From introductions to camera basics to nuanced lessons on outdoor light, courses at Learn Your DSLR teach photographers of all experience levels how to get the most out of their tools. Some classes focus cover compositional tactics, introducing students to the intricacies of portrait, landscape, or sports photography. Others tackle specific camera components, sharing usable facts about flashes, shutter speed, and the little man that engraves each image on the memory card. No matter the subject, a seasoned photographer leads each session, bringing years of picture-taking and teaching experience to the classroom.
Mintons Academy of Music immerses budding virtuosos in fun, intensive lessons taught by university-trained teachers. Private lessons explore all the main instrumental families, including strings, percussion, piano, woodwinds, and brass. Guitar lessons prep prospective pop stars to churn out blistering licks, and vocal coaching strengthens pipes for lucrative futures crooning or quickly subduing mobs of glassware. Group lessons surround kids with melodious coconspirators, making the learning process more enjoyable. Art classes unlock the wonders of painting, with students learning from the masters by imitating famous works.
At some point you will be confronted by a shaggy, axe-wielding lunatic who shouts, "Are you ready to ROOOOCK? Please answer me. I'm so sad." Today's Groupon will make sure you're not just ready, but willing. For $49, new students will get six group singing or instrument lessons at the Tysons Corner music-instruction school All Things Rock (a $180 value). Kids can get the musical education that will make them less likely to stick up a convenience store with a bassoon later in life, while adults can fulfill a long-deferred dream to finally impress Amanda Bilecki with their shredding skills.
Families can choose to paint ceramics ($15 and up), such as a piggy bank that will one day be priceless, or at the very least exceed the value of its contents. Mosaic projects ($18 and up) are a disciplined way to practice for future bathroom-tile touch-ups, while glitter-awaiting painting projects ($17 and up) use colorful acrylics to introduce children to the rainbow without the false hope of pots of gold. Parents who don't really understand how glass is made can bypass the awkward silence by introducing themselves to a glass-fusing project that utilizes pre-made materials ($19 and up).
Diana Lewkowicz doesn't view photography as a career as much a vocation. Diana's uninhibited passion for photography has led her on trips around the globe, where she’s captured her clients’ happy moments in all their unpredictable glory. Diana now brings that passion to her Natural Light Studio in Falls Church, Virginia, where she snaps shots of families, newborns, and more. Inside the studio, Diana has a number of different tools at her disposal to make each shoot unique, including natural and editorial lighting as well as props that can help make shy babies smile and break dance for the camera.
Founder-director Isabel Benemelis grew up in Cuba, surrounded by the mambo tunes and Afro-Cuban rhythms that earned the country its reputation as a musical hot spot. At age 4 she took up the piano, and by 7 she found herself "mesmerized by the music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Bach" whenever it hit her ears. This immersion in multiple genres influenced Benemelis when she built her school from oboe reeds in 1995: faculty members specialize in classical music, but ably veer into jazz and Latin scores if students have an interest. During one-on-one, 30-minute lessons, they teach adults and children older than age 4 to play piano, guitar, saxophone, bongos, and a host of other instruments. In keeping with the school’s multidisciplinary roots, many instructors are also fluent in English and Spanish.
A team of professors, photojournalists, and professional photographers are the driving force of Ambiance Digital Photography School, teaching the fundamentals of DSLR photography via step-by-step instructional videos. Besides the online database of videos, the pros put together downloadable and printable tutorials to accompany photo examples. Any member of the school gets lifetime access to the school’s library, which includes an in-depth course on Photoshop. Some of the continually updated video classes focus on topics such as black-and-white photography, taking group or self portraits, and mastering different sources of light rather than always carrying around the same lava lamp.