Instructors teach children and adults how to strum, pluck, and tap music out of their instruments during private and group lessons. In students' homes or at the school, they learn to juice notes from guitars, pianos, violins, banjos, mandolins, or their own vocal chords. Students needn't own their own instruments—they can rent one from the school if they promise to feed it regularly and prune the sheet music it sprouts. All skill levels are welcome, and the school also has a program for students with special needs. To ensure teachers are ready to start lessons, the school conducts thorough background checks and gives out references upon request.
Bob Meyer, who has spent many a tour alongside bands such as Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Phish, and The Allman Brothers, helms Give To Live Guitar Studios, which provides music lessons with a focus on community outreach. He and his staff of experienced, enthusiastic instructors welcome students for lessons in stringed instruments such as guitar, violin, banjo, mandolin, or bass as well as drums, vocals, and keyboards. They teach in all styles, from Bach to rock and roll, and help their students move from basics to live performance, hosting benefit concerts for local charities.
Director Mary-Taylor Land has walked the stage in several shoes. From learning as a student and pirouetting as a performer, she went on to judge and teach routines. Away from the theater, she researched dance through different technical lenses, bringing her expertise to seminars for both the artistic and medical communities. The breadth of her knowledge enabled her to find seasoned instructors for her studio, all of whom have received college and professional training.
Today, she and her team strive to instill passion and discipline for the practice of dance in children of all ages. Beginning with preschool classes such as Mommy and Me, they hone a basic understanding of rhythm so that parents don't have to recite a four-count as they rock their cribs. Their older students can choose styles from a wide curriculum, which covers ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and acro as well as combination lessons. Throughout each class, the teachers devote personal attention to their protégés. They can help to prep youngsters before academy recitals and competitive ensemble auditions, or simply foster a deeper appreciation for grace and art.
The dedicated musicians at Falls River Music help students create beautiful notes during private weekly music instruction with a brigade of professional instruments. During 30-minute drum, guitar, violin, bass, or trumpet lessons, children or adults work toward personal goals, such as learning how to read music or mastering solos that erase “Freebird” from minds. Falls River Music provides instruments for use during classes, which, though not required, students may rent for home practice at an additional cost.
When not practicing their tuneful arts, musicians can send in their stringed instruments for expert repairs or test out new sounds plucked from the shop's large selection of acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals. Falls River Music offers a 14-day trial period after purchase of new equipment, encouraging musicians to fully explore their new sonic possibilities before declaring themselves satisfied.
The musical menagerie also hosts a full coffee bar and lounge area, where parents may relax during children's lessons. Falls River Music also allows intermediate-level students to put their skills to use each Saturday at 1:30 pm at a two-hour jam session ($10/hour), which may include performances or recording with other musicians and note aficionados.
At Music Matters, each instructor is a highly qualified, professional musician. In fully equipped studios and practice rooms, they lead private lessons with custom instruction for more than 15 instruments, including the piano, guitar, drums, voice, violin, and most orchestral instruments. They also inspire the next generation of modern Mozarts with special programs such as the Rock Band 101 class, which teaches students how to rehearse with a band and play with other students. Rock Band 101 includes hands-on experience playing songs from each decade beginning with the 1960s, and teachers also encourage students to write and develop their own songs.
At Howren Piano Studio, Miss Howren teaches piano in a supportive environment that favors group lessons and one-on-one instruction alike. Group lessons let pupils learn together by taking turns playing songs. This allows for more camaraderie and multiple perspectives on piano techniques. Private lessons are also very effective and available, and Miss Howren encourages parents to be present for kids’ lessons so that they can assist during practice at home. Both private and group lessons are available for all ages.
Mother and daughter team Barbara and Sheri opened shop on July 4, 2006 after an introductory knitting class inspired entrepreneurial plans instead of retiring to the center of the earth. During their one- to one-and-a-half hour basics class, curious knitters will be introduced to the basic ins and outs of needles and yarn. Students will then wield their newfound skills to knit stitches and begin a scarf, while more advanced yarn-smiths can construct octo-armed tarantula sweaters or woolly models of hydrogen atoms. Classes are offered on Wednesdays at the Fayetteville location and Tuesday–Friday at the Whiteville location. Before or after class, peruse the store's extensive inventory, which includes traditional wool and organic cotton yarns, as well as the more exotic spinnings made from bamboo, soybean, and milk.