One of South Carolina’s oldest piano stores, Rice Music House has specialized in ticklish ivories since 1924 and offers a wide range of classes for piano enthusiasts of all experience levels. The piano and keyboard discovery class introduces aspiring musicians and forgetful Chopins to the basics of practical play and music theory. All equipment and instruction materials are provided, but students can opt to bring their own keyboard or instruction manual. Classes are held at Rice Music House and hold an average of six to 10 students. No previous musical or roadie experience is required for the lessons, which are offered in the daytime and evenings.
Growing up in Brooklyn, John Madden cultivated an eclectic set of musical tastes, from rock and blues to jazz and classical. He picked up performance chops at an early age by forming his own bands, which he complemented with formal training by studying jazz and contemporary music in college. Upon moving to Charleston, Madden narrowed his focus on teaching and performing guitar and bass. He estimates that in the 15 years since he held his first strumming lesson, he's taught hundreds of students?many of whom have gone on to perform locally and win scholarships to study music at the college level or with rare tropical songbirds.
With years of musical experience and a kind, patient approach, the instructors of Columbia Guitar Lessons help beginning and intermediate students learn to strum chords and play solos on guitar. They travel to students’ homes for convenient onsite lessons and can provide guitars if necessary. Private one-on-one lessons are available, as well as small-group lessons for siblings or friends.
During the mid-1970s, two touring musicians named Ed Blanton Jr. and Bubba Willis opened the original Encore Music to share their vast knowledge with aspiring tunesmiths and to stock a variety of quality instruments that would rival the inventory of a large franchise store. Though successful, the partners eventually went their separate ways in 1986. Ed Blanton Jr.’s son, Ed Blanton III, revived Encore Music two decades later with the same goals in mind, calling upon his experiences in the East Coast punk-rock scene to motivate young musicians and mohawks to reach for the sky. In its current incarnation, Encore Music now offers music lessons in guitar, bass, piano, and drums, and stocks all the equipment necessary to create an at-home recording studio.
Dawson Hill, the founder of Columbia Area Piano Lessons, honed his musical skills at Emerson College, where he earned a degree in performing arts. Now, he teaches students of all experience levels to coax music from the ivory keys, even composing their own tunes. Students can opt to study classical music, jazz songs, blues, and other genres.