Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Music Pathways Fundraiser - Helping Livermore Youth Stay In Tune

Music Pathways
Helping Livermore Youth Stay in Tune

-Fundraiser Mixer-

Please join us to help support music for at-risk youth in our community.

We need YOUR help to raise funds for lessons, instruments and materials for these students. Tickets for this event are limited and include Live music, local wine and delicious appetizers!

Thursday, June 20th 6-8pm @ ABC Music 2156 First Street in downtown Livermore

$25 Requested Donation -Tickets available @ the door or in advance @ ABC Music

For more info contact: East Bay Community Services #961-8045 or ABC Music #443-1244

Monday, May 27, 2013

This Sunday - The Danville Community Band Presents Travels Through Europe!

The Danville Community Band presents 
Travels Through Europe 
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Lesher Center For The Arts 
Walnut Creek, CA
Tickets $15, Seniors & Youth $13

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Music Program for At-Risk Livermore Youth


Without music, Chris Fleckner and Kevin Lewis would be lost. Now, they are working together to use music to help others find themselves.

Fleckner and Lewis have created Music Pathways, a new program that provides at-risk Livermore youth a complete musical experience -- including use of an instrument, private instruction, group practice, and a live performance -- at no cost. The program is offered through ABC Music in downtown Livermore, where Fleckner serves as manager, and in partnership with the Children's Music Arts Foundation and East Bay Community Services. The program is open to youths ages 14 through 18. Participants will receive weekly private lessons at ABC Music from April through October. In November the participants will perform live at Livermore's Bothwell Arts Center.

Fleckner and Lewis feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance, in their youth, to experience the transformative power of music. Through Music Pathways they hope to extend this opportunity to Livermore kids who might not otherwise get the chance.

Fleckner grew up in Livermore and attended local schools. By the time he reached high school, Fleckner didn't fit in. "I was terrible at sports, and miserable at the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. Although I had supportive parents and a stable home, I was a typical apathetic suburban youth." His grades were poor and he skipped school regularly. " Fleckner drifted away from his school work, and towards his first love: Playing guitar. He joined a band, his band entered a local Battle of the Bands competition, and his life changed.

"Playing in a band tied me into other people, and taught me teamwork and self-discipline.  Music got me engaged and gave me a reason to go to school. It gave me a goal and a compass, and showed me how hard work pays off and can positively impact your life."

Eventually, Fleckner came back to his books, finished high school, and earned a BA. Today, while running ABC Music, he is working towards a Masters degree in Public Administration. "I've had to work very really for everything I've achieved. That's one of the main lessons we hope to teach through Music Pathways - that hard work really pays off."

Lewis grew up in Monrovia, in southern California, in a household that he describes as "broken." Lewis's father was an abusive alcoholic who was constantly getting into trouble. One evening, when Lewis was eight, his father was thrown out of a bar -- literally -- and landed in an alleyway next to a Ludwig drum set. Lewis's father brought the drum set home for Lewis to play. "That was the only good thing my dad ever did for me," Kevin says.

Under the tutelage of his musically inclined older brother, Lewis blossomed into an accomplished drummer. His mother, who played the trombone and sang opera, taught him the nuances of listening to music. Lewis poured himself into music, and it gave him an outlet to escape the difficult circumstances that surrounded him. "There was constant fighting in the house. When my dad would start up, I would play that Ludwig drum set until my hands ached, remembering everything my brother and mother told me to do."

Lewis constantly thinks back to those dark days. "If not for my mother, my brother, and my drums, my life would have turned out very differently."

Lewis, who works for the City of Livermore's water department, has been informally helping out aspiring local drummers for years. "Kevin has given away countless drum sticks and drum heads and constant tuneups," according to Fleckner. Lewis has even given away four complete drum sets to kids who couldn't afford them. His only stipulation:  When the recipient outgrows the drums, Lewis wants them back.... in exchange for $200 cash that he gives with no strings attached.

When Lewis and Fleckner came up with the idea to take Lewis's largesse to the next level, they reached out to two other long-time Livermore community activists, Aaron Ortiz and David Jonas, and Music Pathways was born. Ortiz is CEO of East Bay Community Services, one of the program's sponsors. Jonas is a local entrepreneur who is involved with a variety of community initiatives. The group attracted 8 participants for the inaugural Music Pathways program -- six boys and two girls -- and hopes to make Music Pathways an ongoing community offering.

Says Lewis: "In my heart, I want to give, and I don't want anything back. I have been given so many opportunities during my life. Why shouldn't I pass them along to others?"

For more information or to support Music Pathways, visit

Article Source: Livermore Patch 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Danville Community Band Presents Travels Through Europe

The Danville Community Band presents 

Travels Through Europe 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lesher Center For The Arts 
Walnut Creek, CA

Tickets $15, Seniors & Youth $13

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Student Band Instruments: Rent or Buy?

When children want to join their school's band, parents have to make a decision whether they should buy or rent an instrument. Some important tips can simplify this often uneasy task. When deciding whether to buy or rent an instrument for a student, several factors should be considered.

-The age of the student

A young student (4-10 years of age) may not play a particular instrument for long, so the parents may want to rent the instrument. Many music stores have instruments that are used solely for that purpose. Violins, drums, guitars, etc. are usually the instruments of choice for this age group.

Students aged 11-15 who want to play in the school band and who want to play the saxophone, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, trumpet, etc. often play the instruments for a couple of years and even longer, but many parents still prefer to rent the instruments to save money. If the student has played a particular instrument for more than two years and would like to continue studying it, then parents may wish to buy an instrument that is for the advanced player.

-Purpose for the instrument

For those students who plan to continue study of the instrument beyond high school, a semi-professional or professional model would be the right choice to buy. (Music stores generally do not rent these instruments.) The students who plans to study at the college level should buy a semi-professional or professional instrument. The rental (student-model) instruments are made for beginning musicians and are not well suited for advanced players. And of course, those who wish to play in a collegiate ensemble or orchestra would need a professional instrument.


As with all things, the cost of musical instruments has risen over the past years. For the beginning music students, parents may want to rent the instruments, especially for those students who may play for only a year or less. For the older students who demonstrated that they will stick with their instruments of choice for awhile, parents may want to purchase a higher grade instrument.

Many of the music stores sell used instruments, so parents can buy a good quality instrument at a reduced price. Also numerous pawn shops sell used instruments. I recommend that if you buy a used instrument, that you purchase it from a music store because it will have been checked to ensure that it is in good condition. More often than not, the music store personnel are musicians and have knowledge of the instruments, and they can assist you in choosing the right instrument to rent or buy for your student musician.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bossa Nova on Nylon String Guitar

Cordoba employee, Guil Juliao, wrote this untitled Brazilian Bossa Nova piece just a few days ago and we love the way it sounds on the Cordoba C10!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ABC Music Store Owners to Be Honored for Donating Over $100,000 to Music Programs

On May 16th the board of Benicia Unified School District will acknowledge ABC Music Store owners Stan and Marianne Houston for donating more than $100,000 over the past five years to the district’s various music programs. What started as a for-profit enterprise, when originally conceived by the Houston’s, quickly transformed into a fund raising platform as a result of the dire financial burden placed on the district’s operating budget. The Houston’s elected to forego personal profiteering from their Benicia store and instead transferred the last five years of net income to Benicia school music classes and programs. The public is invited to the board meeting as well as a reception which follows immediately at their music store.


Date of BUSD board meeting: Thursday May 16, 2013 
Time: 7:00pm 
Location: District Offices - 350 East K Street - Board Room 
Reception: Immediately following Board presentation 
Location: ABC Music Store & Academy, 739 First Street – Downtown Benicia 

Contact: Stan Houston, 707-746-7565

Monday, May 6, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

The ABC Choir at L'Etape Bicycle Race

The ABC Choir singing the National Anthem at the L'Etape bicycle race in Livermore

The ABC Music Choir is run by Kim Luty (M.A.) who specializes in presenting the joy of music in a fun and interactive learning environment. The Choir runs multiple times a year, aligning with different seasonal events and generally runs for six sessions with a final performance at the end of the season.

Past final performances have included community engagements at Heritage Estates and a headlining performance at the Livermore Winter Parade, where Kim Luty's own "Christmas Time in Livermore" was sung immediately preceding the Christmas Tree Lighting!

Past ABC Choir members have been in leading roles in musicals both in their respective schools and at the Bankhead Theater musical series.

For more information please visit

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can an Adult Learn to Play Music?

How often, now that childhood is but a memory, have you wished that you had learned to play a musical instrument? Maybe you wanted to learn to play the trumpet or the piano. Perhaps you were in love with the sound of a violin (whether played in an orchestra or as a fiddle by a Bluegrass or Mariachi group), or you dreamed of playing a saxophone. But those things just weren't "cool," so you caved in to peer pressure and learned to strum a few chords on the guitar. You and three of your friends sat in the garage and talked about attracting girls when you became rock stars. Or you idolized Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, reminding yourself that girls can do anything that boys can do. But you secretly longed to play in the band at football games, join the Mariachis as they serenaded the birthday girl in the early morning hours, or joined the vocalists in a performance of Handel's Messiah. And as time passed, even the guitar you used to strum was relegated to the corner of the bedroom closet.

Now you are older, and the dream of learning to play music has never really gone away. You've never acted on achieving that desire, but visions of you and that instruments still inhabit your dreams. But you have finally come to understand and accept the idea that instrumental music is just a dream that you'll have to set aside, right?

Absolutely not! It is never too late to learn to play an instrument! If you start as an adult you'll probably never become an internationally known soloist, but you can certainly learn well enough to play for personal pleasure and as a member of most amateur groups. You may even be able to play

Reasonable Expectations

It's not going to be easy, but it's probably easier than you fear. You have an advantage many children don't have. You actually want to learn the instrument! Many children take music lessons because their parents want them to. You are self-motivated. Expect to make progress slowly, but be assured that you can... and will... progress.

Step By Step is the Way to Go

As I've said, short of a miracle you won't achieve immediate success, but you can achieve short term goals. Regular practice for reasonable amounts of time is necessary. Lessons from a professional, or a serious amateur, may be required. Perhaps you can learn using videos. A well thought out plan with regularly spaced lessons and rehearsals, as well as progressively more challenging goals will certainly help you reach the goal of playing the instrument.

Don't Just Play Alone!

Join a group or find people with whom you can play! If you can find a group of people who are essentially your musical equals you'll almost undoubtedly find support and learn practice and performance tips that will help your playing improve even faster and you would never have realized or implemented if you had only play alone at home.

Stay Inspired - Listen With the Right Attitude!

You got inspired listening to masters play the instrument. You developed your desire to play when you heard songs you enjoyed. Keep listening to that music. Hearing the songs you love will help you stay excited! But use the recordings or the concerts as inspiration. Understand that you are progressing toward that skill level. Don't expect to become as good as saxophonist Kenny G, or violinist Hilary Hahn, or organist Cameron Carpenter in a week! (Or for that matter a month or a year!)

Have Fun

Remember, you are doing something your want to do, not something you have to do. Remember, when it comes to music you play your instrument. You don't work, suffer, gripe, fight, struggle, or complain the instrument. How do you have fun? Find music you want to play. Don't pick music that is beyond your ability. Play up to the level of your ability... and just a little beyond every now and then. Playing what you are able to play well is fun, and you'll be thrilled when you achieve something you weren't sure you could handle. And if you play in public you'll almost undoubtedly receive the admiration you hoped for when you were fourteen!

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