Hubbels Music is a music school located at 20 Babbitt Road in Bedford Hills, just walking distance from the Metro North station. Hubbels Music is owned and managed by Miss Kate, who after working for two music schools for four years and leaving her day job, decided to take a risk and open up her own studio.
She spent years saving and planning for a place where kids would be nurtured and mentored in a way where they could really achieve at a high level, but also continue to preserve music history and performance. According to Miss Kate, Hubbels is not just a place to “take” music lessons: “We are a place where kids learn to their fullest, are taught to embrace what makes them musically special, and can go the distance if they allow us to take them there.”
I came across Hubbels about two years ago when searching for a new piano teacher for my son. He was 13 at the time and had been taking piano lessons for a couple of years with a wonderful teacher out of her home, but she could no longer offer lessons. I reached out to a few places and Kate at Hubbels invited my son in for a trial lesson. Things went well and my son started with weekly 30 minute lessons shortly after.
To provide a little further background, my son started playing violin in third grade in elementary school. Shortly after he started playing violin, he began to “translate” the songs he learned in violin to a keyboard app on the iPad, and then to the piano completely on his own. Luckily, we have my grandparents piano in our house! Although neither my husband or I played (or can read music for that matter), I had wanted the piano as a memory of my grandparents. He began formal piano lessons with his prior teacher in 5th grade.
As for the violin, my son played and was committed to school orchestra through eighth grade. He was in all the school performances but was never one that stuck out in the masses. Never chosen for district orchestra, offered special kudos or asked to perform at NYSSMA. Now, he didn’t ask nor seek it out, but there was something about how easily the music ability came to him that always made me wonder why he didn’t receive a bit of recognition here and there. But maybe he never found his place until now.
At Hubbels Music, we found his music home and comfort zone.
I admit that at the time of our search, we were singularly focused on “just” piano lessons and didn’t quite realize all of the other programs that Hubbels offers.
Private Lessons are individualized, yet structured and customized to the learner. Sessions offered are 30, 45 or 60 minutes for:
- Piano – jazz or classical
- Guitar – Acoustic/Electric/Bass Guitar
- Strings – Violin/Viola/Cello/Double Bass
Preschoolers (4’s and late 3’s)
Hubbels was one of the very first in the area to have a piano lesson program specifically for preschoolers using “Music For Little Mozarts.” For strings, they offer preschool-aged “Suzuki” classes or private lessons with a Suzuki-certified, highly experienced instructor.
This is a six week program and an awesome opportunity for kids to play music in a band setting, while socializing and collaborating through music. They learn to perform and work as a team, as well as possibly developing skills with new instruments including drums, keyboards, electric guitar, bass guitar – and singing too! Both my son and daughter participate as bass guitarists in this program at Hubbels.
Additional programs and services at Hubbels include Rehearsal Space rental, Electronic Press Kit Services, and FIRE (First Introductions to Recording and Engineering).
Miss Kate has a full team of teachers with different backgrounds and specialties, but all hold a degree in a music-related major, such as Performance, Jazz, and Theory.
Miss Kate says: “My wonderful staff and I are all on the same page. I can’t say enough good things about them; they are just so talented, vibrant, funny, caring, and are always going that extra distance to ensure that our students play to their full potential. We love getting to know the students: The chats, the funny stories, the personal talks, but our lessons are never a play date. The number one priority is seeing them grow as musicians, and our very involved parents love our dedication to their children and the arts. We’ve seen every type of learner under the sun: The preschoolers, the older beginners, the naturally gifted, the YouTube learners, the kinesthetic learners, the readers, the “dark horses”…..the list goes out the door.”
The Recitals and Shows
At Hubbels, recitals and shows are a way to showcase students, encourage them to take risks, be confident in their abilities, and learn to work on a timeline. Hubbels holds a professional honors recital annually at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center featuring select students, faculty, and friends. The Rock Conservatory bands also perform at local venues such as Westmorland Sanctuary, The Winery at St. George, The Heights at Brother Vic’s in South Salem, and the Bedford Hills Wine and Beer Bar.
And one recent huge accomplishment! Fortuna, one of the bands in the Rock Conservatory program, was the winner in the middle school category in the Ridgefield Band Jam.
As referenced on the website, Kate speaks of her vision: “Hubbels Music is not just a job for me: It’s my life. I live, breathe and function around making my students the best they can be, and the producer side of me loves the challenge of learning a piece, perfecting it, and seeing the music come to life on a stage. I’m always available for any questions, audition help or rehearsals, no matter what time of night. Just recently, a student’s mother called me at a quarter to ten in the evening because her son was confused about his jazz band music. I would much rather get that call and help out vs. the student learning the piece wrong and not being prepared for his class. As for performance opportunities, the more the merrier! While kids are not forced to perform, they are encouraged to do so because it helps them learn to try, do their best, and not be afraid of putting themselves out there.”
Putting the Vision into Practice
As a parent of one of her students, I can honestly say that Kate’s vision completely holds true in every way. Not only has my son continued to develop his skills in piano, but he plays pieces above and beyond what any of us could have imagined. Kate recognized his talent, passion, and abilities and challenged him.
In addition to developing more advanced piano skills, my son has been given the opportunity to learn the bass guitar, play in a band, perform live and even do a recording session. What I’ve noticed most about my son is how much he’s grown – both emotionally and musically during his time at Hubbels. The opportunities awarded to him at Hubbels were honestly more than I could ever have imagined.
It is clear that Kate and her team believe in their students. And when a teacher believes, the student goes on to do great things. At Hubbels, it’s not about what the teacher wants the student to learn or what the books say a student at a certain level should know. It’s about the student and enhancing what they bring to the table as individuals.
When asked what 3 words describe her role and her business, Kate said: “Heartfelt, quirky, serious. Being unique is beautiful, working hard is something to be celebrated, and going the extra distance to create something amazing is what keeps art alive. In a very short time, Kate picked up on who my son is – not only musically, but personally. As a parent, I can’t ask for anything more.
If you have a budding musician in your home, give Hubbels a call! They’ll help them shine and bring out the best of their musical ability.