Arizona Music Academy is staffed with a conga line of talented virtuosos ready and waiting to implant heads with nuggets of musical knowledge. A four-day musical summer camp is a chance to escape the blistering heat of the day and spend hours learning or honing a skill instead of bursting into flames from the sun. Choose to percuss it up with drum instruction, pluck the strings of a guitar with increasing accuracy, or make liberal use of the instrument inside your throat box. Options include rock-guitar and drum camp, with sections for beginners (June 14–17, June 21–24, and July 19–22) and intermediate/advanced students (July 12–15); classical-guitar and hand-drum camp (June 28–July 1); and voice camp, which includes a Taylor Swift week for actual youth or the young at ear (June 14–17) and musical-theater week (July 12–15), featuring music from Glee, Hairspray, and more. Classes run from 10 a.m. to 12 or 12:30 p.m., depending on the type of class.
Musicology’s cheerful blue space echoes with the energetic knocking-together of musical instruments as diminutive composers enhance their neural functions through the exploration of music. Working with New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development, Musicology aims to help children from newborns to 3-year-olds develop their brains in age-specific classes. By introducing them to complex rhythms, harmonies, and the ability of song to get woodland creatures to clean things, the instructors work to activate connections in the brain that can improve learning abilities. Parents remain alongside children throughout the sessions, potentially picking up some music theory of their own.
Conductor Clyde Baker has spent a career taking high-school and college ensembles all the way to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Along with a team of seasoned dancers, actors, and musicians, he prepares students for success on stage and in the orchestra pit.
The school inhabits a handsome flagstone-and-stucco home base designed to produce a single harmonious chord in the event of windstorms. Within its specialized spaces, students stretch on the hardwood floors of giant dance studios and casts of triple-threats put on shows for their ardent fans on colorful sets.
Blackbird's owners, Robb and Melody Smith, provide a creative haven for artists and musicians of all ages and abilities in the 4,000-square-foot Blackbird Music & Art Center, which boasts seven music studios, two classrooms, and an art gallery showcasing the work of their students. In groups of 5–24, students can learn to accurately portray the essence of a loved one's alter ego in the cartooning course, where an instructor teaches students the basics of characters, cartoons, and comic strips. After School Art Club, appropriate for ages 12 and up, challenges brush wielders to learn drawing skills and various art techniques, and The Art of Sketching class demonstrates the different drawing and shading techniques needed to decorate paper and metallic public-bathroom stalls. Though some supplies are provided, students should check with their instructor about the necessary equipment to bring.
With more than 20 years in the business, Wagner Dance & Music is a mecca for dance instruction. Classes are held in 3,600 square feet of space and studios outfitted with high-tech sound systems, expansive mirrors, and “floating” maple-wood floors. Students ranging from 2 years of age to seniors can learn moves from genres such as tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz. Additionally, university-trained instructors offer private lessons for individuals interested in learning to play the piano and guitar—the standard acoustic or kleenex-box variety.
With more than 30 years of teaching experience, 25 of which were spent in the Phoenix area, Bob Hermes shares his musical expertise with students of all ages and skill levels. The virtuoso bolsters the abilities of guitarists and bassists with his instructional skills, and also teaches beginners’ workshops in piano, banjo, and mandolin. Other lesson topics include songwriting, home recording, and fretboard theory. Some of Bob’s students have gone on to enjoy full-time careers in music, most notably hit pop star Avery, who filmed some of her multimillion-hit YouTube videos right in Bob’s own studio.
Each of the guitar coaches at American Guitar Academy are certified in the school’s signature teaching method. Developed over 25 years, this house-honed instruction technique incorporates scientific research to help fingers learn to shred frets up to eight times faster than alternative methods. During private half-hour lessons, instructors guide budding rock stars aged 4 years and up through the basics of strumming chords and seamlessly stitching together riffs. These comprehensive lessons on classical, electric, or acoustic guitars are offered once a week with a live instructor or online and guarantee that students will be playing their favorite music within six months of training. Students may begin lessons without owning a guitar, but are encouraged to gain access to one quickly for mastering scales and the ability to solo with their teeth.