The experienced, college-trained harmony wizards at Agawam Music dole out top-notch musical tutelage to budding musicians tickling all variety of instruments. Each personalized, one-on-one lesson allows drummers to drum, flautists to flaut, and saxophonists to phone home with the news that their pitch is really improving. Agawam also verses pupils in the arts of electric and acoustic guitar, piano, clarinet, and bass. Blossoming virtuosos can hone their euphonious skills in an array of genres such as blues, jazz, classical, and elevator muzak. Lessons are scheduled at a set time and day each week, and any added costs for learning materials, such as music books and gold-plated metronomes, will be the responsibility of the student.
At The Little Green Tambourine, an environmentally friendly creative-arts studio that promotes active lifestyles, children’s imaginations roam freely during unstructured open-play hours. Kids can create artwork from play doh and paint, don dress-up clothes, or spout The Catcher in the Rye soliloquies during dramatic play. The mini ball pit and hula hoops promise to burn off excess energy, and youngsters can train for the import-export business at the train table. During open play parents must remain with their children, but for an additional $5 per session parents may leave their children to be supervised by the staff during drop-off open play. Parents supervise little ones younger than age 3, but can drop off children 3–5 years old in the sunlit studio with sustainable bamboo floors. Registration for drop-off play is required, and reservations for open play are recommended.
Striding confidently onto the stage, a pintsize foursome breaks into a pitch-perfect rendition of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." At Corner Music's School 4 Rock summer camps, it only takes one week for instructors to ready such students for their moments in the spotlight. Each session, based around a different musical theme, includes rehearsal time and CD-recording sessions before culminating in a performance for family and friends.
Aside from the camps, private lessons improve kids', teens', and adults' skills on instruments from the banjo to the sax. At Corner Music's retail shop, students can rent a guitar or bass guitar for practicing, buy a Fender of their own, or accrue gear, including sheet music, strings, reeds, and tuners.
After purchasing his first DSLR camera, Gary Detonnancourt made the common mistake of investing in expensive equipment before learning to use what he already had. Eventually realizing that his gear was only as good as his understanding of it, he became a self-made expert in the art of digital photography. He went on to become president of the Northern Rhode Island Camera Club, and he now draws on years spent as a science teacher to explain to students how light works and why shining a laser pointer on something is hilarious. That same experience has caused him to apply a hands-on philosophy in workshops and online programs as well as lessons in studio photography, fine-art printing, and Photoshop. The shutterbug also appears at weddings to capture special-day grins, and portraits of young children beg for space in photo albums next to teddy bear–hunting licenses.
At the tender age of 6, Mark Cafiero received his first camera. Though it was broken and filled with cartoons his father had drawn of Mark and his sisters, that camera sparked an early interest in photography. Since then, that spark has erupted into a full-fledged passion, leading Mark to become a professional photographer who has snapped photos for hundreds of clients, including celebrities and professional athletes. To share his spark with others, Mark founded Chimpsy, a resource that helps photographers of all experience levels calibrate their skills with casual in-person and online classes.
Available in more than 30 cities across the nation, Chimpsy's two-hour crash course features a hands-on shooting session and campfire-style presentation on topics ranging from camera anatomy to photo composition. For home study, online classes help photographers—beginners and aspiring pros alike—get more from their pictures through two-hour video tutorials that cover photo-editing software, shooting tips and techniques, and steps on how to build a photography business. From the comfort of their bedrooms, students can watch these professional photographer-led tutorials live or replay previously recorded sessions. Along with instructional classes, Chimpsy offers shutterbugs a place to submit photos for contests with monthly prizes or for feedback from peers, pros, and sentient picture frames.
The nonprofit organization ETTA Art Studio splashes the Amherst community with artistic spirit flowing from the brain brushes of its experienced local artists and teachers. The master masterpiece makers pass on their creative tutelage via classes that cover clay working, drawing, puppet making, theater, and other artful subjects. On July 25–29, kids can swing by the studio for Fantastic Fairylands (ages 5–11) or Giant Puppetmaking, Improv + Movement (ages 8–12). And August 1–5, Collage, Diorama, and Painting (for ages 8–10) empowers pupils with the ability to construct fan mail for Vincent van Gogh.