Classes in Decatur

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Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.

"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.

Looney Rd
Athens,
AL
US

Under the tutelage of certified instructors, Paul Mitchell The School's scissor-wielding students cut, color, and primp keratin capes to professional-level heights. Although tender-footed trimmers don't carry their licenses quite yet, they skillfully trim and sculpt tresses into stylish creations worthy of their mother's mantel or specimen cooler (an $8 value). Newly sheared strands also receive a basic color treatment for a prismatic spectrum shift (a $25 value). Those who wish to focus on more phalangeal regions can opt for a soothing mani-pedi, a revitalizing spa treatment that pampers paws sullied from hours spent in the office, kitchen, or local tar pit (a $34 value).

3810 Sullivan St
Madison,
AL
US

Musicology School of Music offers lessons in dozens of instruments, from guitar to mandolin and singing to trombone. Instructors hold classes in 12 private teaching studios, each built with sound-proofing materials to enhance privacy and concentration. Of course, part of a full musical education is learning to play with others, so the music experts also hold larger gatherings in their group classroom and recital hall.

They focus on multiple aspects of the musical process, providing amps, full drum kits with pads, and other accompaniment instruments. They also teach students the art of recording music, incorporating various types of music-mixing and playing software throughout their program.

160 Castle Drive
Madison,
AL
US

Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.

301 Boulevard South SW
Huntsville,
AL
US

Inspired by the artistic prowess of her mother, Debbie Russler made her first brushstroke two decades ago and has gone on to create vivid pieces of art in a variety of mediums. Intent on unlocking the same joy in others, Debbie now guides students through the finer points of paintsmanship in three-hour classes. Armed with a canvas and all required supplies, students follow her expert instruction to capture landscapes, still-lifes, or portraits of portraits of Abraham Lincoln.

1030 Old Monrovia Road Northwest
Huntsville,
AL
US

The professional instructors at Cadence School of Music spread the joys of playing music to students of all ages with one-on-one private lessons. Students can focus on an instrument—including guitar, drums, and various woodwinds and brass—or concepts such as music theory and composition.

146 Vancouver Road
Meridianville,
AL
US