Teaching Stars How to Shine at The Modern Music Academy

Do you know someone with dreams of stardom? For those kids not willing to wait through audition lines for a chance on American Idol or The Voice, there is now another road to a pop music contract: The Modern Music Academy in Montclair. Co-owners Jenny and Jarrett Zellea recently returned home to New Jersey, after years in Los Angeles, to open a music school that focuses on teaching students to develop as whole musicians. Children as young as seven years old can take advantage of instruction by a Grammy winning artist and a full staff of credentialed and working musicians.

The Zelleas both have extensive experience working with young students. Jarrett has taught middle school and high school music in Cedar Grove, Clifton, and in Beverly Hills, CA.  In addition to traditional music classes, he has coached students in drumline skills and jazz ensembles.  The MMA’s philosophy is about active and hands-on opportunities in learning instruments, as well as in song-writing, recording, video and audio production, and even music marketing.  Students use the professional grade equipment in the various learning labs to develop skills that will eventually allow them to be in control of their own musical careers.

If your tween or teenager needs a music instructor with a coolness quotient measurable in awards and high-end entertainment chops, Jarrett Zellea is a two-time Grammy award winner. Perhaps that’s not enough? Let your kid know that My Chemical Romance, The Jonas Brothers, and Santana have all benefited from working with Jarrett, and that Jenny has served as producer on shows like Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Pretty solid resumes, I’d say.

Children from seven to ten years old are offered lessons in thirty-minute sessions. Older students have private hour-long lessons in a variety of instruments. Those who are not yet sure which instrument they want to learn can embark on an “exploratory” program that exposes them to as many instruments as they wish to try. Jarrett Zellea, who was described as able to “fill a room” with enthusiasm and inspiration for his students, can help guide any student who wants to learn to a comfortable and challenging genre and instrument. The staff of credentialed instructors all have experience in educating young people, and since they are also working musicians, they bring real-life motivation to their students.

Kids with more technical interests also have an outlet at The Modern Music Academy. From learning the ins-and-outs of DJ skills, to working on photo shoots and video sessions, students can develop production skills in the monthly Audio Producer Video/Film Editor Programs. The MMA also provides instruction for adults.

The space in the Academy’s Grove Street location (near Grove Pharmacy and Saveur Creole) is comfortable and welcoming. The waiting/reception area shows off framed awards, and the sound-proofed rooms are no-nonsense and newly renovated. Included in the location is an active recording studio, professional grade equipment for shooting and editing video, and an upcoming rehearsal space.

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  1. Sounds amazing! And the exploratory program is such a good idea – my kids want to play an instrument but have no idea which one.

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