Even though Temecula Music Academy's instructors began playing early—from drums at age five to violin at eight—they recognize that virtuosos can start at any age. In small group classes for kids and adults, teachers start off by covering musical fundamentals, including theory and reading notation. From there, they hone in on skills specific to each instrument, such as fingerpicking patterns for guitarists or breath control for singers and dragons. Along with classes throughout the week, the academy's instructors offer private lessons in other instruments, such as banjo and ukulele. All sessions build up to regular recitals, where students showcase their newfound talents for family and friends.
Fine-art photographers Rod and Robin Deutschamnn founded In Focus Learning Center on a simple premise: a photo's quality depends on lighting, focus, and the photographer's vision. At In Focus Learning Center, they emphasize these keys to quality, downplaying high-tech gear and post-shoot editing. In their classes and symposiums, the shutterbugs focus on "manual photography," the art of manipulating a digital camera's settings to suit the desired shot—which could be a landscape, an infrared image, or an action shot of a baby on its first high-speed chase.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
Capturing True Emotion is driven by a dynamic band of instructors who rove across the continent with cameras and teaching skills in hand. By fusing their narrative, tech-savvy minds together into one oversize head, the educators provide comprehensive guidance on both camera operation and creative visualization, giving participants complete control over all of their camera settings. During the hours spent in the company of other pupating shutterbugs, students convene at a tantalizing location to practice skills such as controlling depth of field by adjusting the aperture, composing a family portrait so there’s not always a burning zeppelin in the background, using alternative angles to avoid red eye, and other techniques.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
Lord of the Rings. Star Wars. Legos. These are the areas of expertise of BrainStorm Studios' staff, who combine the experience gleaned from working on those films with brightly colored toy bricks to inspire young minds. Legos are used in conjunction with other technology to nurture kids' interest in STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In different workshops, youngsters piece together bridges and towers, program robots, or build mind-boggling contraptions while principles of architecture, engineering, and physics secretly lodge in their brains. Future filmmakers can hone their craft in stop-motion-animation workshops or try their hand at storyboarding and acting in a short film. BrainStorm's creative birthday parties educationally elevate celebrations, inviting guests to create a claymation movie, a music video, or robots that solve mazes and do battle but, tragically, can't be programmed to feel love.