Ken Benshish and Yi Qian both grew up loving music, but the process of learning to play it ranged from uninspiring to mind numbing. The two musicians started iSchool of Music & Art to provide a much different experience—a positive, supportive atmosphere that takes into account each student’s personality and goals. Students aged 3 and older who can’t tell a drumstick from a plectrum and don’t even know the street value of a quarter note can learn piano, drums, guitar, or voice skills from scratch, then test their newfound skills with multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. Instructors host private classes or group students into their own rock-band performance troupes, and intensive camps culminate in field trips to Lincoln Center and a tour of a real recording studio.
For more than a quarter-century, All Music Inc. has catered to musicians of all stripes with a robust retail selection carrying brands such as Gibson, Fender, Martin, Taylor, Gretsch, Jackson, Epiphone, Seagull, Godin, Blackstar, and Ampeg. In addition to a plethora of electric basses and guitars, amps, and effects pedals, the shop stocks instruments as diverse as banjos, woodwinds, and strings. Repair services and comprehensive music lessons are also offered with more than 30 experienced teachers helping aspiring musicians reach their goals with private classes held every day of the week.
Huntington Bay Music's instructors are rarely seen without a guitar in their hands or glued to their stomach. But while they keep their axes close, the teachers also instruct students a variety of other instruments, from piano to violin. To complement their lessons, the duo outfits budding musicians with guitars, also available as rentals.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen kids' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling—such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels—demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
Diane Garetano's school—whose curriculum covers piano as well as other instruments—was an immediate success in the first year. She was renting space to accommodate her ever-expanding student body and the pianos that kept sprouting extra keys. Today, The Piano Studio for Kids imparts instrument skills at two locations. The school also has evolved in terms of technique, with instructors now incorporating even more methods built on fun, structure, and positive reinforcement. Once a year, students may elect to show off the fruits of these labors, with admission free of charge at a recital culminating in certificates, gift bags, and applause.
Studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, playing with the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company, and recording with Rufus Wainwright are only a few accolades on the resumes of the instructors at Bach To Rock. In their musical studio, they lead private and group lessons for students of all abilities in instruments such as the guitar, bass, voice, drums, piano, and keyboard. Their professional recording studios are open to artists who want to lay down tracks for an album or fine-tune singles, and they also offer camps for all seasons, during which student gain real instrument-playing experience.