee Good and daughter Matilda, 7.
A native of Eugene, Oregon, Bonham began singing at age 5, playing the violin at 9, and piano at age 14. After transferring to Berklee College of Music to study voice, leaving her full violin scholarship at the University of Southern California behind, she began to write songs on the guitar in 1994. She proved to be a quick study; Her 1996 major label debut, The Burdens of Being Upright (Island), went gold in the US as well as Holland, Australia, and Canada, spawning the hit single "Mother Mother". This lead to a pair of Grammy™ nominations in 1997, as well as an MTV Video Award nomination. She has since toured the world many times and has made television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Late Late Show with Craig Furgussen, as well as A & E's Breakfast for the Arts. Her third album "blink the brightest" was released on Rounder Records in 2005 and with that she placed many of the songs in major network TV shows such as Brothers and Sisters, The L Word, The Closer, What About Brian, and Army Wives. Tracy's vocals are featured on various artist's albums such as Aerosmith "Honkin On Bobo" (Columbia 2004), Wayfaring Strangers "This Train" (Rounder 2004), Ron Sexmith's "Whereabouts" (violin – 1999). In 2003 and 2006 she toured extensively with Blue Man Group singing and playing violin in major arenas as their featured guest performer and their opening act. Tracy is currently writing and recording her next album and teaching violin and voice in Brooklyn.
James Joughin began playing recorder, like a lot of kids, at the age of nine, but then soon moved on to study the bassoon. During high school, his interests turned to jazz, pop and rock so he switched to the bass. Suddenly he was popular. After attending the New England Conservatory of Music he worked as a professional sideman, playing bass for Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits), Lou Christie, Leslie Gore and the Shangri-Las. He has worked extensively as a session musician for numerous artists both in Boston and New York. James currently teaches privately and continues to play professionally as he pursues his Masters in Education at Hunter College.
Born in the UK and raised in the West Indies, Peter Brown fronted his first band at age 17 at a Connecticut boarding school. He went on to front and record with two other bands while at university in Miami, Florida. In the nineties Peter began living in NYC, developing as a performer and songwriter,and recording with artists as diverse as Richie Havens, and Cy Curnin of The Fixx. By the middle of the decade Peter was lead singer on tour with Kingstone a NYC based Jazz/Rock and Spoken Word recording group. Peter currently is signed to Fretless Productions Management where he continues to record many national television and radio jingles.
Eric Mills was always drawn to music. This strong fascination led him to graduate high school a year early so that he could study music at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona. At CGCC, he co-founded and tutored at the Music Theory Study Group, and won Most Outstanding Music Theory and Composition Student for 2008. During that same year, his piece, "IDP's of Darfur Prelude and Concerto," won the 2008 Artists of Promise contest, leading to a performance of the work at Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.
In 2008, Eric transferred to Berklee College of Music, where he majored in Jazz Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production. During his
time at Berklee, Eric made the Dean's list four times, and worked on projects involving composition, performance, production, and engineering. During his last year, he was an orchestrator for "Curtain up!," a student concert that featured original musical theatre works. He was also selected to lead The Cooperative Big Band, a student organized ensemble for senior jazz composers. He currently composes for various music and film projects, and has been instructing in Phoenix and NYC since 2007.
Chris Decker has been playing guitar since grade school, first influenced by his grandfather, a jazz guitarist and sound company owner, and later by Kiss album covers. He attended Berklee College of Music and got a BA in music from the State University of New York. He has been a full-time guitarist/vocalist since the early-1990's, performing throughout the Northeast, and such locales as Nashville, Los Angeles and Key West. Chris has been playing his own music and working with other pop/rock singer-songwriters and bands in NYC since 1998.
He has taught guitar for over 10 years, and currently has a large roster of guitar and bass students. He is also the proud father of 2-year old daughter, Isabela.
Alex Rivers is a professional performing artist and music teacher who has been teaching guitar both privately and in classroom settings for over ten years. He has most recently joined the faculty at the Brooklyn Music School. Alex’s passion for music began at an early age when he started playing the trumpet in the grade school orchestra. Shortly soon after he picked up the guitar and has not put it down since.
Alex earned his first degree in psychology at North Carolina A&T University. After spending a few years after college playing and teaching music in North Carolina, Alex chose to formalize his music education by moving to Boston Massachusetts to attend Berklee College of Music. In 2003 after finishing at Berklee, Alex relocated to New York City to more actively pursue his goal of being a sideman for performing artists. He has played with numerous acts in the New York area such as Ren Collins, Naomi Greenwald, Jon Neufeld and Mansingh, and with bands like Chew the Cud, Ruka Skye and his own group The Dumbo Project.
Alex has remained dedicated to being a music educator. Aside from teaching privately, Alex has brought music education workshops into underserved areas such as the juvenile detention centers in the New York area. He is dedicated to providing a well-rounded musical experience for each student.
Craig got his start as a professional musician while teaching English abroad, performing in bars and clubs in Chile and Spain. Returning to the states and his native NY in 2004, Craig has performed all around NYC and has toured nationally and internationally. He has performed with many industry notables, including Jackson Browne, Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), Jane Wiedlin (the Go Gos), and has independently released 2 CDs (his most recent, Spinning In Time, inked him a publishing deal with LoveCat Music and also was recently accepted to Pandora) He was nominated by the Deli magazine as one of the top emerging singer-songwriters of 2010. Craig currently performs with the Craig Greenberg Band, and works as a music teacher and producer.
Giacomo Merega, Italian bassist and composer, moved to NYC from Boston in 2007, where he had studied at Berklee and then at The New England Conservatory.
His debut CD 'the light and other things' (Creative Nation Music), featuring slide-guitar icon David Tronzo, and was released on Creative Nation Music to critical acclaim in 2008.
His most recent work 'Descendants', in a quartet co-lead along with saxophonist Noah Kaplan and featuring guitarist Joe Morris, is scheduled for release in early 2010 on Hat Hut - hatHOLOGY, a prestigious labels devoted to contemporary and avant-garde improvisation.
Giacomo plays bass with Bryan Baker 4, an avant-rock band that will be performing internationally in 2010, and his list of current and recent collaborations includes, among many others Joe Morris, Satoshi Takeishi, Joe Maneri, Dave Fiuczynski, Dave Tronzo, Ran Blake, Marco Cappelli, Kirk Knuffke, Daniel Levin, Sunny Kim and Okkyung Lee.
As a guest lecturer, Giacomo has presented masterclasses in the US,
Europe and Asia.
Jon Neufeld is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and teacher. He began his musical career in his parents living room singing doo-wop music and listening to the great songwriters of the 20th Century. After years of Voice, Piano and Guitar lessons he went on to study at Berklee College of Music as a Vocal principle. Since then, Jon Neufeld has performed throughout the U.S and in Stockholm, Sweden with various original musical projects. His music has been heard in several small independent films and he has collaborated with Grammy Award winning songwriter Johari Newton, HBO Def-Poetry Jam Spoken Word Artist Karen Gibson Roc and legendary engineer Kevin Killen. Currently, Jon Neufeld fronts the band jonka with his wife Annika Kaye and is writing and recording their next album in Brooklyn!
Jason Fine (Rolling Stone)
Gar Ragland (Mountain Stage)
Eilleen Shannon (Open House School)
Maggie McGuire (Scholastic)
Peter Millrose (Millrose Music)
Julian Harris (Treehouse Music)
Eric Demby (DJ & Co-Founder, Brooklyn Flea)
Liza Steinberg (Nickelodeon)
Dana Shakarchi (Manhattan JCC)