On March 29, 2011, legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman preceded his concert at the Lila Cockrell Theater with a Q&A session at Antonio Strad Violin. One of many other classical music stars to visit the store, Perlman's appearance reinforced Antonio Strad's status as one of Texas's preeminent stringed-instrument retailers.
The store stocks violins, violas, cellos, and basses, many hand-made. Alongside those instruments, Antonio Strad showcases essential accessories, such as shoulder rests, music stands, strings, and Vivaldi's powdered wig. Besides selling and renting their collection, Antonio Strad has an in-house team who are experts at repairing malfunctioning instruments and restoring older pieces, and a team of professional instructors, some of whom are professional symphony musicians, who help players refine their skills during private lessons.
Together, Redbone's instructors have more than 6,435 years of instruction experience; that's more than six lifetimes rocking, jamming, making splendid sounds, and busting blistering solos. Cliff Wright teaches guitar along with Greg Norris, who played on the Grammy-nominated album World Jazz by Lara & Reyes and conducts jazz clinics and master classes at many San Antonio–area high schools. Brazilian-born piano savant Nayara Megarity teaches scales, octaves, and chords, specializing in music's empathic intensity.
At Pepper’s School of Music and Art the sounds of tomorrow’s rock stars, drumline leaders, and designated National Anthem singers mingle with the chatter of artists perfecting their crafts. Founders Ashleigh and Barrett Pepper preside over lessons in guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals, working with a team of caring instructors. They'll typically start with the basics of instrumental technique before teaching students how easy it is to read music, play by ear, or perform their favorite song. In art lessons and meetups, pupils as young as 4 learn to work with paint and other media. The classes are open to adults as well, so the school occasionally hosts BYOB painting sessions."
As the Spanish translation of Raices de Arte Espanol attests, owners Carmen and Jose Linares each have strong roots in the arts. Born in Spain, Jose began playing guitar professionally at 12 years old, traveling the world to perform for icons such as President John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Dancing by age 3, Puerto Rican–born Carmen trained in New York with the American Ballet Theatre, toured with the ballet companies of Philadelphia and San Juan, and began teaching flamenco in San Antonio in the 1970s. Today, the couple shares the art of flamenco with others at their studio, where students apply their own expressive twists to footwork and even wield castanets to clack out rhythms or Morse-code messages to one another as they dance.
When he's not gigging at renowned venues such as CBGB or the Bowery Ballroom, Pancho Garza preps others to do the same at Alamo Rock School. Likewise, Pancho's fellow instructors channel years of teaching and performing experience to help students aged 8–17 improve their guitar, bass-guitar, drums, piano, or singing skills.
Weekly one-on-one lessons are the bedrock of Alamo's rock club, whose weekend jam sessions give students the opportunity to play with fellow musicians. Private lessons pair with group rehearsals at the school's summer camp and rock performance sessions, which culminate in a live show at a local venue. Designed for musicians 18 and older, the adult rock program similarly whisks students out of their grownup forts made of utility bills to the stage.