BY JOE MARVILLI
Queens is a Borough that is bursting at the seams with musicians and bands of all shapes and sizes. But everyone has to start somewhere. Several students have chosen to begin their musical education at Paul Vario Music in Bayside.
Paul Vario Music, located on the second floor of 40-04A Bell Blvd., opened its doors in 2012. Founded by Vario himself, the business allows him to teach several students in guitar, bass, piano and digital recording, while Fred Trumpy handles drums and percussion. This modern studio offers more than just lessons though. As a recording studio and a repair shop, it has everything a student needs to translate his or her songs from an idea to a reality.
Vario grew up in a musical family. His mother sang professionally, his uncles recorded in a doo-wop group and his older cousins played in rock bands. Despite guitar and piano lessons at a young age, Vario did not initially have the same connection to music as his family members did. All of that changed when he heard Iron Maiden for the first time.
“Like many teens and pre-teens, I found something magical about loud, fast, defiant rock music. My life changed in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Music gave me an identity. Music gave me confidence. I fell in love with it 30 years ago and it helped shape my life.”
While Vario initially taught music lessons at another business, his employers scrapped the program in January 2012 to focus solely on retail. He said he was determined not to let down his roster of loyal students and used the opportunity to start his own studio.
Despite the usually long and difficult path to open a new business, Vario managed to get everything together in less than a month’s time.
“I wanted to insure a smooth transition for my students and had only three weeks to find a rental space, form a corporation, buy equipment, build/clean/paint/prep,” he said. “But on Feb. 1, 2012, our doors opened and we were ready.”
Vario said he learned something different from each of his experiences recording and performing with Platinum-selling artists and Grammy winners like Son Seals, Al Pitrelli, Goldy McJohn and more. These artists all showed him different ways of communicating with an instrument, a lesson he passes on to his own students.
“Communication really is the essence of music, and it’s something that I feel I excel at. Any experienced musician can play a chord or scale, but the challenge of my profession is translating those chords and scales, clearly and concisely, in a way that anyone can understand,” he said.
When it comes to musical communication, Vario has preferred instruments that he likes to go to, depending on the scenario. When he plays with others, Vario favors the bass guitar. When he plays at home, the guitar is his songwriting instrument of choice. As for teaching, Vario said the piano is the best choice for learning the basics of melody and harmony, with minimal barriers for students.
Paul Vario Music is more than just a space for music lessons though. Vario said that he uses recording equipment and technology to teach the students what to do once they are ready to start writing themselves.
“Recording software, sequencers, drum machines and MIDI are all seamlessly integrated into our lessons and used not only to educate but inspire creativity,” he said. “Many of our students are now developing their own careers in music and I’m honored that they’ve chosen PVM as their recording home.”
The studio also offers instrument repairs, letting students drop off their gear after a lesson and having it set by the time the next one rolls around.
Besides working at his studio, Vario also gives lessons at PS 31 in Bayside. He said that both PTA president David Fullman and Principal Terri Graybow had children that he taught and they asked him to get involved when the position opened up.
“I take my role in the community very seriously both as a business-owner and as someone entrusted to help guide our children,” Vario said. “In the years to come, I hope to do even more with our local public schools.”
For those looking to learn a musical instrument, Vario said that students should enjoy the process of learning itself and they should be patient when practicing.
“Remember to focus on the journey, not the destination. Enjoying music is a wonderful part of our lives and it only gets better when you participate,” he said. “Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. The pros do it all the time, we’ve just learned to turn our mistakes into motifs!”
To learn more about Paul Vario Music, visit http://paulvariomusic.com or call (917) 744-2277.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.