As a consummate multi-instrumentalist and teacher, Alek Kotero traverses the many dichotomies of the music industry. Acoustic versus electric. Soft rock versus death metal. Simon versus Garfunkel. His breadth of experience and comprehensive training make him an ideal mentor for guitarists of all stripes. During his private sessions held on-location or over Skype, beginner and intermediate students as young as 6 hone old skills and learn new ones. Alek's teachings can range from reading guitar tablature to complex musical theory, enabling students to write their own licks, solos, and radio jingles.
Twins John and James Tanner grew up sharing not only the same genes, but also the same love: skateboarding. Through TNT Skateboard Lessons, the brothers draw on their 13-plus years of skating experience to instruct students of all ability levels. During private and group lessons at Canada Vista Park's skate park, John helps his pupils with the fundamentals of street-style skating, such as grinding rails and ledges, while James, who's more partial to vert skating, focuses on the skills necessary for half-pipes and bowls, such as dropping in and performing grab tricks.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
George and Eileen, the husband-and-wife team behind Uncorked Wine Bar and Boutique, personally visit many of the wineries from which they procure crisp sauvignon blancs, bold cabernets, vintage ports, and other varietals. Located within the El Paseo Town Center, their cozy shop is decorated with metallic designs illuminated by candlelight, which casts a warm glow across mustard-yellow walls. Patrons can sip wines by the glass or opt for flight trees that hold three pours, leaving hands free to untie other people’s shoelaces. Visitors can nibble artisanal cheeses, crab cakes, and other pairings or shop the boutique for wine-themed gifts such as bottle openers and decorative glasses.
Chris Brennan competed on mixed martial arts' highest stage in 1998, taking part in two bouts in the same evening at a UFC event. Not long after that, he founded Next Generation MMA, which has grown from a gym in Orange County, California, to six locations worldwide. At the Frisco location, Brennan and other experienced instructors such as Olympic gold-medalist wrestler Kendall Cross instill discipline, respect, and self-defense moves to children and adults at their 24-hour-access fitness center—one of the few 24-hour martial-arts centers around. Each of their martial-arts or martial-arts-inspired fitness classes offers an excellent workout, where members kick, jab, and punch bags and the air and learn to block attacks while building muscle and burning fat on Next Generation’s padded floor.
“We believe that every child is a champion.” This mission statement informs the approach that Cal Elite Kids takes with the participants of its programs. Youngsters may learn self-reliance in gymnastics lessons, which take place on an in-ground tumble-track trampoline, on an array of beams and bars, or in the air above an in-ground foam pit. They also develop discipline in dance class; at the Rancho Santa Margarita facility, the five dance studios inspire with views of the surrounding mountains.
Cal Elite Kids’ charges can even learn how to express themselves through athletic theatrical performances or simply improve their 2 a.m. Friday-night karaoke warblings during Glee Elite sessions.