Starting On The Right Beat

August 1, 2017
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Lakehouse Music Academy, a progressive music school in Asbury Park, teaches students from age 3 to adult. Photo courtesy Lakehouse Music Academy

By Mary Ann Bourbeau |

ASBURY PARK – Though it only opened its doors in 2013, Lakehouse Music Academy has grown tremendously in that time. The music school, which offers individual and group lessons to people of all ages and levels of experience, started out with 27 students has grown to more than 500.

“We want to bring relevant, real music education to people,” said Albie Monterrosa, Lakehouse music director.

Some of the more advanced students from ages 10-16 are called pros. These kids have shared the stage with artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny at venues including the Paramount Theatre, the Stone Pony, Wonder Bar and the Saint. Their next gig is July 30 at the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, located on Lake Avenue just steps from Lakehouse Music Academy. Three pro groups and one adult group will entertain from 6 to 9 p.m.

“It’s important to get them into the real world in front of people,” said Monterrosa.

Lakehouse offers programs for children as young as 6 months, but adults in their 70s are also enrolled in some of the classes.

“We have about 30 adult bands that meet once a week,” said Monterrosa. “They study jazz, blues, rock and pop music. A lot of adults use it as therapy. They come once a week to shut the world out and play music.”

Lakehouse Music Academy was created when area musician Jon Leidersdorff moved his recording studio into a building on Lake Avenue in Asbury Park. His goal was to have an education program that was beneficial to all the kids in the city.

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“It’s a big passion of his,” said Monterrosa.

Photo Courtesy Lakehouse Music Academy

In addition to Leidersdorff, there is an administrative staff of three. Monterrosa is a singer/songwriter who founded the Asbury Park-based rock group deSol. General Manager Juan O’Grady studied at Berklee College of Music, toured the West Coast with his band and taught at several music schools. Eric Novod, director of education, is a writer, drummer and producer who has taught music at Rutgers University and Brookdale Community College. He is a frequent contributor to Modern Drummer magazine.

The facility has about 40 teachers, all working musicians who give lessons in guitar, bass, piano, drums and vocals. Because Lakehouse Music Academy is housed under the same roof as two world-class recording studios, a music store and numerous rehearsal rooms, many notable industry professionals who visit will take the time to offer advice to the students.

“We’ve had Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Little Steven Van Zandt and Jon Bon Jovi speak to the kids,” said Monterrosa. “These kids are the musical future. We’re blessed to be in Asbury Park because it’s a musical hub.”

E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg and his son Jay, a member of the heavy metal band Slipknot, taught a drum clinic there earlier this summer.

“Max is a great guy who has done so much, not only for music but for the community,” said Monterrosa. “He inspires the kids to achieve great musical heights.”

Accompanied by a parent, toddlers begin their musical journey at Lakehouse with sticks, drums and shakers. Drop-off classes begin at age 3, where students learn the fundamental concepts of rhythm and tonality and learn to express their inner rock star with a weekly jam session. As they progress, they have opportunities to learn songwriting, recording, engineering, producing, business and marketing.

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Photo Courtesy Lakehouse Music Academy

Themed summer camps include The Beatles, modern rock, songwriting, jazz improv and audio engineering. Lakehouse also works with the Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Youth Initiative Program, which is called “Music Saved My Life.” This program is based on the need for a music program at Hope Academy Charter School, a K-8 public charter school in downtown Asbury Park.

“There are scholarships for kids on the west side so they can come to Lakehouse,” said Monterrosa. “We see such a change in them. They come in nervous and the next thing you know, they’re playing in a band. They’ve found a purpose and they’re feeling good about themselves. It changes them. Music infuses the human spirit with hope and happiness.”

Students from Lakehouse were even featured in the recent documentary “Just Before the Dawn,” a film by director Tom Jones about the Upstage Club in Asbury Park. The club helped launch the careers of Springsteen, Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, Sonny Kenn and many others.

“At the end of the movie, it shows these kids as the future of Asbury Park,” Monterrosa said.

To make a donation toward scholarships, visit

Arts and entertainment writer Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at

This article was first published in the July 27 – Aug. 3, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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