South Coast Lessons builds community through music

Sep 19, 2022

MATTAPOISETT —  For Mattapoisett resident Jeff Angeley, traditional “stuffy” music lessons never quite worked for him. 

But as the owner and instructor at South Coast Lessons, a music school for children and adults, he hopes to liven up music education with a warm and inviting communal atmosphere.

“Most people come to music because there's a joy in it or there's something they want to express,” said Angeley. “Having the access to that expression in a way that feels joyful, communal, social, or safe is everything.”

South Coast Lessons started at the Kilburn Mill in New Bedford where Angeley taught alongside a group of educators until Covid-19 caused him to downsize into a one-man operation.

Now Angeley runs South Coast Lessons out of his home in Mattapoisett where a remodeled garage serves as a studio space and Angeley’s backyard is a warm-weather classroom. 

South Coast Lessons offers group classes for musicians of all ages and skill levels in 10 to 14 week sessions. 

Children can learn how to write and play songs in “Youth Rock Band,” or explore traditional fiddle and ukulele music in the “Growing Tradition” class. 

Angeley likes to keep his group classes active, giving students the opportunity to get up and dance in between learning their instruments. 

“I'm able to incorporate a system of teaching that gets them moving, not just playing,” said Angeley. “We do some playing but we also do some drumming and hambone percussion.”

Even though his group classes may stray from the structure of traditional one-on-one lessons, Angeley emphasized that his students are well prepared for higher-level music education. 

“We're covering all the fundamentals and technical things that need to be covered to build towards advanced and professional music,” said Angeley. “We're just taking a different route there.”

Another perk of group classes, said Angeley, is the opportunity to learn to play with other people — something that he knows first-hand as a professional musician who has played in bands and in local libraries for years. 

“The thing that gets people to make their greatest progress playing music is wanting it, and being excited about it,” said Angeley. “So I just think about what makes me excited to play and how I get that into the lessons.”

New group classes are enrolling now and will begin in late September.