It's not often that a kindergartener chooses Beethoven's 6th Symphony as the object of his earliest obsession. But that was what the parents of Brian Beshore found while dealing with the youngster. He bombarded his parents with the symphony until they finally agreed to let him take music lessons. And students at Foothills Music Academy are lucky they did. Brian is one of the academy's music teachers. His early fascination with Beethoven spurred a lifetime of learning—today he plays and teaches the viola, violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, and cello (plus, he composes).
Each of the music teachers brings a unique background—and set of instruments—to private or group music lessons for kids. Kids can opt for the traditional grade-school instruments, such as violin or piano, or try something new such as the mandolin, bass guitar, or harmonica.
Instructor Dave Curtis understands why many people shy away from music lessons. Stereotypically, music lessons can be stiff, demanding, and no fun at all, as stringent teachers suck a player's passion out with rote repetition. Dave's philosophy is to let students play music their own way, because he believes music should never stop being joyful. During 30- and 60-minute lessons, Dave eschews standard chord-gorging and endless rounds of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" for a sharpened focus on music theory—the not-so-secret language that accomplished musicians speak. In one-on-one lessons, Dave inspires students to play the songs that they want to play as they learn to transpose, write, and arrange their own songs.
From 18 studios scattered around Los Angeles, Lori Moran Music Studios’ armada of instructors offers all-ages voice, piano, guitar, violin, and composition classes. With teachers who have worked on films such as Dreamgirls and Dance Flick, world-touring operatic productions, and Grammy-nominated choral CDs, the school can cater to virtually every musical taste—from classical to jazz to pop. Students choose the emphasis of their lessons, whether they want to work on their public performance skills, write their own songs, sight-read scores, or simply be able to play musical chairs during a power outage. Many will also get the chance to show off in recitals, concerts, and showcases.
The team members at Imperial Vintage Guitars spend nights gigging at local clubs or editing new tracks in the studio. By day, they draw on these musical chops to help customers choose from a stock of new and vintage electric guitars from manufacturers such as Gibson and Fender. Those six-strings share the shop with acoustic guitars, bass guitars, amps from Fender and Marshall, and accessories such as tuners and strings.
If those strings break, the denizens of Imperial’s repair shop can swiftly replace them with new nylons or steels. They also take on more complex jobs, from artfully restoring old guitars with vintage parts to explaining why Randal is a terrible name for a guitar.
Brother-and-sister duo Glenn Treibitz and Cheryl Fox and their team love their jobs. The pianos that Hollywood Piano Company stocks unlock dreams, passions, and ambitions, and he couldn't think of a better way to spend his days. Family-owned since 1928, the store sells acoustic pianos made by some of the best manufacturers, including Estonia and Baldwin. There's also digital pianos by Roland and Kurzweil that precisely simulate the sound and feel of acoustic pianos. Glenn and his team of music lovers also tune, rent, and restore pianos. To give customers everything they need to fully appreciate their new instrument, the shop offers lessons, as well.
Sheri Pedigo's students are prepared for a competitive musical market filled with auditions, challenging business decisions, and bigtime talent competitions such as The Voice, American Idol, and America's Got Talent. Their star factor all comes down to the quality of their voice, which they refine at Voice Works, Pedigo's vocal coaching center. Her vocal lessons and workshops focus on topics ranging from technique and stage presence to more industry-specific skills, including working with managers and agents and understanding royalties.