With its neon-purple stage lights and 70? plasma screen, Dave's Guitar Instruction's studio resembles a rock-concert stage as much as it does a classroom. And that's the point. The school's classes, capped at eight students, combine the intimacy of a private lesson with high-tech, professional trappings. The studio's personal headphones pipe each student's chords to only their ears and the instructor's, providing sonic privacy and easing shyness; meanwhile, the stage platform vibrates to prepare students for the bass vibrations of a concert or having to perform during a minor earthquake.
Students of all levels hone their skills with the help of Dave Milliken, an instructor with more than 25 years of guitar performance experience. Dave's love for genres from folk to hip-hop informs his multimedia lessons. During classes, students play along with live recordings or watch concert clips featuring legendary guitar players and plectrums unjustly forgotten by history. For an immersive experience, Dave's students augment their classwork with custom at-home practice sessions, aided by online-video and audio resources.
Scales Music's legion of experienced instructors teaches aspiring strummers the fundaments of acoustic guitar in a cozy, encouraging environment during 45-minute group lessons. Open to the young, the young at heart, and the incredibly old, each lesson guides a troop of four–six string pluckers through the basic principles of music theory and a musical rendition of Einstein's theory of relativity. After the opening session, rock 'n' roll undergrads begin learning how to play songs together. Spacious lesson rooms provide players with space to groove and free high-speed Internet access allows parents to browse the web. Although not included with today's Groupon, students can choose from a selection of rental guitars to take home for further practice with family bands led by golden-retriever sopranos.
Owners Michael and Lucy Fitzgerald are a nationally recognized ballroom duo that has placed as a finalist in more than 70 major competitive events. With nearly 40 years of dance experience, they opened Just Dancing West to share their love of ballroom dancing with the community in private and group classes geared to students of all ages.
The well-trained tone teachers at the American School of Music enlighten aspiring musicians with custom private lessons in a variety of instruments. During a 30-minute lesson, music mavens—many of them professional musicians or degree-holding music educators—can teach a 10-year-old his or her first guitar chords, or help an experienced adult drummer hammer out the difficult timpani solo from The Odd Couple’s theme. Before the lesson, administrative staff gathers information about each student’s goals, experience level, and preferred musical style so that instructors can tailor the experience to his or her needs. Beginning singers and instrumentalists will also receive a complimentary lesson book whose sentient pages whisper words of encouragement during at-home practice sessions.
The Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has been plucking its way around the world for three decades, compiling a critically acclaimed catalog of recordings that experiment with and meld a potpourri of musical genres. For their December 11 concert, the energetic foursome will enchant eardrums with works by Rossini, Bizet, and other composers within the acoustically satisfying surroundings of the 560 Music Center's 1,100-seat E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. This performance is the third of the 2010–11 season for the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, which promotes classical fretted-instrument appreciation via education and performances by local and world-renowned musicians.