Feed This Community Spotlight: Lakehouse Music Academy

Lakehouse Music Academy In The Spotlight

Hello again everyone! Today I wanted to share with you a bit about one of the organizations who will benefit from sales of my cookbook, Feed This Community (You can pick up your copy here ) Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park is more than a place to take music lessons, it truly is a music movement in Asbury. It’s helmed by the incomparable Jon Leidersdorff and I’m so grateful to be able to share a bit about Lakehouse and all that they do in the community.

Lakehouse Music Academy And Asbury Park

In starting Lakehouse Music Academy, Jon Leidersdorff took a leap of faith and started a movement. There is no doubt that Asbury Park New Jersey has a music connection unlike any other. At the same time, when Jon launched Lakehouse there was nothing in town that did for music what I was working to do with food: transform community from inside out.

Of course, there were so many musicians who were either from Asbury and coming to the city to see or play concerts and shows. The people were there and so the question was, “How do you connect these musicians and music lovers to the community and attract musically passionate people of all kinds, of all ages and interests?”  That’s the question that Jon answered in creating and helming Lakehouse.

Lakehouse does more than offer a place to play around musically, to sing or to go to shows. It certainly makes those things possible but it also created a center for talent and passion, a magnet for those who felt pulled toward creativity, music, and community.

Fire Jam Hockey Rocks!

Full disclosure, two of the adorably talented tikes in Lakehouse’s Fire Jam Hockey are my daughters (And yes, they and their two bandmates picked the band’s name themselves!).  I’ve seen the confidence building, fear facing, and creative discipline that my daughters continue to learn from being students at Lakehouse and so I know first-hand the impact of the work that Jon and his team do. My girls play the Big Gig, which is a concert put on by groups of students who become bands. They study together and perform 2x a year at real music venues in Asbury Park. The young students get the experience of the big gig and it’s an awesome teachable moment for parents and guardians to share with their kids. I remember a really poignant conversation with my daughter Hari before the most recent Big Gig. She was having a hard time and didn’t want to go back to the stage. I got to connect with her and let her know, “You’re going to feel empowered each time you go up there.” I smiled at her and reminded her, “The first time is only the first time.” She and the rest of Fire Jam Hockey rocked that show, of course. 

The Lakehouse Effect

Lakehouse allows its students to fill themselves with the energy of others, to feed off of the energy of bandmates and the audience, to face and feel the butterflies, to confront the feeling of “less than”, and to rise and grow in new ways. Jon and his team provide opportunities for challenge, for growth, for feelings and nerves. But afterward, it is a high and it is pretty darn amazing. The Lakehouse captures that same energy in how they curate and run the school itself and the building which the studio calls home.

LakeHouse And The Asbury Park Music Foundation

Aside from the adrenaline and growth fostered in lessons, band practice, and Big Gig experiences, Lakehouse’s non-profit, partners with Asbury Park Music Foundation and is active in the community. Lakehouse has a Hip-Hop Bus fitted-out with the latest technology. This bus goes to the local Boys and Girls Club, for example, and teaches kids there things like concert lighting, sound, and tech. This is an awesome opportunity for people different abilities and the same love of music to be involved in the music creation and performance process.

Behind The Scenes And In The Spotlight

We may know that there are many people involved in the orchestration of the music, from producers to lighting techs. What sets Lakehouse apart is that Jon and his team give young people in the community, who may not have exposure to these sorts of things, the chance to explore these things in a very real, very powerful way. Young people in Asbury Park are no longer on the sidelines of the music in their town because of a lack of confidence, exposure, or financial resources: They are an active and meaningful group of contributors to that music culture. The music comes to them and they, in turn, become a part of the music.

Music Culture And The Future of Asbury Park

Jon and his team have truly become stewards of music culture and creativity in Asbury Park and have brought about meaningful change in regard to how members of the community interact with and access music and music education. One of the big reasons I selected Lakehouse as one of my organizations to donate to through the cookbook is because I draw distinct parallels between what I do for food and what Jon does for music. In each of our approaches to our passions we choose to act in a social conscious, community-focused manner.

Jon’s brought music education to the people of Asbury Park and has knocked down barriers of all kinds in order to ensure more equitable access to a key facet of the city’s culture. When I reflect on my own work with Food For Thought By The Sea, I note that I’ve worked to do the same thing for food and hospitality. In my blog about Kula Café (read it here) I also explore how that venture has given Interfaith Neighbors and I the opportunity to address a need in our community as well. What I’ work to do for food, I believe Lakehouse works to do for music and that is a beautiful, powerful passion that Jon and I share for the people, culture, and future of Asbury Park.

Looking For Your Next Set List?

  • To learn more about Lakehouse, click here .

  • To pick up your copy of my new cookbook and contribute to amazing organizations like Lakehouse, click here .