Schuylerville Music closes doors

Owner Joe Cuscianna operated Schuylerville Music Center for nearly 40 years. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

A neighborhood Mecca where thousands of young people developed an appreciation for music, thanks to lessons on the piano, drums and guitar, closed before the start of the New Year.

Schuylerville Music Center offered music lessons to children and adults alike. It also sold instruments and sheet music.

Owner Joe Cuscianna was at 3637 E. Tremont Avenue, across from the Throggs Neck Post Office for 39 years. But increased demand for recorded music on MP3 players and reduced interest in music lessons forced Cuscianna to close up shop.

“At one time we had six teachers giving music lessons at once. We taught guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, bass guitar, accordion, flute, clarinet and saxophone.”

Cuscianna, an accordion and electric keyboard player, plans to keep his steady gig at a restaurant in Larchmont. He’ll also play at private parties.

Schuylerville Music Center benefited from Beatlemania. The shop opened in 1970.

“The Beatles were very popular when we first opened,” Cuscianna said. “We offered private music lessons right from the beginning. We also sold recorded music in the early 1980s: 45’s, LP’s and tapes.”

The shop shifted focus to instruments and music lessons in the mid-1980s, when several music distributors went out of business. Schuylerville Music Center developed a loyal customer base and became a spot for musicians to discuss gigs and talk shop.

“What was great about it was that it was sort of a meeting place for anyone who was a musician in the neighborhood,” Schuylerville Music Center guitar teacher Victor Sabitini said. “It was fun to hang out there on a Saturday. [The shop] will be missed.”

Cuscianna stressed that while the ongoing economic recession hurt sales, if it weren’t for reduced interest, Schuylerville Music Center might have survived.

Even though Schuylerville Music has closed, the music teachers formerly associated with the store have re-assembled across the street at 3602 E. Tremont Avenue, on the second floor. Lessons are still available six days a week from 3 to 9 p.m. Call (917) 833-3374 for an appointment.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or

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