When a school of music also contains a live-performance venue, it’s an indicator that the lessons stick. Such is the case with the Columbia Academy of Music, where private practice rooms sit just steps from The Bridge, a club accustomed to welcoming musical talent from down the street and around the country. A stage within range of instruction can inspire even the most stage-frightened students to step into the spotlight, where they’ll get the hands-on, feet-on stage experience that renders books worthless.
The academy’s tuneful staffers are no strangers to this kind of public performance—some instructors have shared the stage with the likes of Chuck Berry, Sting, and Hank Williams III—but many also are experts in what goes on behind the music. In lessons tailored for all ages, skill sets, and music-making manners, the school strengthens the confidence of budding musicians in once-a-week sessions. Instrument instruction infuses students with techniques across a range of musical genres; audio-production and engineering courses teach students how to make solid records and tolerate most singers’ misguided requests for more Steak-Umms in the monitor.
Since 1967, Palen Music Center has been fostering the musical arts throughout Missouri with six 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.