Blackbird's owners, Robb and Melody Smith, provide a creative haven for artists and musicians of all ages and abilities in the 4,000-square-foot Blackbird Music & Art Center, which boasts seven music studios, two classrooms, and an art gallery showcasing the work of their students. In groups of 5–24, students can learn to accurately portray the essence of a loved one's alter ego in the cartooning course, where an instructor teaches students the basics of characters, cartoons, and comic strips. After School Art Club, appropriate for ages 12 and up, challenges brush wielders to learn drawing skills and various art techniques, and The Art of Sketching class demonstrates the different drawing and shading techniques needed to decorate paper and metallic public-bathroom stalls. Though some supplies are provided, students should check with their instructor about the necessary equipment to bring.
Musicology’s cheerful blue space echoes with the energetic knocking-together of musical instruments as diminutive composers enhance their neural functions through the exploration of music. Working with New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development, Musicology aims to help children from newborns to 3-year-olds develop their brains in age-specific classes. By introducing them to complex rhythms, harmonies, and the ability of song to get woodland creatures to clean things, the instructors work to activate connections in the brain that can improve learning abilities. Parents remain alongside children throughout the sessions, potentially picking up some music theory of their own.
Conductor Clyde Baker has spent a career taking high-school and college ensembles all the way to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Along with a team of seasoned dancers, actors, and musicians, he prepares students for success on stage and in the orchestra pit.
The school inhabits a handsome flagstone-and-stucco home base designed to produce a single harmonious chord in the event of windstorms. Within its specialized spaces, students stretch on the hardwood floors of giant dance studios and casts of triple-threats put on shows for their ardent fans on colorful sets.
With more than 20 years in the business, Wagner Dance & Music is a mecca for dance instruction. Classes are held in 3,600 square feet of space and studios outfitted with high-tech sound systems, expansive mirrors, and “floating” maple-wood floors. Students ranging from 2 years of age to seniors can learn moves from genres such as tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. Additionally, university-trained instructors offer private lessons for individuals interested in learning to play the piano and guitar—the standard acoustic or kleenex-box variety.
When Harrison Crum isn’t rocking out on stage with his band, he’s sharing his joy of music with students at Drum Lessons by Harrison. A professional drummer with more than 15 years of experience, Harrison is well versed in all styles, including rock, jazz, and classical percussion. Harrison knows that for many people, music lessons are too expensive, which is why he strives to provide affordable lessons for enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels.
Arizona Music Academy is staffed with a conga line of talented virtuosos ready and waiting to implant heads with nuggets of musical knowledge. A four-day musical summer camp is a chance to escape the blistering heat of the day and spend hours learning or honing a skill instead of bursting into flames from the sun. Choose to percuss it up with drum instruction, pluck the strings of a guitar with increasing accuracy, or make liberal use of the instrument inside your throat box. Options include rock-guitar and drum camp, with sections for beginners (June 14–17, June 21–24, and July 19–22) and intermediate/advanced students (July 12–15); classical-guitar and hand-drum camp (June 28–July 1); and voice camp, which includes a Taylor Swift week for actual youth or the young at ear (June 14–17) and musical-theater week (July 12–15), featuring music from Glee, Hairspray, and more. Classes run from 10 a.m. to 12 or 12:30 p.m., depending on the type of class.