The teaching staff of the Toon Shop, a former Kansas City fixture founded in 1948, now helms the newly inaugurated Village Music Academy. More than 40 independent instructors harness their combined 400 years of experience to immerse students of all levels in rock, classical, jazz, pop, and country techniques. 48 studio spaces—enough for each member of the Partridge Family to practice individually at once—nurture instruction in strings, woodwinds, and horns, and an auditorium showcases the results with appropriate reverence. The staff also helps prepare students for school band or orchestra. Sunny days might find an open-air audience gathered to watch the school's musicians performing in the plaza of the Prairie Village Shopping Center.
First Chair Fiddlers' founder, Rachel Gaither, leads a team of professional musicians and songwriters who teach students of all ages how to make beautiful music using pianos, guitars, violins, and the sound of their own voice. The team's collective résumé includes gigs playing in Celtic folk bands, opera performances across the country, and stints on New York City's singer-songwriter circuit. Under the team's guidance, kids and adults alike study the finer points of singing and playing various instruments, and later show off their newfound talents during summertime open-mic concerts, recitals, and impromptu 3 a.m. performances on their neighbors' front lawns. The teachers at First Chair Fiddlers also offer aspiring musicians advice on topics such as crafting a moving song or keeping a band together through lineup changes.
Darin Parker's pipes have led him to performances at Carnegie Hall and a Grammy Award as a member of the Kansas City Chorale, but he doesn't rest on his soaring voice alone. He also helps aspiring musicians and established pianos alike find the right pitch with private voice and piano lessons and careful tuning, respectively. Every year, Parker aims to turn his talents to an even higher cause: an avid outdoorsman, Parker has used musical events to raise awareness for the long-distance bike rides and canoe trips he's undertaken to earn funds for the Alzheimer's Association.
The instructors at Music House School of Music understand that music is a language and that languages should be used to express yourself. That’s why they’ve abandoned prescriptive instruction in favor of collaborative learning in a community setting, placing the music that their students want to hear at the center of their teaching programs. During private lessons, students forge a path through the genres of their choice, from rock to jazz to classical to birdsong. They show off their progress during monthly club meetings, working with a tight-knit group of like-minded musicians until they feel confident enough for public performance. In group classes, kids as young as 6 get to tickle ivory, strum steel, and set their uvulas abuzz with their burgeoning baritones.
On May 4 from 12–4 p.m., Music House School of Music celebrates the grand opening of its Lenexa location, which will feature live music, free classes and lessons for ages 6+, surprise goody bags, and refreshments. All attendees will be entered in a raffle for a chance to win six months of free music instruction.
The professional instructors of the Kansas City School of Music pass along musical torches to students learning the basics of strumming strings or tickling ivories during private and group lessons. Private studios insulated with soundproof walls ensure maximum concentration for students sight reading on acoustic pianos or turning the pages of sheet music with their minds. Each instructor follows a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on repertoire, technique, musicianship, ear training, theory, and more, and they encourage and prepare students to participate in recitals. Instructor credentials include either a masters degree or doctorate in their area of study.
Michelle Childs Beedle practically grew up performing—she began at the ripe young age of 3. Since then, she's taught competitive singers, snagged roles in various movies, and even won two Emmy awards. With Antonia Studios, she shares her talents not only through voice and piano lessons, but also by painting faces and hosting princess parties.