The Academy of Classical Music & Fine Arts takes a holistic approach to its music instruction, giving musically inclined citizens the harmonious keys to a musical mind and body. Founded by gifted siblings Gianeh and Ovanes Arakelyan, both USC graduates and former pupils of world-renowned pianist Daniel Pollack, the academy offers students precise instructions on specific necessities including posture, listening techniques, and the finger dexterity utilized by “Stairway to Heaven”–playing guitar-shop customers the world over.
Taking an all-inclusive approach to music instruction, American Music Institute offers group and private lessons for all ages, experience levels, and styles of music. College-educated teachers lead lessons for voice as well as instruments ranging from guitar and percussion to violin, oboe, and flute. Group classes are available for popular instruments—such as beginning violin and guitar—as well as music theory. Private lessons, meanwhile, provide weekly one-on-one instruction at the institute or in students' homes.
Despite an ever-growing base of more than 1,000 clients, Amy Tripple prefers to say she's honed her skills through her main source of inspiration: her own three children. The former elementary teacher employs her advanced child-handling skills as she captures candid images of young ones, preserving childhood memories more easily than laminating a beloved stuffed animal. The National Association of Child Photographers member also shares her know-how through regular classes that cover the basic elements of DSLR photography and how to manipulate the resulting images in digital scrapbooks and Adobe Photoshop.
Kids and adults sound out their musical and rhythmic prowess with individual and group lessons at Allegro Music and Dance Academy. Led by experienced teachers and supplemented with at-home video instruction, music classes encompass an array of styles and techniques to establish a foundation for jazz combos and kitchen utensil bands alike. Group guitar classes teach picking, strumming, and shredding methods to 6–13-year-olds with weekly classes of up to eight students ($240–$299 per 16-week session). Groups form according to age, with older crowds also delving into songwriting and basic rock star moves such as windmilling, power sliding, and trashing an expensive hotel room. Group piano lessons also convene weekly, with up to 10 novices imbuing fingers with basic tickling techniques, as well as theory and repertoire ($240 per 16-week session). Songbirds aged 9 and older stretch their vocal chords with one-on-one voice instruction, while younger warblers learn in the company of a piano’s finely tuned tones. The music class schedule showcases all group meeting times, but private instruction in keys, strings, or vocal chords can also be scheduled Monday–Thursday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A student of Native American, Peruvian, and Siberian shaman traditions, Rhonda Day-Kooy spreads her passion for medicinal plants through the green products, classes, and events offered at Blue Feather. Some of Day-Kooy's customers come to the botanical boutique for aromatherapy certification, and others stop in to purchase eco-friendly skincare products by Babo Botanicals and whimsically flammable wares from Flying Wish Paper. In the Healing Hut, Rhonda and her therapists lead spiritual therapies, including guided meditation, chakra balancing, and foot-based reflexology treatments.
If you've ever marveled at a photo of a NASA space shuttle as it rockets into the stratosphere, chances are you're looking at the work of Frank Jackowiak. The expert photographer counts NASA among the many clients for whom he captures inimitable images. Others—including Canon, Chrysler, Nikon, Sears, EAA- Experimental Aircraft Association, and Air & Space— have led him to hone the expert skills he now uses to guide fledgling shutterbugs at his Naperville studio. Here, Jackowiak taps into his experiences teaching college courses to teach students how to work their digital or manual cameras, starting with basic camera operation, and progressing to topics such as composition, lighting, and squeezing one eye shut. In doing so, he also helps unearth each student's inner artist, encouraging them to pursue whichever type of photography inspires them most.