There isn't an age requirement when it comes to being a rock star. At Studio Arts Academy & Rock School, students as young as 6 weeks old can learn music basics in the Music Together class, an early childhood program that taps into children's innate musical abilities, such as twins crying in two-part harmony. Older youngsters can head to band programs such as Little Rockers—a fun-filled class that explores percussion, keyboards, and singing—and Rock School, which helps participants hone in on which instrument they want to master should they join a band or score all of their conversations.
With an enormous inventory of instruments, a dependable technician, and friendly instructors, The Guitar Factory is the kind of store that performers come to count on over the course of their musical evolution. Here, musicians can browse from simple-starter electric guitars from Ibanez to high-end acoustics from Martin. Keyboards, percussion, amps, basses, and other gear are also available. When wear and tear strikes, the shop’s in-house repairman, Charles J. Quagliana, can nurse instruments back to functionality. Charles has honed his handiwork by working for superstars such as Mary J. Blige, Prince, The Beach Boys, and the Mos Eisley Cantina band.
In the studio’s 10 air-conditioned lesson rooms, a team of teachers with more than 30 years’ experience teach guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, and other instruments. Joe Shanahan, who teaches bass, guitar, vocal, keyboards, and drums, was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame with his band, Only Humen, and guitarist/singer/teacher Tommy Z has performed for the U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instructors tailor each lesson to student’s individual needs; with a current student pool ranging from ages 4 to 70, instructors are comfortable working with a wide range of skill sets.
Walters Music Centres impart fledgling ivory ticklers and string pluckers alike with musical knowhow, buttressed by an extensive array of instrument accessories and equipment. Experienced instructors oversee the classes, which tailor each learning session to the needs of the student and educate students in the basic tenets of jazz, rock, and nuclear harmonic theory. Choose between four 30-minute private lessons or four one-hour group classes, which meet once a week. Group classes usually contain five to six students, providing participants the intimate atmosphere to ask potentially embarrassing questions regarding inverted intervals or where baby cymbals come from. The parent and tot music classes bring together children ripened three to six years, and an accompanying caregiver, for hour long sessions exploring singing, movement, and rhythm.
A full-service piano store, D & S Pianos sows the seeds of music with lessons, repairs, and an elegant showroom populated by various piano models. Piano instruction acts as the foundation of the business's curriculum, upon which it has expanded into other instruments including classical guitar, accordion, and voice. With a professional rebuilding facility right on site, D & S can also mend broken units, and its moving department specializes in re-locating upright and grand pianos of various sizes.
A government-certified educational institute, Ontario Conservatory of Music has fostered the musicians of tomorrow since 1939, when tomorrow had just been invented. Its teachers believe that playing music acts as a gateway—to building character, boosting confidence, and improving self-discipline. The school helps students of all ages explore those benefits through lessons in instruments ranging from drums and guitar to piano, voice, and violin. Band programs get even beginning students working together and performing in front of live audiences, giving them a space to hone their chops outside their basement, where mole people might hear them through the walls and steal their songs.
Dustin Ballinger knows guitars. With a degree in applied music and jazz guitar, extensive experience recording music with local musicians, and 15 years of performing under his proverbial belt, Ballinger approaches the instrument with ease and familiarity. “I have always believed that music lessons of any kind should be fun and friendly as well as challenging,” he says. He backs up his belief by leading his roster of classes with an encouraging and dedicated approach. Lessons unfold in a cozy, homey studio space complete with couches, rustic wooden accents, and windows that look out onto sparrows trained to sing the guitar parts from “Free Bird."