After finishing her classical education in Moscow, piano player Elena Orduyan switched from student to teacher. For more than a decade, she’s taught the ivory-tickling arts to youths and adults alike, sending students off to institutions like Juilliard with skills she helped them hone. She tailors each lesson to her individual students, creating customized lesson books for every player and curating her own lesson materials by mixing and matching texts from a variety of publishers and schools of thought. Her curricula extend past key-tapping: beginners also pick up the basics of music theory, and intermediate-level musicians learn to use music software. Orduyan even helps young kids along with color-coded markers and stickers. Never content to rest on her musical laurels, she also furthers her own education by attending annual music-teaching conferences and events.
Designed and developed by vocal coach and singer/songwriter Ruth Gerson, the Singingbelt trains singers and public speakers to support their voices with their diaphragms. The belt provides feedback on the position of the diaphragm, which signals to the wearer any time they cease supporting their breath. The belt can help singers develop power, tone, pitch, and endurance.
Before each student starts siphoning out his or her inner sonatas, he or she will fill out an application and learn about the course curriculum and academy policies during a private orientation (a $25 value) with the student’s parents and Director Thomas Skousen. Each student is then integrated into the creative-instruction procedure, which weaves four students at a time through stations of one-on-one instruction and computer exercises, building technique training, sight reading, and music-theory knowledge in addition to mastering songs (a $130 per month value). The result is a rigorous yet fun and rewarding class that fosters community, which each budding contrapuntist celebrates at the month's end with in-class performances and ceremonial wig powderings.
With nine types of after-school classes designed for kids aged 5–18, the staff of Young Artists Club works to enrich local youth, whether helping out with homework or inspiring their inner Van Goghs. Organized by age group, classes cover subjects such as piano or guitar lessons, cartoon-drawing, and painting. The staff also specializes in teaching Chinese and English language courses that cover listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
For more than 50 years, Allegro Music has been fostering fellowship among area musicians of all ages. The shop, which is open seven days a week, has all the provisions for a successful musical journey. Lessons with experienced instructors help students sharpen their skills. There's classical and modern sheet music aplenty, and staff can track down a composer or piece you can't find in-house. The store’s collection of brand-name instruments includes guitars, keyboards, and band instruments, as well as nontraditional percussion instruments such as congas and djembes. And they can outfit drummers with customizable drums from Mapex that feature fearsome orange alligator skin or your favorite Cathy cartoon strip. When instruments start to squeak, repair-shop manager Gabe Eaton nurses them back to health along with fellow technicians Brian Hart and Joel Ryan.
Mexico City native Ricardo Téllez began dancing when he was 12, shimmying his way through styles such as cumbia and guaracha. In 1995, he packed up his dancing shoes and moved to the Bay area, accelerating his salsa study not only by studying under Gabriel Romero, but also by trying out his footwork in clubs. Armed with a passion for dance, Ricardo founded RicaSalsa Dance Company in 1999 to share his love of the art. Today, he and dance partner Tianne Frias—with whom he placed third in the World Latin Dance Cup—teach private lessons and group classes that impart new and advanced dancers with the steps, partnership skills, and medallions filled with glowworms needed to light up the floor. By focusing on social dance skills and the ability to follow the rhythm, they help their students adapt easily to different songs and settings.
The skilled instructors at Inspire Music Center encourage students to express themselves through song during beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons in a variety of instruments, including electric guitar, cello, French horn, and voice. Its ensemble of music graduates and seasoned performers uses its extensive musical knowledge and collection of 20 different instruments to teach aspiring musicians proper playing techniques, practice methods, theory, and how to topple glass houses with high notes. In addition to honing students' music-playing skills, instructors prep advanced pupils for professional auditions, instrumental competitions, and concerts.