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.
Golf: Inside & Out’s resident golf guru David Geier offers a comprehensive approach to golf training, helping golfers on their path to mastering the technical, tactical, physical, and mental elements of the game. As players pulverize golf balls at the studio’s indoor hitting bays, the watchful instructor observes and analyzes each swing with video technology. Golf students benefit from watching a video of their swings in slow motion, helping them understand nuggets of corrective advice and sympathize with brutally compressed golf balls. Geier also teaches principles of course management, physical training, and the mental and emotional training necessary to execute golf shots on a subconscious level, a process which can incorporate hypnotherapy.
Golf: Inside & Out also helps aspiring Arnold Palmers refine their skills with advanced club-fitting services. The shop's high-tech module evaluates customers' putts and swings, then tailors a custom blueprint that helps determine correct shaft flex, launch angle, and grip size. The device can also clarify the most compatible ball for a particular club.
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.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Children can explore the flavor profiles inspired by their inner chef through interactive kitchen education that bypasses 80-watt-light-bulb baking. Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can-openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food.
Kids' sponge-like brains can't help but absorb their surroundings, which unfortunately may be becoming increasingly stressful. "Never before in human history have we been flooded with [so much] information and technology," founder Kelli Slavin says. "Parents don’t know how to deal with it. Kids don't know how to deal with it." But she helps combat overburdened minds with The Light Academy's combination of Kundalini yoga and art classes for kids. Kundalini yoga focuses on breathing as the gateway to inner peace and health. It "stimulates the glandular system [and helps] engage the brain … and promote general wellness." She leads kids through Kundalini exercises, helping them to soothe their minds and teaching them to cope with anxiety and stress, ultimately pushing them to connect to their inner "greatness."
With that inner greatness, kids can interpret the world through art. "Giving kids a creative outlet is very important," Slavin says. "They're downloading whatever is in their head and making something beautiful." Classes delve into exciting projects, such as creating original comic books and making kites, or arming homemade piñatas with popsicle-stick swords or giant, weeping doe eyes.:m]]