Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. It seems that every dance lesson starts the same way. Students are told, "These are the steps," "Move to the beat," and "Never breakdance on wet cement." But unwilling to settle for the minimum, Seacoast Ballroom helps dancers see beyond getting their feet to move in the right direction. Its founder, Frederick Dunn, strives to inject dancers with grace and musical expression to help them feel dance for what it is?an art form. Its classes range in difficulty from beginner to competition level, and cover a variety of ballroom styles. Solo dancers or couples can strut through a tango, shimmy their hips in salsa, or effuse elegance through the Viennese waltz.
DeAngelis Studio of Music and Arts is staffed by working rock, jazz, and classical musicians, and accordingly, they make sure students have a chance to get onstage as soon as possible. In addition to recitals for students of private and group lessons, kids and teenagers can sign up for Rock School and learn to work as a group, run rehearsals, and headbang without a helmet; alternatively, the chorus joins many young voices in harmony. Every weekend, the studio hosts jam sessions for any student capable of playing a song all the way through. The studio has recently added kids dance classes to it schedule such as jazz, tap, ballet, and hip-hop. Adult Zumba and yoga classes are also available.
Even the most laid-back sessions are led by players with tons of experience packed into their instrument cases—each of the school’s teachers boasts either university music training or at least 15 years as a professional performer. Parents are welcome to watch the teaching relationship develop by sitting in on their little ones’ lessons, but they also can relax in one of the waiting room’s comfy chairs while sipping bottled water, flipping through magazines, or getting work done via free WiFi.
A patient fretboard cartographer gives students the key to unlock their own melodious maps in private lessons that chart harmonic scales and outline the murky waters of musical theory. With more than 17 years of playing experience in jazz and classical styles, instructor Nick Caine Rausch passes on guitar knowledge—from harmonic scales to musical theory—that he gleaned from supple-fingered songsmiths such as locals Keith Crook and Gary Wittner. Beginners and advanced players alike will benefit from one-hour lessons tailored to accommodate each student’s needs and preferences, with styles ranging from the popular (rock and blues) to the obscure (Russian disco-blues and twelve-tone twee).
The music programming at the nonprofit Maine Academy of Modern Music is designed to allow pupils to rock out to their favorite contemporary jams. During individualized lessons, teachers help students master the basics of rock instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, and more. From there, young rockers can enlist in one of the school's rock bands, where they'll learn to play alongside other musicians as a group. That, in turn, leads to performance opportunities, which the school sets up at renowned Portland venues like Bayside Bowl, Big Easy, Asylum, and the Old Port Festival.
Bands also assemble at the school's rock camps, where attendees not only rehearse originals and covers but also learn rock history and take field trips to local radio stations. Besides its in-house opportunities, the academy's outreach programs also supply local schools with everything from private concerts to master classes to ensure everyone has access to quality music education.
In 1850, Portland Adult Education began doling out knowledge to the masses, focusing on English, business, and all areas of academia. Like the 19th-century horses that gradually transformed into Dodge Caravans, the courses have evolved over the last century and a half. They're now split into two categories: business and personal enrichment. On the business side, students can master everything from computer basics to law. Personal enrichment classes encompass cooking, fitness, and even meditation.
Wolfman's School of Music founder Bob Wolfman started his music career as a session guitar player at the age of 16, eventually building an impressive résumé as a performer and recording artist, playing alongside legends such as Chick Corea and Larry Coryell. With 27 years of teaching experience under his belt, Wolfman has instructed countless kids and adults in guitar and bass, including folk artist Dar Williams and blues singer Andy O'Brien. Through his warm personality, his sense of humor, and his solid background in jazz, rock, and blues, Wolfman teaches budding musicians of all ages and skill levels with in-person private lessons and convenient online sessions via Skype. Wolfman's School of Music also serves as a prep school for Berklee College of Music and other music colleges.