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.
Arranged on stacks of wall-mounted shelves, untouched pieces of pottery wait for artists to apply creative expressions with paint. At two locations that will be celebrating 16 years in business this year, resident artists daub dishes, vases, and character figurines with colorings and patterns. Parents seeking keepsakes can complete a “precious impressions” project, where they mold and paint a clay imprint of their child’s hands or feet. Other projects feature fused-glass jewelry and dishes, and intricately tiled mosaics.
Pottery holds a unique place in human history: from clay bowls to sterling platters, housewares are both practical and artistic, at once a means of sustenance and a medium of expression. The latter is especially clear at A Colorful Universe, a vibrant workspace that immerses visitors in a cosmos of creativity, where they're free to transform pottery items, clay, and glass into personalized pieces of art. Along with regular classes, camps, and parties, special events enhance the experience of creating with activities suited for couples on a date or college students taking a night off from studying the dean's weaknesses. No matter the event, the studio's friendly staff is always available to demonstrate new techniques and help finish the pieces in the kiln.
In bar classrooms outfitted with real equipment and experienced instructors, the students at Professional Bartenders School learn to mix, pour, and serve their way into the barkeeping industry. Courses ranging from six hours to two weeks instill pupils with the tenets of professional drinksmanship, such as free pouring, drink recipes, and customer service. Students fill glasses with spurts from soda guns, simulated liquor from real bottles, and garnishes carved from organic plastic lemons as they learn drink recipes and mixing techniques. Upon certification, newly minted bartenders receive lifetime job-placement help, with access to a database of hospitality employers.
Veteran ballet dancers Lauri-Michelle and Benjamin Houk run a duo of prominent dance academies designed to aid children in the pursuit of toe-tapping excellence. Five four-hour days of dance camp break up the drudgery of summertime like an ice-cream truck breaks up a cul-de-sac water-balloon fight. Jazz Contemporary Hip-Hop workshop and the Ballet Summer Intensive offer various age-specific seminars for young hoofers all the way up to older teens, and the Mary Poppins Musical Theater Camp trains the starry eyes and limbs of Broadway-bound 6- to 12-year-olds. The academies' Dancing Princesses camp teaches 4- to 6-year-olds how to gracefully sway with any glass footwear or beast dance partner.