Dustin Oliver has served as the choir and drama director at Akron North High School and the fine-arts director at Celebration Church, so he knows a thing or two about putting on a performance. Add to that nearly 15 years practicing the guitar, nearly 20 years honing his piano and voice skills, and at least a few minutes humming the theme to M.A.S.H., and it becomes obvious that this artist is a multi-talented whiz. An accomplished musician and composer with a Bachelor’s degree in music from Southeastern University, Dustin is earning his Master’s in theatre from the University of Akron, making him a veritable double threat and a valuable resource for aspiring musicians and actors. When not adding to his own skill set, he leads private and group music lessons in guitar, piano, bass, and voice for students ages 5 and older—as well as private and group acting lessions—following well-established curricula.
In addition to selling, renting, and servicing an orchestral array of new and preplayed instruments at their showroom, Pellegrino Music Center’s tunesmiths tutor musical apprentices with instrumental instruction taught through the Pellegrino Fine Arts Academy. During 30-minute lessons at the center’s adjacent teaching facility, instructors skilled in instrumental varieties from voice to strings and horns to percussion walk students through one-on-one tutorials, preempting the risk of cluttered classrooms or dueling banjos. First-time students learn music-making basics like where to strum, when to change keys, and how to tell if a saxophone is about to molt, and strings relax and horns exhale under the deft control of experienced pupils in intermediate and advanced lessons tailored to their training level.
Gaetano Letizia, a professional guitarist for more than 40 years, has helped hundreds of students learn to strum with confidence. At Lifetime Guitar Lessons, he teaches them how to play rock, blues, jazz, and classical music, and he even helps them to compose their own songs. Available to students of all experience levels, Letizia tutors beginners in the basics of the instrument and helps more advanced players find their inner Django Reinhardts. He also records and produces CDs for solo artists and bands. As an added convenience, rental guitars are available at the studio for those without their own ax.
Songdog Music likens learning an instrument to baking—it requires following steps sequentially, honoring precision and timing, and mixing all the right ingredients together. It's a science; it's also a passion and an outlet for extraordinary self-expression. Songdog's instructors keep all those ingredients in focus when teaching personalized lessons in guitar, violin, and virtually all stringed instruments. They keep lessons low-key and focus on the kinds of music students want to play, be it rock, rhythm and blues, metal, or classical. By focusing on the music that students are interested in, instructors not only teach technique, but they give budding musicians the freedom to create their own original tunes. Songdog also offers classes in composition and theory, as well as group classes that give musicians the opportunity to mingle and meet others with similar ambitions.
• For $10, you get $20 toward instrument repairs. • For $12, you get one music lesson (a $25 value). The musicians at Warren Henry Music, helmed by titular owner and former guitar manufacturer, combine their love and knowledge of instruments to refurbish musical machinery with a slew of services and teach the art of note producing. After a free evaluation and estimate, skilled hands restring ($15 plus the price of strings), adjust and align guitars ($35–$45), patch cracks, or upgrade hardware, rehabilitating rock-star accessories smashed onstage or trampled in savage-beast-soothing incidents gone awry.
Celebrity School of Music offers private lessons in a range of instruments—piano, guitar, violin, percussion, or voice—for budding or musically curious students of all ages. The experienced faculty is adept at introducing new musicians to the fundamental concepts of music by bringing years of musical experience to any classroom or stage. Lessons are fun and educational, with the welcoming instructors spontaneously interweaving games and listening techniques into their private sessions. You may mix and match your lessons to sample your choice of musical flavors. All classes except piano and voice require students to bring their own instrument. Call ahead to schedule your initial session.