Erin Farmer to Attend Kutztown University

music students graduate

Erin Farmer at last year’s Blast Furnace Blues Festival

Erin has been a student of The Lesson Center for over five years… here are a few words from Erin, as she graduates High School and heads off to college at Kutztown University, where she hopes to major in Business Administration and minor in the arts.  “I took guitar lessons from Jon Fadem and Jeff Roberts and voice lessons from Sarah Shown. I learned a lot from all of my teachers and they all really helped me stay ahead in all if my musical endeavors. When I had to learn pieces for college auditions, or any auditions in general, my teachers were all ready and waiting with songs lined up for me to choose from. They were supportive in anything I chose to do, and they helped me through a lot of complicated material. I owe my Lesson Center teachers a lot and they got me to where I am today.”

Erin will be greatly missed by all the TLC staff.  We can’t wait to hear about her college adventures and she what she accomplishes next!   And don’t forget, Erin – TLC Trexlertown is just a few minutes from Kutztown.  Come visit us again soon!

Next to None Rock the Warped Tour

Warped Tour Portnoy

Next to None – Warped Tour – Toyota Pavillion

TLC Students: Ryland Holland, Kris Rank, Max Portnoy and Thomas Cuce, won the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands contest and the right to rock the stage at the Warped Tour this past Tuesday. We’re so proud of these guys and how far they’ve come!

Check the band out on Facebook.

TLC Students To Play Warped Tour

BIG congratulations going out to TLC students: Kris Rank, Ryland Holland, Max Portnoy and Thomas Cuce, whose band “Next to None” just won the Ernie Ball “Battle of the Bands” and along with that honor, the opportunity to perform at the Van’s Warped Tour (Toyota Pavilion, Scranton) on Tuesday, July 16th.

The Warped Tour is a touring music and extreme sports festival. The tour is held in venues such as parking lots or fields upon which the stages and other structures are erected. The skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, among others, has sponsored the tour every year since 1995, and it is often referred to as the Vans Warped Tour. The tour started out as a showcase for punk rock music, but its more recent line-ups have featured a diversity of genres. (Wikipedia)

This is an extraordinary feat for “Next to None” – as the band’s members range in age from 14-15. “Next to None” takes part in our regular band coaching program, under the direction of TLC teacher, Geoff Black. Watch their official music video below.

The Big Move

Lori Donovan Roberts, Jeff Roberts


TLC Bethlehem – Circa 2010

Having made the “formal” announcement of the moving of our Bethlehem studio to a new location later this fall – I wanted to take a moment to say something from the heart. I never would have imagined 10 years ago that I would (a) be married to my soulmate, (b) be a business owner and (c) have my life’s work be something that changes peoples lives, hundreds of them, the young and young at heart – every week.   Just…wow.

When Billy Kounoupis stopped my boyfriend (of 3 months) over our breakfast at the diner and asked, “Aren’t you that guitar player guy? Do you teach?  And, can’t you do that here?”  Neither of us could envision being where we are now, almost ten years later.  From three tiny rooms in an old “Verizon Wireless” storefront next to Billy’s – to four locations across the Lehigh Valley and over 40 teachers – it’s well, mind-blowing.

My daughters (now almost grow) in the original waiting room of TLC Bethlehem.

My daughters (now almost grow) in the original waiting room of TLC Bethlehem.

I want to say, first and foremost, THANK YOU, to Billy.  Without his vision and persistance, his friendship and his mentorship, we would never be where we are today.  The choice to move our flagship location away from it’s Broad Street home was not an easy one.  But, I’ll be frank — the BPA made the decision for us.  One of the most important ingredients in running a successful Lesson Center is HAPPY PARENTS.  And, you don’t get happy parents when they’re stressing about parking tickets and rushing to beat the meter maids to the curb.

I also want to ensure out students, parents and the Bethlehem community that we are going to remain a vital part of downtown Bethlehem.  Whether we move completely or retain a presence at 6 E Broad for some time to come – Bethlehem is the heart of TLC.   But, at the same time, we’re amazingly excited about what this move means to our ability to impart a love of music on our students.  New interactive lesson experiences, a recital/performance space on-site, group lesson offerings, music lessons for our youngest students, and so much more.   The future is so inspiring!

Jeff & Lori Roberts

Jeff and I at TLC Bethlehem

As so many of you well know – the next several months of construction mean that my husband will be wearing his “Bob the Builder” hard hat (at least he better be! – no more accidents) and that I’ll be doing my best to hold the reigns as we enter our 10th fall season.   We’ve got so many cool things planned.  Lots of great opportunities for our students to perform.  Weekly features of students, old and new, at all four locations.  A new monthly cabaret, featuring both student and teacher performers.  And, a bunch of fun stuff on tap for the 10 Year Anniversary in 2014.

I am so looking forward to this next year.  Thank you ALL for being a part of our TLC community.  Without you, it’s just brick and mortar.
Lori Donovan Roberts


The Lesson Center to Relocate Bethlehem Flagship Location for 10 Year Anniversary

The Lesson Center New Building Bethlehem

Artist rendering of The Lesson Center’s new Easton Avenue location in Bethlehem, scheduled to open in Late Fall 2013. – by Jason Berger

Construction has begun on a new location for Lehigh Valley-based music school, The Lesson Center.  The new location, which will be housed at 1509 Easton Avenue, Bethlehem, PA, will include private lessons rooms, classroom space for teen and adult bands, group piano, group guitar and pre-k classes, as well as a performance stage for intimate recitals, and will serve a a relocation of their current studio located at 6 E. Broad Street.

The Lesson Center has four Lehigh Valley locations in total, also including: Trexlertown, Coopersburg, Northampton. The Bethlehem studio was opened as the business’s first location in 2004.  At the time, the studio was comprised of three lessons rooms on the first floor the building at 6 E Broad Street, next to Billy’s Downtown Diner. The studio was then expanded in 2008 to include the second floor space above the diner.

“We have a strong affinity for our home on Broad Street,” says managing director, Lori Donovan Roberts.  “But, this move will allow us to expand our services to our customers, making their experience both educational and enjoyable, and will ensure the most stress free experience.”

The new location will include ample, free, public parking, as well as a convenient student drop off point for families on the run.  “We listened to our customers concerns, and overwhelmingly, the thing that would make life easier for our parents and students, is convenience,” say Donovan Roberts. “By eliminating the need to feed parking meters, and relocating to such an easily accessible neighborhood, we feel we can better serve our current clientele and be a convenient option for new students as well.”

The addition of a performance space within the studio will help further the studio’s mission of providing goal-centered learning.  “We believe students grow the most when they have specific goals and benchmarks to achieve,” says owner Jeff Roberts. “Our emphasis has always been on providing performance opportunities to keep that motivation in the forefront of our student’s learning experience.  By adding our own stage to our Bethlehem studio, we can further enhance that experience.”

The Lesson Center joins a number of other well-known, small business in the Easton Avenue neighborhood – including Vegan Treats, The Compact Disc Center, and The Bethlehem Dairy (The Cup). The owners anticipate construction to be complete in late fall.  There will be no disruption in students schedules.

The Lesson Center provides private and group music education for students of all ages on all contemporary, school band, and orchestral instruments, as well as voice, choral and pre-k/early music education classes.  For more information, visit their website at: or call 610-868-1617.

Summer’s Coming!

It’s finally (almost) here! Now you just have to figure out what you’re going to do with it. To help combat the forthcoming summer blahs, The Lesson Center has two exciting and educational summer camps to get your student active and on stage.

Fest Camp (now in it’s fourth year) pairs students with others in their own age groups (7-10 and 11-18) and learning levels, to create rock and pop band, and finish the program by performing on-stage the the east coast’s biggest free music festival, Musikfest 2013. (July 29-August 9)

And, new this year… just for our vocal students: Pitch Perfect Performance. Taking the popular songs of the hit movie “Pitch Perfect” and learning through intensive training with out experienced vocal staff, students will rehearse, workshop in ear-training and music theory, as well as experience “Voices in Motion” our yoga class designed specifically for vocalists. (July 15-July 25)