It's not often that a kindergartener chooses Beethoven's 6th Symphony as the object of his earliest obsession. But that was what the parents of Brian Beshore found while dealing with the youngster. He bombarded his parents with the symphony until they finally agreed to let him take music lessons. And students at Foothills Music Academy are lucky they did. Brian is one of the academy's music teachers. His early fascination with Beethoven spurred a lifetime of learning—today he plays and teaches the viola, violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, and cello (plus, he composes).
Each of the music teachers brings a unique background—and set of instruments—to private or group music lessons for kids. Kids can opt for the traditional grade-school instruments, such as violin or piano, or try something new such as the mandolin, bass guitar, or harmonica.
The lure of a serene, calming environment beckons city dwellers to make the 15-minute trek from Los Angeles to Cherokee Ranch, a horsemanship facility overseen by highly-trained instructors. In a beautiful setting, Cherokee ranch offers riding lessons for individuals and small groups of every level, illuminating the subtleties of the English and Western riding disciplines. Students enjoy decades of proven training experience with the well-mannered and well-trained horses creating the ultimate equine connection.
A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings—which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
Machines and hybrids line the room. Their creator, the mad scientist of fitness Amy (Sowers) Jordan, has transformed her passion for Pilates and a flair for engineering into the newest incarnation of the Pilates reformer, called the WundaFormer. The patented design combines a Pilates reformer, Wunda Chair, jump board, and ballet barre into a muscle-toning juggernaut that Amy uses in her intense, fast-paced workouts. Obsessed with efficiency, Amy designed the sessions to target as many muscles as possible in the shortest amount of time.
After creating the innovative machine, she took her show on the road, opening studios to showcase what the muscle-sculpting apparatus could do. She now helms a passionate group of certified instructors who lead small groups of 10 guests at a time through the routine.