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.
TEACHING OPPORTUNITIESCommon Time Music School is looking for piano teachers. We want teachers who work with students of all ages and skill levels -- from beginning to advanced -- and who are dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of music. (We’re also interested in hearing from new teachers of strings, woodwinds, and other instruments.) Please consider applying if you’re a performer, you’re a current or past music major, or you’ve had wonderful music teachers. Previous teaching experience, while an asset, isn’t mandatory. CTMS’s founders have 40 years’ experience playing and educating; we’re happy to pass along some helpful advice for teaching. CTMS teachers visit our students’ homes so reliable transportation is important. Teachers are paid based on hourly rates and enjoy flexible scheduling. Currently our educators give in-person lessons but we’re ready to return to virtual teaching as necessary. Sound exciting? Please submit your letter and/or resume to: Julia Chukinas
Piano and Multiple Instruments
|Lydia Bianchi (piano) started playing piano at age 7 when her parents discovered her tendency to sing in the shower. She has always had a fondness for all genres of music and appreciates how learning piano at a young age has fueled her current musical endeavors. While other instruments have become important tools in her songwriting, she still loves playing classical pieces highlighting the beauty of the piano. Through studying developmental psychology at NYU, Lydia connected with other local artists and formed an indie rock band, for which she still writes and records. She loves children and for over ten years has worked with students of many ages in the classroom, the home, and other learning environments. Lydia promotes a positive, encouraging attitude towards music education: she believes part of the magic of learning an instrument is the discipline it teaches but above all her main desire is to instill a love and appreciation for music.|
|Lydia Michelle Bujok (piano) is a piano teacher, performer, writer, and composer. Classically trained, Lydia began private lessons at the age of five. She was piano accompanist for a children’s choir and her high school choir. Performing solo, Lydia competes annually and was involved in the New Jersey Music Teachers Association Spring Festival Achievement Awards. She was educated in the Royal Academy of Music’s “Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music,” in which she studied complex theory and pedagogy. At the age of 20, Lydia founded her own teaching practice while performing gigs and concerts throughout Philadelphia and the Main Line. Lydia professionally records her compositions and performs live Instagram performances of her improvisations spanning contemporary, classical, pop, and R&B. Lydia has always been dedicated and ambitious in expressing her passion for teaching and performance, striving to make an impact by inspiring her students to love music!|
|Dr. Christopher Gage (piano, organ) is new to the Philadelphia area, having recently been appointed Director of Music at Overbrook Presbyterian Church, where he conducts the Overbrook Choir, Junior Choir, and Westminster Handbell Choir. He earned his Doctorate in Musical Arts in organ performance from the University of Kansas in 2016, and he holds additional degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Delaware. Chris believes that everyone has the potential to be a great musician and his teaching philosophy is to instill a love of music in his students and to equip them with the tools they need to realize their potential. In particular, he’s an advocate of guided improvisation, which affirms students’ strengths while challenging them to expand their musical horizons. With a background in classical, jazz, and pop, Chris helps students with a wide variety of preferences.|
|Kathryn 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.|
|James Guglielmo (piano) studied composition with Vincent Persichetti and Joseph Cataldo, classical piano with Clement Pertrillo for ten years, and jazz with Dennis Sandal on the East Coast. On the West Coast he studied orchestration with Albert Harris and conducting with Frederich Zweig. He was the pianist at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas and music director on various cruise ships as well as accompanist for numerous stars including Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Rita Moreno, Henry Mancini, and many others. James is currently studying voice with Jeff Alani Stanfill in New York.|
|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.|
|Jack Plumlee (piano, guitar, bass guitar) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who recently moved to Philadelphia. From a very early age he studied classical piano and learned under Walter Noona throughout middle and high school. In addition he took up rock guitar and bass guitar, spending six years in the school jazz band. Jack attended Wesleyan University where he studied music and graduated with honors in 2021. He’s also interested in the design, construction, and maintenance of musical instruments. For his undergraduate thesis, he hand-built a clavichord and documented the year-long process. Jack has spent the last year studying jazz guitar under Chuck Anderson. Jack’s educational focus is inspired by the discovery and development of his students’ musical interests.|
|Geert 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.
|Cory Sammartino-Guzzi (violin, viola) holds a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Hofstra University. He has performed on violin and viola with ensembles in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, including the Island Symphony Orchestra, Long Island Pops, Waltham Philharmonic, and Hofstra’s Jazz 20 ensemble. He has been a guest artist on recording albums and is now a performer and teacher in the Philadelphia area, participating in a range of styles -- from creating Jewish music with Beth Am Israel’s Prayer Lab to improvising in bluegrass jams. As an instructor, Cory draws on a variety of styles, such as classical, jazz, Jewish, bluegrass, and Celtic fiddling. He incorporates ear training, music theory, sight reading, and improvisation into his lessons. He believes the most important thing is for students to love music, enjoy playing, and feel good about their progress. He encourages students to pursue music they like, regardless of style or genre. When he’s not teaching, Cory enjoys video games, football, hiking, and hanging out with his wife and two cats.|
|Rachel 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.|
|Ronald Lipscomb (cello) started his cello lessons in the Philadelphia School system and Settlement Music School where he studied with a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ronald then attended the Manhattan School of Music to study with Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio. After four years he began to work professionally in New York City, playing as substitute for the New York Philharmonic and touring to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Scandinavia, and Russia. He also attended the Marlboro School of Music for two summers where he played in a Master class for Pablo Casals. Since returning to Philadelphia, Ronald has played with the Fairmount String Quartet, taught at area universities and privately, and worked with the Lower Merion summer strings program. Ronald is dedicated to inspiring and teaching young students to play and love the cello for a lifetime.|
|George Pettis (guitar, piano) is a PhD candidate in musicology, songwriter, performer, and touring musician with over a decade of experience playing in various indie rock and folk bands. His current project, 100 Watt Horse, recently released an album through Philly-based Sleeper Records. George is passionate about teaching and believes everyone is musical and capable of making music. He has taught children as both private piano teacher and afterschool counselor, and he enjoys inspiring creativity and a love of music in students of all ages. As a teacher, his focus is on fundamentals combined with improvisation and experimentation, and he strongly encourages students to explore writing melodies and songs. George has experience in diverse genres; during the course of his doctoral work at Florida State University, he taught world music, folk and indigenous musics, western classical music, and American popular music. He was also the founder and director of Omnimusica, an experimental and improvisational music ensemble / collective|
|Walt Plumlee (guitar) started piano lessons at six years old but soon took up the guitar, inspired by his father's love for alternative rock and bluegrass music. Walt graduated from Haverford College in 2018 with a degree in philosophy and now is guitar and bass instructor at The Baldwin School in addition to working with Common Time Music School students. Walt believes that the habits of discipline and problem-solving formed by learning an instrument carry over into approaching other life endeavors successfully. His favorite part of teaching is helping students develop their own unique musical interests. Walt is also able to teach music production and engineering techniques, in addition to rock pop and jazz styles and music theory.|
Woodwinds and Multiple Instruments
|Michael Hudson-Casanova (sax, flute, clarinet) is from the Detroit area and began playing saxophone in the 5th grade. Throughout high school he studied saxophone, flute, and clarinet with some of Detroit’s most in-demand performers and teachers. In 2016 he graduated from Western Michigan University with his Bachelors of Music in Education and Jazz Studies and he’s now working toward his Master of Music in Jazz Performance at Temple University. Michael has taught private lessons for over five years. He loves helping students develop a personal relationship with music and their chosen instrument. Using his own practice materials as well as method books, Michael also encourages students to bring their own music. Having performed theatre productions, concert bands, chamber ensembles, blues and rock groups, and small and large jazz ensembles, Michael can guide a student in whatever musical direction they wish to pursue.|
|Andrew Urbina (saxophone, clarinet) is from the Philadelphia suburbs and of Colombian descent. He’s a freelance musician who performs and educates throughout the US, Canada, and Colombia. He earned a Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory and a Masters of Music from McGill University, both with concentrations in jazz, and completed PA K-12 teaching certification from Immaculata University. In 2008, Andrew participated in the Banff International Workshop of Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centre led by Dave Douglas in Alberta. In 2009, he performed at the VI Panama Jazz Festival with an ensemble from New England Conservatory and later lived in Bogota, Colombia as an active performer and educator. In 2016, he performed with the Ida y Vuelta ensemble at the X Festival Internacional de Musica in Cartagena, Colombia. As a performer, Andrew is an active member of the Norman David Eleventet, U.S.E. Trio, and plays regularly with groups throughout the Philadelphia area. He’s a passionate educator, teaching at La Universidad Sergio Arboleda, McGill University, PA Governor's School of the Arts, and Bala Cynwyd Middle School. He’s the LTS Instrumental Music Teacher at Radnor Middle School where he teaches concert band, jazz band, and music technology. Andrew's teaching philosophy focuses on a well-rounded musical foundation so his students have the tools to develop their own unique musical approach.|
See our Facebook Page for upcoming performances and events!
Common Time Recital (March 2018)
Piano and cast
Elliot's 5 year old hand position
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