Gotta play

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:10

    Wantage Elementary teacher gives guitar lessons especially for girls Wantage — When Kerri Freda discovered the guitar in her early teens, it wasn’t the norm for girls to be playing anything other than piano or a school instrument. The Go Go’s and Bangles weren’t yet established to influence girls to take up guitar. That didn’t discourage Freda and together with her best friend Lori, the girls taught each other how to play guitar (by ear) before taking some private lessons from a male instructor. They could not find any female guitar teachers. More recently, while directing Sussex Middle School’s annual musical Freda was further inspired by her female singers’ interest in guitar, music and bands. That led her to a decision. Freda now teaches guitar and piano from her home in Frankford, hoping to attract young females who want to play guitar. The female drama students sing and some already play guitar, Freda said. Last April, Freda backed one of the female singers during a coffee house performance and had a great time. Teaching others Freda’s new endeavor will be called The Sheatles Music Studio. Named for the all-female Beatles band she is a part of, the studio offers guitar and piano lessons to girls, teens, children, women and anyone. Freda is a licensed elementary/middle school teacher with an extensive background playing guitar and keyboards in successful cover bands. She has performed at Citifield, The PNC Arts Center, The Palladium and The Roseland Ballroom and appeared on MTV. She has also performed in bands that opened for The Spice Girls, Korn, Fuel, Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and actor Keenu Reeves’ band Dogstar. Several years ago, Freda was hired to teach guitar specifically to attract more female students at The School of Rock Music Studio in Long Valley. The owner felt young girls would be more comfortable with a female teacher, Freda said. That was the correct assumption and Freda’s client list grew. But, while she loved the experience, the commute to Morris County, after a long day of teaching, was too great. Even with today’s “equality,” Freda said she is still surprised that there are not more female musicians on the New Jersey club scene. She points out a successful and visible few: like Lady Gaga, Jewel, Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson’s former lead guitarist, Orianthi Panagaris, as women who have helped influence young female musicians. Freda has been in many all-female bands over the last two decades and finds it's usually the same players who come together. “I often wonder where the new female musicians are,” said Freda. With her new studio, Freda hopes to attract girls to take up the guitar. “The guitar is a great instrument and if you can sing, the sky is the limit,” she said. While The Sheatles are on a hiatus from performing, Freda said the name retains great significance. Influenced to take up guitar by The Beatles, what better name to use then The Sheatles? “It pays homage to my influence and it means, girls” For more information on The Sheatles Music Studio, contact Freda at 973-903-6818 or visit