For more than 35 years, the music gurus, instrument-repair specialists, and educators at Perry's Music have equipped aspiring musicians with acoustic and electric instruments of all kinds. Visitors pick out a shiny new or gently used guitar, mandolin, or ukulele from brands such as Seagull or Godin, studying how to create beautiful music with them during sessions with knowledgeable teachers. Parents looking for a rewarding afterschool activity enroll their teens in Rock 'N' Roll University, where students learn to practice and record with band mates, write their own songs, and tackle the difficult second-album slump.
The blond-wood walls of the Perry's emporium bristle with acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, and accessories, whereas the shelves show off row upon row of new and used amplification and PA equipment. Amateur and professional musicians bring in their instruments and electronics for repairs at the hands of an in-house amp and guitar technician, and monthly acoustic open-mic nights find crowds of music lovers singing, playing, jamming, and making new friends.
Musicians step into Music Box Records’ spacious studio to record, rehearse, and market their work. Part recording studio, part rehearsal space, and part indie label, the studio welcomes music-makers not only with professional recording tools and clean, airy facilities, but also with a team of experienced producers and promotional gurus. The crew cares deeply about music, and even runs an outreach program called Music Lab that invites high school students into the studio to learn industry secrets, such as how to build a following and how to smash an air guitar without ruining it completely.
“Routine is the enemy,” say the trainers at CrossFit Alpha Dog, whose students never see the same workout twice. Since the body adjusts to repetitive workouts, the team keeps it guessing by mixing up exercises with unpredictable combinations of organic movements, sprinting, plyometrics, and gymnastics. These workouts are designed to improve functional strength—practical musclepower that head trainer Tommy Moon calls upon during his firefighting career and that students may need when carrying an injured person to safety or a healthy person to a salad bar.
The gym itself reflects this functional approach. Gymnastic rings dangle from webbings of monkey bars, and a wide-open space offers ample room for lunges, sprints, and push-ups.
Taking an all-inclusive approach to music instruction, American Music Institute offers group and private lessons for all ages, experience levels, and styles of music. College-educated teachers lead lessons for voice as well as instruments ranging from guitar and percussion to violin, oboe, and flute. Group classes are available for popular instruments—such as beginning violin and guitar—as well as music theory. Private lessons, meanwhile, provide weekly one-on-one instruction at the institute or in students' homes.
Dr. Fretgood's musicologists breathe new life into weary instruments and other music-producing gear, readying pieces for anything from hitting the road to banging basement rehearsals to streetside serenades. Amps that buzz, cut out, or distort sound worse than vacuuming through a kazoo can get straightened out in an amplifier tune-up. During the tune-up, Dr. Fretgood's sound-wave-soothing staff cleans jacks, scrubs and lubricates pots, tightens hardware and loose connections, and checks and adjusts bias.