Homeschool classes for the younger set

We have added 2 new homeschool classes for younger children. Music for Little Mozarts is for children ages 4-6, and The Singing Spot is for ages 4-7.  In Music for Little Mozarts, we go on a Musical Adventure with Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear as we learn how to play the piano.  We also dance, sing, color in our workbooks and just have fun with music! MFLM runs for 15 weeks and a parent or guardian must accompany the child to the class.  Tuition is $12.50 per class, payable by the month, or $175 if you pay the entire tuition up front.  Level 1 starts on March 1, so there is no time to lose to sign up!

The Singing Spot is a voice class for ages 4-7, and again the tuition is $12.50 per class, payable by the month.  In The Singing Spot, we will learn how to sing using the Do Re Mi syllables and proper technique.  We will sing a variety of fun songs.  Other activities will include games, dances and playing simple instruments. Class starts March 1 and runs for 8 weeks.  Come one, come all and sign up for The Singing Spot.

The Singing Spot is 2-3 on Thursdays and MFLM is 3-3:45 on Thursdays.  You can register on our website,  Hope to see you there!

Piano Classes for Adults and Teens

We have just started a new beginner class, which is held on Saturday afternoon from 2-3.  Our later beginner class runs on Saturday morning from 10-11. The later beginners are just about to go into the Faber Adult Book 2.  There are spaces still available in both classes, and the tuition of $120 for 8 weeks will be prorated.  Please visit our website for more information or to register.  We have fun in our classes, learning music of different styles.  Come one, come all and join us!

How to listen to classical music using storytelling

Hello there!  This is Molly, flute instructor and one of the owners at the Perfect 5th.

As a music therapy student at Temple University, I was a participant in a few “Guided Imagery and Music” practice sessions that masters and doctoral level Music Therapy students subjected me to.  After my first session of progressive muscle relaxation I was listening to Wagner, and with the help of  therapist verbal prompts, I found myself flying around in outer space with my cat, Willow!  I was laughing out loud and feeling quite giddy, thinking how cute my cat looked in her astronaut suit! I did not want to stop listening to the music and still remember how powerfully the music held me there, floating in outer space.

Currently, I often travel around the country to the national and regional flute conventions, as I  am sometimes a presenter at flute pedagogy workshops and work with the Blocki Flute Method and at my own Fluteplace booth. While there, I like to take the opportunity to attend concerts and workshops.  I always want to attend the concerts of some of the greatest flutists around the world at these conventions. I have to admit, I experience some listening fatigue, as I am exposed to whirlwind of flutes, flutists, music, noise, and flute information almost 24/7!

Finding myself in San Diego a few summers ago at a fabulous piccolo concert, followed by another concert of  newly composed music, I became increasingly sleepy and had  trouble concentrating.  I did not want to “check out” and lose focus, so I thought back to my experiences with guided imagery and began making up a story.   Soon, in my imagination, the unfamiliar classical music that I was hearing suddenly became alive, and each new section and new key became a new part of a story.  I found myself running along a river and I had birds flying along with me. I jumped in the river, swimming at lightning speed, and suddenly was in a race with another person.  I jumped out of the river and was running again until I came to a tree!   The tree was beautiful and majestic and reached up to the sky and animals were all drawn to it.  The music I was hearing suddenly became alive again, and each new section and new key became a new part of my story.

The wonderful thing about being to imagine while listening to classical music is that it can take you out of your present moment and bring you joy that was intended by the composer.  Sometimes you can hear angst, anger or sorrow in a composer’s music,  which you can also explore through your own imaginative storytelling while listening. You can help identify and express to yourself your own feelings, perhaps leading to your a needed resolution for yourself.

Another positive result of storytelling while listening to classical music, is that the storytelling becomes a way for you to organize what you are hearing and begin to identify the musical structure of the song.  The song can be remembered and recognized later on if you made up a story to it.  Many people start to tune classical music out if they are not given a way to focus on the music and relax.

Next time you are at a concert and find your self beginning to tune out the music and not focusing, try using your imagination.  Or, you can simply lie down on your couch at home, turn on some music and practice listening with imagination.

For parents who want to expose kids to classical music, try putting classical music on at dinner or in the car, and have your family actively make up stories to the music together.  I do something similar in my KinderFlute classes, where I pull out capes, scarves, balls, jump-ropes and other toys, and let my kids run around the room to a piece of classical music, making up a story as they go along!  They love it and they later remember the music when I play it for them again.  This activity is especially helpful if they are to be playing a portion of that same music that they are hearing in a method book or for a recital.  While this is so useful as a teaching tool, I ultimately simply want the kids to love the music and realize that they can use it for their own expressive purposes throughout their lives.

Don’t know where to start?  Here are some great pieces of music that you may want to try:

Masquerade Waltz by Kachaturian

Pines of Rome or Fountains of Rome by Resphigi

Morning from Pier Gynt Suite by Grieg

The Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg

Spring (or any of the seasons!) by Vivaldi

Water Music by Handel

Royal Fireworks by Handel

The Hebrides by Mendelsohn

Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky

O Fortuna by Orff

La Mer by Debussy

Die Moldau by Smetana

The Swan by Saint Saens


(Tips brought to you by Molly Shortridge, Flute Instructor at P5)

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Girls Rock Band Camp returns in June!


Hi everyone, Heather here! While we are stuck in the middle of winter and recovering from multiple snow days, I thought it might be nice to look ahead to my favorite part of the summer – GIRLS ROCK BAND CAMP!

I love all of the teaching I am lucky enough to do, but I can’t deny that this program is where my heart lies. When I was a teenager, my parents let me add bass guitar and guitar lessons to the years of piano study I had already done (thank you, mom and dad!) and it transformed my world. I spent hours curled up with my new instruments in my bedroom, obsessively learning cover after cover by my favorite bands and – for the first time – trying to write my own original music. Having an outlet for self-expression at that age meant everything to me, and soon I had started rock bands with my friends and a whole new course for my life had been set (although I didn’t know it yet!) Writing my own music and being able to express myself in a variety of styles from classical to jazz to rock to pop has enriched my life in too many ways to count.

That’s why it means so much to me to give the same opportunity to the girls I teach. The world of rock and roll can seem intimidating sometimes, and without realizing it girls can get the message that “they don’t belong” there. I’m here to say that is NOT TRUE! Rock and roll is for everyone, and in the hands of girls it becomes something so cool and empowering. The parent of one of my campers from last summer wrote on our website,

“I can’t say enough about Girl Rock Band Camp. Ms. Heather skillfully evoked confidence in my daughter by allowing her to develop hidden talents she wasn’t sure existed prior to camp. A fire has been sparked and she can’t wait to explore more options at P5!”

In addition to having all campers form rock bands of their own for the week, we also explore the history of women in rock and roll, get hands-on experience and instruction on all rock instruments (electric guitar, bass guitar, keys, drum kit), learn how to write songs, and have guest musicians come in to play for the girls and talk to them about their experiences as women in music.

This year’s camp runs from June 25th – 29th from 11am to 2pm each day, with a performance on the final day. Spots are still available for girls age 11 – 17! Call 717-691-9100 or visit today to reserve a spot or find out more.

Yes, Virginia, You Must Practice Sight-Reading!

Sightreading, also called a prima vista (Italian meaning “at first sight“), is the reading and performing of a piece of music or song in music notation that the performer has not seen before.

The only way you will learn to sight-read and get good at it is to practice sight-reading and you must practice every day to improve those skills (10-15 minutes of your practice time).  Knowing your scales and increasing your technique is paramount to becoming a good sight-reader.   l

I have noted below key areas to look at before you begin to sight-read.

Key signature(s) and time signature(s) – noting any changes throughout the piece

Unusual rhythms and repeated patterns


Repeats (including any D.S. and D.C.)

Tempo – don’t worry about playing fast when learning to sight-read – it is more important to try to be accurate.

I play duets with my students to incorporate sight-reading in a fun way.  We are practicing not only sight-reading, but also playing in tune with one another and I am emulating good tone production for my students to hear and imitate.  Get with a friend or a group of friends – play duets, trios, etc. with any combo of instruments and just have fun!

What is a teaching artist?

Hello! Heather here.

The Association of Teaching Artists defines a teaching artist as “a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts. A teaching artist, by definition, is a two-career professional: a working artist and a working educator.”

I have always defined myself as a teaching artist because for my entire adult life I have worked simultaneously as a recording and touring musician as well as a music teacher. As most of us know, it can be difficult to support yourself as an artist in the music industry; it can take years to establish yourself, and all too often musicians are offered payment in the form of “exposure” – which may be great in some circumstances, but it won’t pay the rent! 🙂

That’s why I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity to support myself as a music teacher. It offers more flexibility than a typical job, so if I need to take time off for touring or conferences I can do so and trust that my students will be waiting for me when I get back. There are challenges for the self-employed too, of course – but overall I could not imagine a better way to support myself as an artist. I was lucky to discover that I adore teaching, and the fulfillment I get from instilling a love of music in others is its own reward!

I also feel that my work as an artist enriches what I can offer to my students; practical advice about songwriting, booking, promoting, touring, and all of the hats an aspiring musician has to wear is valuable to many of the people I have worked with over the years.

That’s why I think it’s great that so many of the staff at The Perfect 5th are teaching artists too, in many different genres and fields! It makes a difference when the person teaching you has a wealth of practical experience to offer you. Visit to read about some of our wonderful teachers and the art they make inside and outside of the school!

And if you’d like to support my band Good In The Dark, you can buy our album at The Perfect 5th or follow us on Facebook ( and Instagram ( Thanks!

Great Job at District Auditions!

Each year, close to 100 flutists at the high school level try out to be in district band and orchestra.  It’s a long process, where students get their music in May and audition in December.  They audition on scales and a college-level piece of music.  This year, Marissa Duggan, Jacey Crayton and Michele  Arnold made it in.  Jacey even had the honor of achieving first chair in band!  The top 8 students get to try out for district orchestra, so Jacey made principal flute in that, as well! Congrats to all 3 outstanding flutists, for their hard work!



Tune It or Die

Do you ever wonder why the oboe tunes the orchestra?!  In the late 1600s, orchestras were comprised of mostly string instruments. Two oboes were sometimes used to boost the first and second violin parts. Soon composers were writing separate parts for the oboe, showing off its beautiful singing tone as a contrast to the violins. The bright, rather penetrating sound of the oboe was easy to hear, and its pitch was more stable than gut strings, so it was the obvious choice for reliable tuning. Other instruments were used in on occasion in the orchestra at that time – flutes, bassoons, French horns, clarinets – before its instrumentation became relatively standardized as we know it today. But oboes were almost always present, so they became the standard instrument for tuning.

Orchestras always tune to ‘A’, because every string instrument has an ‘A’ string. The standard pitch in the United States is A=440 Hertz (440 vibrations per second). European orchestras favor a slightly higher pitch – A=442 or higher.

Now here is a little known secret that the audience may not know – oboes can play sharp or flat, just like any other instrument, but every oboist uses a little electronic meter to ensure that their ‘A’ is exactly right.