Equipped with a music-education degree and a lifelong passion for teaching piano, Bill Cantola comes to clients' homes to help them learn piano the way they desire. Rather than forcing them to repeat scales for the sake of tradition, Cantola teaches clients to play their own selections of music while infusing each session with information about technique and music theory.
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.
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.
Star Maker School boasts a staff full of professionals as well as alumni from all over the entertainment industry, including professional, tour, and major recording artist dancers; Broadway performers; commercial and voice-over actors. For nearly 40 years, its instructors have helped kids aged 2.5?18 accomplish transformations into these fields with positive reinforcement and confidence-building methods in dance, acting, and singing. Their philosophy prizes healthy self-image above all else, and they also help parents make educated decisions regarding breaking into showbiz.
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.
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.