At Wayne's Keyboard Studio, the emphasis is on recreational music making as opposed to classical training. During social group classes, new musicians, including kids and adults, learn the songs that they actually want to play by picking up skills such as reading music. Students don't have to worry about bringing their own instruments, as the studio provides keyboards, pianos, and organs to tickle.
With 30 years of playing experience, guitar sensei Mark Schimmoller has perfected a multitude of styles from rockabilly to indie to Crane Style. After years spent performing around Chicago and touring with the band The Hush, Mark settled down in Fort Wayne—where he now shares his expertise with students of all skill levels during private lessons and maintains his chops with his ’80s alternative band Weird Science. Lessons incorporate various forms of media to help students absorb knowledge more easily than a sentient ShamWow. Mark also keeps precious instruments in top condition by offering guitar setup services and minor repairs.
The Guitar Lab's experienced instructors reveal the mysteries of stringed instruments to the ears of eager fledglings, with personalized, hands-on guidance. Four lessons help develop a base for well-rounded musicians, with five critical areas of focus: melody, harmony, rhythm, theory, and listening skills. Students can choose their own songs to learn, whether rock, folk, or country, eliminating the monotony of practicing Yankee Doodle. The Guitar Lab trains all its instructors in a supportive teaching approach, and supplies parents or overanxious house pets with quarterly progress reports. After achieving mastery of a targeted skill, students receive badges, and when they eventually excel in all six critical areas, they earn a colored guitar strap and really jazzy stage name. The Guitar Lab offers instruments for rent.
The encouraging, informative team at Meridian Music, an instrument retailer and music-education center, beckons visitors to tickle ivory keys with a stock of tuneful pianos and organs, as well as private and group lessons. In addition to piano and organ instruction, the skilled maestros teach students how to wring applause out of audiences using their voices or stringed, brass, and woodwind instruments. Meridian Music's private performance hall, Munger Hall, seats up to 120 people, or one lengthy conga line, during solo and group student recitals.
Jon E. Gee knows a lot of famous musicians. In fact, he's one of them. The accomplished bass player, dubbed a "consummate professional" by his John Mellencamp Band colleague Mike Wanchic and praised for being "always positive" by lead guitarist Andy York, has toured the world, laying down reverberating bass lines for artists such as Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, and Melissa Etheridge.
Back home in Indiana, Gee leads students toward their personal and professional musical goals at his unassuming studio. Sharing his hard-earned performance techniques, such as how to use small magnets to connect with an audience, Gee instills charisma and confidence in his students, prompting Wanchic to proclaim, "I don't think you could find a better person to be mentored through than Jon."