In recent months, you might have spotted the occasional in-depth news story or internet posting about Recession-Proof Jobs.
In recent months, you might have spotted the occasional news story about recession-proof jobs. The jobs usually range from computer and network systems analysts and administrators and data communications analysts to registered nurses, according to such media sources as Time and Forbes Magazines.
But it’s unlikely even Time or Forbes ever considered private work-from-home music lessons in its job-market surveys.
Pianist/keyboardist Joe Micarelli of Hingham is a longtime professional musician who has also been teaching piano and vocal coaching at his Crow Point home for 18 years. But as true in bucking the recession for an occupation as any, business for Micarelli has never been better since he launched his home-based second career in 1991.
The pianist/instructor currently handles a full docket of 36 students per week, juggling half-hour lesson slots for his mostly youngster clientele over some 30 hours per week, Monday through Saturday.
“I’m very pleased with the response from the community and the local area outside Hingham,” said Micarelli in his home kitchen, a few feet away from the elegant Steinway grand piano where he hosts his students.
“I would guess that I’m fulfilling a certain need in the community with a unique type of service,” Micarelli added.
Micarelli has lived in Hingham for more than 20 years, and been a professional musician for more than 30 years. He’s familiar to many throughout the South Shore as a co-founding member of The Fat City Band, the long-running rock ‘n’ roll/blues/R&B ensemble which since the mid-1970s has become one of the best-known, hard-working, good-time bar bands in the Boston area.
With the Fat City Band, Micarelli opened for Ray Charles, B.B. King and James Brown among many others, and appeared on studio albums produced by famed New Orleans pianist and songwriter Allen Toussaint, and Steely Dan guitarist Elliot Randall (of “Reelin’ In the Years” fame). Additionally, his original song, “Mad Money,” was played for a national audience by Fat City on comedian David Brenner’s cable-network talk show.
Currently, among other gigs, Micarelli performs a mix of blues, soul, New Orleans R&B and standards with Cohasset vocalist/blues-harpist J Place and Hull drummer John Litwin in the Drift Away Trio, and in the Red Parrot Jazz Brunch with the Joe Micarelli Jazz Trio each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Nantasket Beach in Hull.
Micarelli draws a different sort of satisfaction from his home private lessons business. He notes that his student roster leans heavily to younger kids — age 6 to 16 — with a few adults and retirees, as well as to Hingham residents, with others from Scituate and Cohasset.
“When people in the community find out you can be a positive influence on their kids, they respond to that well,” said Micarelli.
“For my part, I get a chance to help in the raising of kids in the community, to contribute to their development. In this line of work, I think you have to know how to support your students, and send them out feeling confident, better than they felt when they came in,” Micarelli said.
The keyboard master adds these words of caution, however.
“I have to be honest with my students — both kids and adults — and let them know that learning music takes work. Music can be a pleasant diversion, but students have to deal with the rigors of learning and they’re going to need patience. The hard work is going to come at them, and I like to warn my students about that right off the bat, so that they’re not shocked by it when it happens,” Micarelli said.
Micarelli also noted that his private lessons service has always been steady for 18 years, building slowly but surely through word-of-mouth. But he added that “this summer, it’s really gone gangbusters,” despite, or perhaps because of, the current economics.
Said Micarelli, “It’s a very reaffirming thing to know that the community has supported this service like it has. It says a lot about them.”