SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Mark Murphy’s Music school, in the heart of downtown South Orange, celebrates its 16-year anniversary. This is on the heels of founder Mark Murphy being bestowed an exclusive honor at the South Orange Performing Arts Center’s (SOPAC) Gala on Nov. 2, for his contribution to music, music education, arts advocation and for his leadership as the Board Chair on the South Orange Village Center Alliance. A nationally recognized singer-songwriter with critically-acclaimed albums, Mark’s school started in 2003 in Maplewood on 513 Valley Street. Mark slowly grew the school by word-of-mouth. The school became known as the place that balanced the pure joy and love of music with learning the fundamentals.
Exponential growth prompted Mark to move the school to South Orange on Scotland Road in 2005, and it has thrived and expanded in the existing space three separate times. Mark Murphy said, “Although the school has been open for 16 years, I feel in many ways that the school is just beginning. We have a very specific and proprietary way on how we approach our private lessons, ensemble classes, performing opportunities and programs like our Little M's program, which specifically works with students between the ages of 4 and a half and 6. That coupled with our new recording studio makes me so excited about the future.”
Now as Mark Murphy’s Music begins its 16th year, students have access to a brand-new recording studio, expanded programs like the “Solo Artist” program for student singer-songwriters and the highest caliber of music teachers in the SOMA area, who mostly reverse commute from Brooklyn and Manhattan. Recently, the school released a new guitar theory book created in-house that is used by all the school’s guitar faculty. Murphy hopes to create more branded teaching materials in the future.
“Our firm belief is that you are a musician. Every student is different in their musical interest, their background and how they learn, and as educators, we are excited to tap into all of this to create a customized approach. Our faculty is comprised of ‘teaching artists’ who have studied music at the highest levels at the top music schools in the world. They get nominated for Grammys, receive reviews in A-list national publications, perform in Broadway pits, perform on network TV and play on some of the most recognizable stages. The combination of the highest level of instrument proficiency, real world experience and a deep love of music education is what shows up in the school’s lesson experience,” shared Mark.
The recording studio is a combination of vintage analog gear from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s coupled with modern day technology and studio plug-ins, rivaling the finest studios in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Pre-registration has begun for the Recording Studio program and students are handpicked internally to be in the initial group, which is almost at capacity and will kick off in January 2020. These young artists will have the opportunity to develop a specialized skill set that will in turn enhance their ongoing music lessons.
Mark continued, “This is such an exciting time to learn an instrument, study voice or learn about recording. When the school opened in 2003, we were pre-tech—there were no YouTube, iPhone, music education apps or online masterclasses. There are more resources now than ever before to learn about music. With that said, our unique, creative approach cultivates a deep relationship between our ‘teaching artists’ and students on their musical journey—and nothing can replace that. Also one of the most important parts about music is the community that it creates through performing live or playing in a band. When you become a student at our school, you become part of a lifetime family. A musical community that will always be there for you.”