The culture connoisseurs at Wheaton College coordinate public exhibitions every month to explore the human experience through the lens of music, visual art, and dance. Meander through the majestic soundscapes of Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven performed by the Opole Philharmonic of Poland, Poland's leading orchestra and sausage juggling consortium. These masters of regal reverberation have performed with notable virtuosic soloists throughout the world and tour extensively abroad to critical and audience acclaim. Horn hounds can choose to lubricate auditory valves with the glossy harmonies of Empire Brass, boasting an international reputation as North America's finest brass quintet. These five superstar scale climbers hail from major orchestras across the United States, perform more than 100 concerts a year in metropolitan areas all over the world, and are known for a vast repertoire of material, ranging from Gabrieli's composition for St. Mark's Cathedral to Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes about Gabrieli haunting an opera house in a Technicolor cat suit.
When children go to piano lessons, they raise their guard and treat the gift of learning music like a trip to the dentist. The instructors at New Song Music are well aware of the old-fashioned traditional piano-teacher stigma, which is why they keep their pupils in their comfort zones by bringing their lessons to the student's homes. With years of experience, a surplus of patience, and computer software that tracks students' progress, New Song Music helps transform tots into Rachmaninoffs in fun lessons that sharpen skills and stir creative juices.
“Routine is the enemy,” say the trainers at CrossFit Alpha Dog, whose students never see the same workout twice. Since the body adjusts to repetitive workouts, the team keeps it guessing by mixing up exercises with unpredictable combinations of organic movements, sprinting, plyometrics, and gymnastics. These workouts are designed to improve functional strength—practical musclepower that head trainer Tommy Moon calls upon during his firefighting career and that students may need when carrying an injured person to safety or a healthy person to a salad bar.
The gym itself reflects this functional approach. Gymnastic rings dangle from webbings of monkey bars, and a wide-open space offers ample room for lunges, sprints, and push-ups.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student’s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.
The only thing more fun than watching babies and toddlers make music is being the baby or toddler making music (unless you're riding a roller coaster). Plunge head-first into melodies with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a two-week sing-along session for a child and parent at Music Together of Naperville ($30 Value). There are locations in Aurora, Naperville, and Plainfield. Children between the ages of birth and 6 can participate in these classes.
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.