Music Lessons as the Newest Exercise for the Soul

Music Lessons as the Newest Exercise for the Soul
Music School Founder, Alyssa O’Toole Featured In Boston Magazine

In adult life, it’s easy for work and routine to take over our identities—so much so that we forget to prioritize joy, happiness and growth. But even when we try to make time for these happier parts of life, it can be challenging to know how to get started. Where can you find friends and a sense of community? What new hobby is right for you? What about that passion you let go of years ago—how can you pick it back up?

In Boston, providing the solution to these questions has been top-of-mind for Alyssa O’Toole, the founder of Musicians Playground: a first-of-its-kind “gym” for musicians, offering music lessons, classes and practice space for musicians of all levels. In O’Toole’s mind, music is a vehicle for wellness—and since 2013, she’s worked tirelessly to expand her private piano studio into Musicians Playground, a community with over 200 members and 20 employees.  

Located in Downtown Crossing, Musicians Playground celebrates music for more than its artistic beauty: Music can be life-changing for the joy, community and personal growth it brings. Through enabling self-expression, creativity, growth and connection, Musicians Playground is dedicated to changing the lives of its members for the better—and that dedication is what kept O’Toole going when she was sleeping in the small walk-in closet of her piano studio and aiming to build a successful business against the tumultuous economic currents of the pandemic. 

Today, O’Toole’s motivation has not only paid off in her own life, but it’s had an incredible impact on the Boston community and the members who have joined Musicians Playground—regardless of whether or not those members had any previous musical experience. 

“We have offerings for people with music lessons, but we also specialize in working with beginners,” says O’Toole. “Getting started is as easy as setting up an introductory call, where our membership advisors get to know that person and their needs on a holistic level.” 

What’s In A Musicians Playground Music Learner Membership? 

When someone becomes a member of Musicians Playground in Boston, they enjoy a safe, supportive and fun environment for music lessons. Even the most basic membership at Musicians Playground comes with over 40 group music classes in piano, voice and guitar that members can drop into anytime at no additional cost. This creates the flexibility necessary for busy working professionals to maintain their passion for music in the midst of their busy lives.  

That philosophy is part of what sets Musicians Playground apart from a traditional studio environment. In creating something that mimics the structure of an exercise gym, O’Toole curated a fun and flexible atmosphere with expansive programming options, supported by instructors whose teaching styles are holistic and enthusiastic. 

The instructors at Musicians Playground are graduates of the top 1% of music institutions in the world but Musicians Playground takes it one step further and actively screens, trains and develops teachers best suited to work with hobbyists.  

“This makes for a much more enjoyable experience in the musical journey of our members,” O’Toole explains. 

How Musicians Playground and Music Lessons Changes Lives 

Where a stiff, isolating environment might take the joy out of practicing music, Musicians Playground does the opposite. Its joyful and collaborative atmosphere actually elevates the learning experience—and the connections that members form during their sessions can be just as instrumental (pun intended) to personal growth as the music itself.  

“Seeing the impact we create for members has been amazing and rewarding,” says O’Toole. “I’ve seen people meet their best friends and spouses, I’ve seen people in the community meet each other and become business partners, and I’ve seen people develop the courage to make career changes and improve their lives in significant ways.”

Ultimately, that focus on connection and authenticity is the way Musician’s Playground transforms lives for members—not just through the skill-building musical education, but also the ability to expand their creative sides. And there are a bounty of first-hand experiences of that holistic growth. Take it from David Dallen, the Growth and Business Operator for Musicians Playground, who originally signed on as a member at Musicians Playground and became so impassioned that he joined the team as a career. The process of attending classes, expanding his passion for piano and meeting others helped Dallen nurture his creative side and become a more authentic, realized version of himself. And in joining the team, Dallen aimed to give back to the community that had made such a positive impact on his life.  

“I have really enjoyed helping grow Musicians Playground’s community and connecting with so many people all interested in making learning music an integral part of their lives. Working here has enabled me to exercise my analytical side while growing my creative interests and passions,” Dallen says.  

Dallen’s is just one of what he and O’Toole say is a bounty of stories of transformation spurred by Musicians Playground. And, as they look towards the future of the business, life improvement and wellness remain Musicians Playground’s guiding principles—even as O’Toole hopes to expand to new locations in the greater Boston area and throughout the country. Wherever the business spreads to next, O’Toole’s commitment to enriching lives through the power of music lessons remains personal, and for adults in the Boston area, a membership with Musicians Playground is step one into a fuller, more enjoyable life. 

Keep up with Musicians Playground on Instagram at @musiciansplay, and click here to learn more our music lessons or become a member. 

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