About Common Time
Welcome to Common Time Music School! We’re Julia and George Chukinas and we’ve been involved in teaching students for 40 years. With degrees in music, Greek, Latin, and philosophy, we know the importance of music to promote tools such as discipline, confidence, coordination, and creativity that children and adults use to enrich their lives. Our goal is to instill a love of music in each student that lasts a lifetime. We want to give our students a great musical education at every skill level while encouraging a love and appreciation of all kinds of musical styles, from Bach to the Beatles. Common Time’s lessons are meant to be fun, but at the same time we strive to make sure our students have good musical foundations so they can play and appreciate music independently throughout their lives.

After nearly 40 years of teaching and working in the music industry, it was only natural for Julia and George to open a music store, Calliope Music -- a place to buy sheet music and musical accessories, rent and buy instruments, find teacher referrals, attend free concerts, and network with the musical community. In a time of online shopping, there are fewer brick and mortar stores for music and books -- we would like to think that we are an alternative to online shopping that provides good customer service, musical knowledge, and advice from real musicians.



  • 4 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
  • (610) 649-8842
  • calliopemusicstore.com
  • Upcoming Events at Calliope
  • Teachers
    Erica HessErica Hess (voice, piano, other instruments) is fun-loving, friendly girl who loves working with kids of all ages! She is a classically trained voice instructor, performer, and pianist who has studied at the Boston Conservatory and Temple University for her BM in Voice Performance. She is currently pursuing her certification and Master’s in Music Education in which she receives full instruction on the methodologies of all standard instruments (strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion) as well as professional instruction in Orff-Schulwerk, Kodaly, Dalcrose, and Gordon’s Music Learning Theory methods. She’s been involved in performances with various opera companies such as Boheme Opera Company and the Delaware Valley Opera Company as well as the Boston Conservatory and Temple University performances. She was also involved in many of the mainstage musical theater productions at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts as well as Chestnut Hill College. Erica has had extensive instruction in teaching pop, jazz, rock, musical theatre, and classical music. Within the notion that each individual style of music requires a different technique, she implements a relaxed, healthy approach overall that she believes can truly transform a singer’s sound and performance. Because every student is different, she develops a very individualized plan to ensure that each student reaches their full potential. She has had widespread training in languages of German, Italian, and French as well as intense study of music theory.

    Steven Moyer

    Steven Moyer (piano) is a student currently enrolled at West Chester University of Pennsylvania studying Piano Performance and specializing in classical repertoire. He is under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Bedford who doubles as his Alexander Technique instructor. Steven has had masterclasses with internationally regarded pianist such as Jon Nakamatasu, Sofya Gulyak, and Walter Hautzig. He has performed locally and at numerous universities statewide. He also works as a collaborative pianist with many vocalists, musical theater groups, and orchestras. Steven has a strong emphasis in music theory which plays a role in his teaching. Fundamentally, Steven believes that music learning should be curiosity-driven, active, enjoyable, and emphasize self-expression.
    Abby Nixon

    Abby Nixon (violin) is a recent transplant from Jacksonville Florida where she taught and performed for 10 years after completing music performance degree studies at Jacksonville University’s College of Music and with Ivan Galamian pupil Aaron Krosnick. And as a musician who enjoys playing with many types of professional performance groups, from orchestras and musical theaters, to contemporary and popular music groups, music performance is a focus in Abby’s teaching philosophy. Abby believes music is a shared activity and strives to create this atmosphere in the families of the students she teaches, as well as providing opportunities for performance in order to enrich the community.
    Geert RuelensGeert Ruelens (piano) graduated in 2014 with a bachelors in music from Kutztown University where he studied with Maria Asteriadou. At Kutztown University, Geert was heard twice as a soloist with the University orchestra in a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor and Liszt’s Totentanz. He is a native from Belgium where he studied piano at the Royal Conservatory for Music. Geert is the organist and choir director at Nativity Lutheran Church in Reading, PA, teaches piano lessons and works as an accompanist. Geert is a student of Charles Abramovic at Temple University where he pursues a masters degree in piano performance and pedagogy.

    Walt PlumleeWalt Plumlee (guitar) started piano lessons at six years old but soon took up the guitar through his father's love for alternative and bluegrass. Walt also started playing the blues, focusing on the Texas blues style of Stevie Ray Vaughan, which led Walt to the techniques of artists such as Mark Knopfler, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Paige. Now a candidate for a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College, Walt is involved heavily with several musical projects, composes and sings his own original music, and has been lead guitarist for the Sam Hill Band since he helped found the group his freshman year. More recently, Walt was offered a position as touring guitarist for Boston-based Emmett McCleary. Walt believes strongly that habits of discipline and problem solving formed by learning an instrument will carry over into approaching other life endeavors successfully. Though learning the fundamentals of the instrument come first in his lessons, his favorite part of teaching is helping students learn to engage with the guitar in their own way and to develop their unique style.

    Rachel IcenogleRachel Icenogle (strings) is a versatile string player with a mind for new and interesting sounds. Specializing in experimental music, she loves to explore the tonal palette of her instruments. She composes music for puppet shows with Compagnia Aiello and is currently a member of Philadelphia bands Upholstery and Cast Shadows. Past Philadelphia theater and dance collaborations include Ombelico Mask Ensemble, BRAT Productions, Transmissions Theater, SWARM, and Birds on a Wire. With a teaching style primarily focused on realizing musicality and expression through technique, Rachel is also a teaching artist at the Baldwin School and at Play On Philly.

    Austin SbarraAustin Sbarra (piano, saxophone) is currently enrolled at Saint Joseph's University and is pursuing degrees in music and communication studies. He specializes in jazz piano, improvisation, and jazz theory but is also studying classical piano and classical theory. In addition, he plays with a variety of different musical groups in live settings, including musical theater and popular cover bands. He currently studies under Professor Daniel Green and Dr. Emi Kagawa. While piano is his main instrument, Austin also displays proficiency on saxophone as well. Self-taught from age 14, he currently plays saxophone (as well as piano) in St. Joseph University's Jazz Ensemble. Although music is his main passion, Austin has worked with children for over five years as a childcare attendant and summer camp counselor.

    Joseph PerulloJoseph Perullo (percussion) is a recent transplant from Maine, where he studied and worked as a performer and teacher for seven years. A versatile player, he has performed with jazz ensembles, Latin ensembles, rock bands, experimental groups, classical ensembles, and choirs. He has had the privilege of studying under master drummers Shannon Powell in New Orleans, Khary Abdul-Shaheed and Dan Monaghan in Philadelphia, Scott Kettner, Brandon Marger, Les Harris Jr, Michael Bennett, Gary Gemmiti, and others. As a teacher, Joseph's goal is to help students develop the means to inspire themselves. He has a high reverence for tradition and his students can expect to build from a strong foundation, which includes developing good time and feel, mechanics / technique, coordination, reading, playing in practical situations, and developing healthy practice routines. Learn more at joeperullo.com.

    Rich GalsterRich Galster (guitar, electric bass, piano) has over 15 years' experience teaching students of all ages in the greater Philadelphia area. A University of the Arts graduate, his versatility as a player allows him to bring a great deal of flexibility to his teaching approach. He encourages musicianship, creativity, and working diligently towards a polished sound. Whether a student is interested in reading music, learning by ear, improvising, writing, or diving deep into the realm of music theory, he allows his pupils to utilize their strengths while helping them to overcome struggles. As a performer since the age of 13, he has played everything from jazz, rock, and classical to mariachi-surf'n'western. Most recently with the film noir-inspired cabaret group Cast Shadows, he's pursuing a solo lounge bossa project under the name Richard Anthony Junior -- but you can just call him Rich.

    Kathryn GoldbergKathryn Goldberg (piano) is an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College pursuing a degree in music and linguistics. While piano is her first instrument, she also sings and plays the clarinet. She's involved in a number of ensembles in the Bi-College consortium, including the Chamber Singers of Haverford and Bryn Mawr and the pit orchestra for many musical productions on campus. She also directs Bryn Mawr's official a cappella group, the Night Owls, and in her free time she loves to write arrangements for them to perform. With experience teaching both group ensembles and individuals, Kathryn is committed to inspiring a love for music of all forms in her students, while giving them the strong foundational tools for musical success wherever their lives take them.

    Amber KowalAmber Kowal (upright bass, clarinet) is studying music performance on upright bass as well as philosophy at West Chester University, specializing in classical bass under the guidance of Peter Paulsen. She's assistant principal bass in the University's symphony orchestra and chamber orchestra. In addition to the bass, Amber has 8 years of experience playing clarinet and teaching beginner / intermediate lessons. Originally from South Jersey, Amber has played bass for the Atlantic City Ballet, local musical productions, churches, and community orchestras. She also studies Alexander Technique with Dr. Robert Bedford, considering it important for any musician to incorporate into practice and performance.
    Download our policies

    Location: Our teachers travel to the students’ homes. It is important that the student be ready for their teacher as all lessons will end promptly. Please respect the teacher’s time as she/he likely has a full schedule. On occasion lessons will be held in the store.

    Trial Lessons: We highly recommend a trial lesson before you make a decision about taking lessons. It is important that the student feels comfortable with the teacher and that the teacher feels it’s a good fit. And don’t forget that the parent needs to like the teacher too! The trial lesson fee is for a 30 minute lesson.

    Rates: Please call or email us for the school’s current rates: (610) 649-8842.

    Fees and Payments: Monthly (please pay in advance) invoices will be sent to you via email at the beginning of the month. All checks should be written to Common Time Music and given to your teacher or sent to Calliope Music, 4 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003. Please pay on time. There is no administrative fee and no fee for recitals.

    Absences: 24 hour notice is required for absences; however, there are exceptions especially when a child suddenly becomes ill. Please call the teacher as soon as you know there is a problem. Every scheduled lesson must be paid for. Any lesson missed for sickness will be made up within the month of the absence if possible. On rare occasions you might have a substitute teacher in case of teacher illness or vacation. You will be told in advance. A 2 week notice is required should you decide to discontinue lessons. We reserve the right to terminate lessons if a student is disruptive during lessons or not attending regularly.

    Commitment: Commitment is very important. Your teacher will emphasize the importance of making a commitment to your music lessons. Learning anything new can be challenging especially in this day of instant gratification. Some things require patience and perseverance and music is one of them – another life lesson that music gives the student.

    Preparation: Please make sure your child has his/her music books / instrument each week. It is also important that they have their assignment books. The assignment book reminds the student what he / she needs to work on but also it means the teacher has a record of what has been done. Consistency for student and teacher is very important. Practicing -- this is an open-ended subject! Depending on how long the student has been taking and the level, practice time varies. It can also vary depending on the family’s schedule. Ideally, the student will practice every day working through the assignments in his / her books. Realistically, encourage them to “play” as much as they can. There are reward methods which we would be happy to discuss with you if you want some ideas. Every family has individual considerations and we would never assume to have the answers to how a family copes with practicing. We can only make suggestions. It is important to keep open communication with the teacher who will let you know if there needs to be improvement. If you feel uncomfortable talking to the teacher, please feel free to contact Julia or George to discuss things with us.

    Instrument: It is always an advantage to have a decent instrument to play. This doesn’t mean you need a 9 foot Steinway grand piano. However, whatever instrument you use should be in good working order. We supply rentals for string and band instruments and can give ideas about how to go about buying instruments. We also have a list of piano tuners if you need one – yes, they have to be tuned regularly.

    Recitals: Each teacher will decide about recitals but generally we recommend that each student play in at least one recital (informal) per year. Recitals are meant to be a fun experience for both student and parent – a chance to share their accomplishments. However, we take the performance seriously, and expect the student to as well. This is a life experience. What they learn at the recitals they will apply to other things they do in life. It is preparation for many, many things in their future. Memorizing the piece, perfecting it (sometimes playing it until the parents can take no more!), bowing when they finish, looking physically good, all these things can be applied to future accomplishments. There is nothing more challenging than getting up before an audience and performing. But also, there is nothing more rewarding than the feeling after you have finished. It is a natural high that stays with you for a lifetime.

    Additional Policies: Some of our teachers may have additional policies. Please remember that we are always open to discussion about lessons and teachers. If you have any questions or concerns, please first speak with your teacher. Then feel free to email us.

    Updated September 2015
    We would love to talk with you about your interests and musical goals!
    Please write us to learn more about our programs, activities, rates, and policies.

    Please call Director Julia Chukinas at (610) 649-8842,
    email her at info@calliopemusicstore.com,
    or use this form: