Asbury Park Press
"FOR SWEET SOUNDS, SWING ON OVER TO SWEET MUSIC ACADEMY"
Jason Sweet has the perfect name for a music studio. The Howell native also has the right formula for a successful music store and school in his hometown. He has experience as a teacher and as a professional musician, and operates a facility that fosters a professional atmosphere. Just three weeks after its October opening in Howell Plaza, Sweet Music Academy was in tune with its proud owner’s projection that the Howell area has always needed a music shop like this.
The community has responded well to Sweet Music, a full-service music store and studio where clients can purchase anything from a complete set of drums or a guitar to sheet music, or sign up for music lessons on the instrument of their choice. “In addition to placing advertisements in local newspapers, I’ve been handing out fliers at soccer fields and calling the schools to let them know about the services we offer,” says Sweet, who also provides instrument rental and repair services.
His regular performances with his group, Jay Sweet Combo, are perhaps the best form of advertising. “I’m always out there performing every week, and people see me,” he says. More importantly, they hear the sweet music that he makes. What better place to send your daughter or son to than to the Sweet Music Academy? Featured on National Public Radio and many college stations, Sweet is a guitarist and bass player who performs all popular styles of music with a focus on jazz. “I perform mostly on upright bass in the area,” he says, “but I teach them all.”
He also has completed a CD, entitled, “The Chase.” At a time when Sweet is chasing a lifelong dream, the CD’s name is particularly appropriate. “I grew up in Howell, and ever since I was a teenager, I traveled to North Jersey and into the city for quality music.” he says. “I always felt this area needed something like this.” A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Sweet also earned a Master’s degree in jazz history and research from Rutgers University.
After college, Sweet performed professionally while also teaching at Rutgers. He is currently a faculty member at Middlesex County College.
Through years of teaching experience, Sweet has identified certain aspects that he believes he can better deliver to his students. All of the instructors at Sweet Music Academy have college degrees and professional performance experience, including appearances at Lincoln Center. Sweet also made sure that in establishing his first studio, he created a facility that is clean - a place where parents will feel that their children are safe and are receiving musical instruction in an inspirational environment. The studio features a large room that is ideal for recitals and classes for group instruction and ensembles.
It may be his longest-held dream, but Sweet Music Academy isn’t the only one that Sweet is seeing fulfilled. Publication of his biography on Ray Brown, who Sweet terms “the world’s greatest bass player,” is due for release by University of Michigan Press next year. It’s a project on which Sweet has worked about six years. “It’s been great,” he says. “I got to interview the greatest living jazz players.”
"SWEET MUSIC ACADEMY-EXPERT LESSONS FOR ALL AGES"
"The sweet strains of beautiful music can now be heard coming from Howell Township’s newest asset to the study of the arts. Owner Jay Sweet is very proud of Sweet Music Academy, which he recently opened in the Howell Plaza Shopping Center at 4042 Route 9 South (between Sears and the post office).
Sweet grew up in Howell and has always been involved in music. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and studied performance and composition with some of the finest instructors in the world. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, Sweet continued his education by attending Rutgers University, where he received his Master’s degree in Jazz History. He has since taught at Rutgers University and currently teaches music history at Middlesex College in addition to offering private lessons to countless students of various age levels and skills.
As a musician, Sweet has performed on upright bass, bass, and guitar in nearly every venue, including jazz clubs, concert halls, cruise ships, recording studios, television and radio. He currently performs throughout the tri-state area, including Brandl Restaurant in Belmar every Friday. His first CD, “The Chase,” features his original compositions and has received many favorable reviews. He is currently publishing a biography on bassist Ray Brown for the University of Michigan Press, which is scheduled for release this year. Through it all, Sweet Music Academy, where he can share his experience, knowledge, and love for music, has been his dream.
The instructors at Sweet Music Academy must conform to Sweet’s extremely high standards, which include professional experience and formal training in music. His goal is for Sweet Music Academy to stand out from all other music schools by providing its students with the highest quality of instruction.
Although Sweet sells, rents, and repairs musical instruments and accessories, the facilities were designed as a teaching studio with music education first and foremost. There are nine studios and one ensemble room in which he and his staff give expert private lessons on all popular instruments. With child comfort and safety foremost in his mind, Sweet designed all the studios with large windows through which parents may watch. If they prefer, parents are welcome to accompany their child into the lesson rooms.
The philosophy at Sweet Music Academy is to teach students through encouragement, regardless of musical background or initial talent level. When someone masters an instrument, self-esteem soars. The professional staff at the Academy is committed to uncovering their students’ abilities and encouraging them to take it to the next level. Frequent student recitals allow for a chance to shine.”