Urmi Batavia began teaching private piano and violin lessons out of her home in 2002. As demand for her classes grew, so did her need for room, and two years later she opened her own space dedicated to music instruction: Batavia Studios. There, she shares her teaching responsibilities with a team of instructors well versed in percussion, strings, woodwinds, and voice. Though they still provide private lessons for adults and children, they also helm weeklong children’s summer camps and oversee a store filled with musical instruments, song books, and music accessories, such as jars filled with Al Green’s voice.
Though they've been open for only three years, Backstage Guitars has already amassed an impressive collection of equipment and instruments from renowned brands such as Zildjian, Ludwig, Fulltone, and Remo at their two locations. An amiable and skilled staff can educate visitors on the stash of harmonic accoutrements on the store floor or lead them through private lessons in drums, guitar, and guitar-related instruments such as the ukulele or a field-hockey stick wrapped in spaghetti. Backstage's Rock Band Academy helps musicians to develop an even deeper appreciation of their chosen instrument, creating a band for similarly inclined students and culminating in a live set at Hard Rock Cafe.
Gaetano Letizia, a professional guitarist for more than 40 years, has helped hundreds of students learn to strum with confidence. At Lifetime Guitar Lessons, he teaches them how to play rock, blues, jazz, and classical music, and he even helps them to compose their own songs. Available to students of all experience levels, Letizia tutors beginners in the basics of the instrument and helps more advanced players find their inner Django Reinhardts. He also records and produces CDs for solo artists and bands. As an added convenience, rental guitars are available at the studio for those without their own ax.
In addition to selling, renting, and servicing an orchestral array of new and preplayed instruments at their showroom, Pellegrino Music Center’s tunesmiths tutor musical apprentices with instrumental instruction taught through the Pellegrino Fine Arts Academy. During 30-minute lessons at the center’s adjacent teaching facility, instructors skilled in instrumental varieties from voice to strings and horns to percussion walk students through one-on-one tutorials, preempting the risk of cluttered classrooms or dueling banjos. First-time students learn music-making basics like where to strum, when to change keys, and how to tell if a saxophone is about to molt, and strings relax and horns exhale under the deft control of experienced pupils in intermediate and advanced lessons tailored to their training level.
Dustin Oliver has served as the choir and drama director at Akron North High School and the fine-arts director at Celebration Church, so he knows a thing or two about putting on a performance. Add to that nearly 15 years practicing the guitar, nearly 20 years honing his piano and voice skills, and at least a few minutes humming the theme to M.A.S.H., and it becomes obvious that this artist is a multi-talented whiz. An accomplished musician and composer with a Bachelor’s degree in music from Southeastern University, Dustin is earning his Master’s in theatre from the University of Akron, making him a veritable double threat and a valuable resource for aspiring musicians and actors. When not adding to his own skill set, he leads private and group music lessons in guitar, piano, bass, and voice for students ages 5 and older—as well as private and group acting lessions—following well-established curricula.
• For $10, you get $20 toward instrument repairs. • For $12, you get one music lesson (a $25 value). The musicians at Warren Henry Music, helmed by titular owner and former guitar manufacturer, combine their love and knowledge of instruments to refurbish musical machinery with a slew of services and teach the art of note producing. After a free evaluation and estimate, skilled hands restring ($15 plus the price of strings), adjust and align guitars ($35–$45), patch cracks, or upgrade hardware, rehabilitating rock-star accessories smashed onstage or trampled in savage-beast-soothing incidents gone awry.