Guitars, banjos, and mandolins hang like artwork from Penny Lane’s red walls, immediately capturing the eye with names like Santa Cruz, Eastman, and Gold Star, and indicating the shop’s specialty in repairing, selling, and teaching a range of stringed instruments. Within this musical gallery, a deft staff lends its melodic expertise to fixing broken instruments—from guitar strings to bass necks—and promises to tackle any repair no matter how big or small.
Budding musicians—equipped with their own instrument or one from the emporium’s vast stock—an sit down with a distinguished instructor, who teaches players of all ages and experience levels how to play classical instruments such as the piano and violin, or more obscure music machines, including the banjo and ukulele. The shop also hosts monthly jam sessions, allowing students to gather on the store’s plush red couch and learn first-hand the important factors of group play, from keeping on beat to smashing guitars an arm’s length away from others.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen students' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling?such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels?demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.
MUSE stands for "mastering unique self expression"—a common experience for students at the MUSE Center for the Arts, where they show off their creativity in dance, music, and theater classes. Its instructors, who come from a variety of arts backgrounds, have extensive résumés, including dancing with choreographer Twyla Tharp's company, performing at the Metropolitan Opera House, and specializing in stage combat.
Both children and adults learn styles such as jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary in dance classes, and skilled kids aged 6–18 can try out for MUSE's competitive dance team. Musicians can further their craft in private or group lessons available for a variety of instruments, including voice, guitar, and violin. And the theater season is divided into school-year and summer sessions, where young Broadway hopefuls learn how to sing, dance, and write a quippy Playbill bio.
The members of PAN Performing Arts Network bring a range of backgrounds to their international collective: some are experienced musical composers, guitarists, and singers, while others are established teaching artists and actors. Their expertise allows them to gather all the arts under one roof with an annual performance season and more than 40 regular classes each week. These classes span instruction in dance styles such as Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Afro-Haitian, and Irish Step, as well as training in Creative Movement, Acting, Instrumental Music, and Voice. Instructors tailor their classes to the needs of beginner through advanced-level adults, children, and children disguised as adults. They also provide classes suited to senior citizens and students with special needs.
Drummer Paradise's instructors would never reduce their art to mere banging. Far from it—the team champions drumming's benefits, from exercising cardio muscles to the mental demands of staying on beat. Of course, the main emphasis of lessons at Drummer Paradise is learning the instrument itself, a process that begins with honing skills such as reading music, as well as focusing on developing musical skills in child students. To enrich their rhythmic techniques, child and adult students alike can supplement their sessions with exercises from Drummer Paradise's library of 100-plus instructional books and DVDs. Once they've mastered the skins, pupils can even enter the Drummer Paradise studio to lay down a beat of their own.