Since 1967, Palen Music Center has been fostering the musical arts throughout Missouri with five locations stocked with instruments and staffed by musicians who offer both shopping insight and musical instruction. The center’s instrument rentals and private lessons—which are available for a variety of different instruments—give aspiring musicians a chance to explore their options before purchasing an instrument of their own. And for those ready to invest, Fender guitars, Tama drums, Roland keyboards, and a wide array of other instruments are kept stocked at each of the shop’s locations.
The experienced staff at The Mud Room leads visitors through hands-on classes and parties at the interactive studio. Finished examples are also available to induce inspiration to those who wish to create their own. The accommodating staff also travels to various locations with their mobile studio. Ideal for schools and team-building activities, the staff imparts hands-on instruction and helping participants raise funds for their organization.
At The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar, there's two jukeboxes—human ones, seated at two baby grand pianos. Based on the crowd's request, the ivory-ticklers play from a mental catalog of thousands of hits, spanning more than five decades. The crowd sings along, fueled by pours from the full bar, which range from pitchers of beer to tart apple martinis.
With more than 50 years of combined experience in the industry, the owners of True Blue Fiber Friends keep patrons in the loop with education and equipment for knitting, crocheting, dyeing, and other fabric-based projects. In a two-hour class, knitting newbies learn the ropes of basic construction, snagging all the necessary instruction for crafting a scarf. Students will be equipped with all materials, and True Blue Fiber Friends forges its fuzzy pieces from locally produced fibers and yarns so that materials and their knitters can swap similar childhood stories. Students gather around the classroom's table to recreate scenes from favorite knitting-circle action movies, or take a seat in the space’s cushy armchairs to focus on extra-tricky needle movements.
Scales Music's legion of experienced instructors teaches aspiring strummers the fundaments of acoustic guitar in a cozy, encouraging environment during 45-minute group lessons. Open to the young, the young at heart, and the incredibly old, each lesson guides a troop of four–six string pluckers through the basic principles of music theory and a musical rendition of Einstein's theory of relativity. After the opening session, rock 'n' roll undergrads begin learning how to play songs together. Spacious lesson rooms provide players with space to groove and free high-speed Internet access allows parents to browse the web. Although not included with today's Groupon, students can choose from a selection of rental guitars to take home for further practice with family bands led by golden-retriever sopranos.