Sunburst Blog

by Jordan Main  January 07, 2020 

Welcome Our New Instructors

Sunburst is welcoming 3 new instructors this month! Here's a little bit about each of them:


Ryan Hoffman squareRyan - Guitar and Uke Instructor

  • Fun Fact: I'm a runner
  • Favorite Genre of Music: Indie Rock
  • Why do you love music?: Music can be different things in so many different ways. It can be peaceful, energizing, or calming. It is a great way too of channeling your emotions.


Aaron SquareAaron - Voice Instructor

  • Fun Fact: I'm fluent in German
  • Favorite Genre of Music: Indie Pop
  • Why do you love music?: Music is a great way to meet people and connect with them! 



Matt Price Square

Matt - Drum Instructor

  • Fun Fact: I know how to juggle!
  • Favorite Genre of Music: Instrumental music from ambient electronics and progressive metal
  • Why do you love music?: Music is a universal language that is a tool for expressing the inexpressible.
by Jordan Main  January 07, 2020 

Adult Programming Focus Group

We are working on some new options for supplemental programs geared towards our adult students, and we would love to get some of your ideas! We’ll be hosting a focus group for our adult students on Saturday, January 25th from 3-5pm, and would like to invite any adult student to come and share their ideas.

Please RSVP by emailing, calling, or stopping in at the desk, and let us know if you have any questions.

by Jordan Main  January 07, 2020 

2020 House Band Auditions set for March 1st


The Sunburst House Band is an exciting opportunity for our most dedicated students to really get serious about playing and performing. Each year we hold an audition open to any students ages 10-17 to try out for voice, guitar, keyboards, bass or drums. Afterward our panel of judges will select the most advanced students for each instrument and draft a 6-8 person group for the 2020 Season.

The House Band meets once per week on Sunday evenings for rehearsals and performs upwards of 20 times per year at a variety of shows and events all over Pittsburgh. The band also records regularly and works on original material.

Full information on how to prepare for our House Band Auditions can be found here.

We’d also like to say here that going through the process of an audition is a valuable skill-builder in and of itself, so we’d like to encourage absolutely everyone interested to audition.

There are a few shows left for the 2019 House Band, catch them this Friday 1/10 performing at Sunburst!

by Jordan Main  January 06, 2020 

Check Out WSBR: Sunburst Radio!

We’re super excited about the official launch of our new WSBR: Sunburst Radio program! In this program, students will learn the ins and outs of music production, recording, beat making, podcasting and more! Check out the first episode and sign up for a free trial of the class!

Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  December 16, 2019 


Learn more about our teacher of the month, Piano and keyboard teacher Max Somerville. Check out the new album from Max’s band Wreckloose here


What kind of music do you like to play?
When it comes to playing music, my favorite kind is the kind you play with other people! Whether it’s with a band of friends I've been playing with for years, or someone I've just met, music has always been my favorite form of communication. If I had to pick a genre though I would probably say funk/soul. It's just really fun to play!

How did you get into music?
My father is a pianist and a songwriter and he introduced me to The Beatles White Album when I was five. I dug it so much that I asked him to teach me the piano for the only Ringo Starr song on the album "Don't Pass Me By". But it wasn't until I was 14, when my friends told me they needed a bass player for their band (I truly didn't know what bass was at that time) that I really got into music. I started writing music for the group, and I realized I had an application for everything I learned so far. I used the piano as a tool to write music and it all just started making sense.

What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?
My favorite thing about being a teacher is getting to talk about, listen [to], and play music with so many people! As a teacher, I am still constantly learning about music, and many times, I find myself learning something new while teaching something I thought I already fully understood.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?
Be fearless! Know that you're capable of achieving anything you put your mind to. Music doesn't have many roadmaps, and that can be confusing and intimidating. But that's also why it's great. You really have the freedom to create and communicate in a way that's completely your own.

Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  November 11, 2019 

Employee Of The Month - Naomi

In addition to being our beloved office manager, Naomi is also an amazing singer! Here’s a little Q and A with her about her musical background:

NaomiWhat kind of music do you like to play?  

I am a vocalist who likes to sing pop, r&b and gospel music.

How did you get into music?

I have always been naturally drawn to music, I started off as a dancer in a dance company years ago.  As a child, I always sang at home, church and school choirs. I had a fear of singing front and center, so I started singing in choirs and small musical groups.  However, I did not come out of my shell until I was an adult. After I realized my potential, the doors began to open and opportunities started knocking on my door!

What's your favorite thing about being at Sunburst?

My favorite thing about Sunburst to having the ability to be surrounded by like-minded people, who have a passion for music and inspiring students to reach their goals no matter what level they are.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

Be comfortable being uncomfortable, be confident with being uncertain.... but never give up when things get hard. Pushing through challenges is what makes you grow! So keep going and don't quit!

Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  November 08, 2019 

Recital Sign-Up and Jam-Along Song, “Twist and Shout”

Now is the time to sign up for our winter recitals! Talk to your instructor about performing and stop by the desk during your next lesson to sign up.

We will also be closing each recital with a sing-along version of the classic “Twist and Shout” by Bert Russell, in the style of The Beatles via the Isley Brothers. This will require “all hands on deck”, so we are hoping to get participation from each instrument. Here's a link to the chord sheet if you'd like to get a head start. We also have some copies ready in the studio.

See you in December!

Ernie Francestine by Ernie Francestine  November 08, 2019 

Ernie’s Pick of the Month - Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples

kikagaku moyoErnie’s Pick of the Month

Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples

Hailing from Tokyo, Kikagaku Moyo doesn’t take cues from past psych-rock tropes like heavy guitars, reverb-drenched vocals or thundering drums. Instead, employ an impressive array of sounds that feels like a new chapter for international music. “Masana Temples” is their 4th full length LP and has garnered them a significant amount of recognition stateside. Throughout the record, Kikagaku Moyo weaves through Thai-funk grooves, minimalist bass layers, and catchy hooks that invite the listener to interpret the lyrics to fit the mood of the song. “Dripping Sun” is a great example of all of the different territory they can cover in one song while still remaining cohesive and listenable. If you like what you hear on “Masana Temples”, check out “House In The Tall Grass” and take a trip to Baltimore on November 14th to see them on their fall US tour.

TL;DR: Japanese psych band that everyone can listen to.

Key tracks: Dripping Sun, Amayadori, Gatherings

Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  October 03, 2019 

Sunburst a Treasure of Squirrel Hill

SHUCSince 2010, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has honored the people and places that make Squirrel Hill a great place to live, work and do business. The Squirrel Hill Treasure Dinner has become an annual celebration and fundraiser for SHUC. Each year they recognize and congratulate individuals, businesses, and organizations that are integral parts to the community. We’re happy to announce that Sunburst is one of this year’s Treasures! The Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 30th. You can learn more about this special event and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition at

Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  October 03, 2019 

Fin - Teacher of the Month - October 2019

FinOur October Teacher of the Month is guitar and music production instructor Fin! 

What kind of music do you like to play?

When I play guitar, jazz. I like learning old solos and trying to understand how my favorite guitarists thought about and approached their music. On the computer I like to compose hip-hop beats from old samples. I get a big kick out of finding music you wouldn't expect in a hip-hop/electronic song and turning it into something catchy and fun to listen to.

How did you get into music?

I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old and shortly thereafter got involved in an after school music program that focused on playing R&B and Jazz. The teachers there really got me hooked.

What's your favorite thing about being a teacher?

I really enjoy finding out what students are into. Not just what music they listen to but what T.V. shows they've been watching or video games they're playing. It helps me get a clearer picture of what and even how they want to learn.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

Think long-term! No one gets good at something overnight!

Instrument Rental

Want to start taking lessons but don't yet have an instrument? We have tons in the studio available for you to use or rent!


Sunburst School of Music

5843 Forbes Avenue, Suite 201

Pittsburgh, PA 15217