A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, David Sklar has composed for independent films, played at Lincoln Center, and won several piano competitions of his own. But his true legacy lives on in the deft fingers of the countless protégés to attend his studio, where he helps them hone their musical expression and creativity with a mixture of technique, music theory, and ear training during fun and engaging one-on-one lessons. Specializing in a variety of styles—from classical sonatas to show tunes and pop music—David also gives students his undivided attention during voice and songwriting classes.
Even though it’s been lauded by CBS New York, Time Out New York Kids, and Nickelodeon Parents Connect, ABC Do-Re-Me! most values praise from its students. At each energetic studio, newborns to 6-year-olds ecstatically bounce along to children’s songs from a live guitarist or to tunes by pop artists such as the Beatles, the Black Eyed Peas, and Madonna, as they build cognitive skills, develop socially, and create dance routines that will wow at baby prom.
As any parents who've found themselves replacing careworn Wiggles albums or humming along with an accidentally memorized Raffi tune can attest, children are hardwired with a natural love of music. At The Early Ear, a staff of dedicated instructors nurtures this budding appreciation by encouraging musical curiosity and imagination. Their music programs—which are suitable for kids from 4 months to 5 years old—engage young minds, with sing-along activities and group exploration of the violin, guitar, accordion, cello, and other folk instruments. The teachers also show students the basics of reading music and decode the subtle jokes left in each of Beethoven's symphonies. Kids can also experience the power of music through dance classes, which teach them to express themselves through movement and eventually link steps together in order to flaunt new moves for their friends and family at the end of the course.
Guitar New York boasts an armada of skilled instructors dedicated to transforming aspiring bass and guitar players into axe-wielding, music-making lumberjacks. In a personalized, one-on-one setting, rookie rockers learn how to make strings sing with the basics of guitar finesse, including how to play songs simply by hearing them or by getting to know their families. Students can also learn to record their own songs with professional equipment, helping to immortalize the moment when inspiration strikes from a broken heart or low-flying carrier pigeon. For those just starting out or whose guitar recently eloped with a Casanova amplifier, Guitar New York has spare instruments available for use during lessons.
The instructors of Piel Canela Dance and Music School are spreading the word with their feet. A nonprofit organization devoted to introducing newcomers to the sounds and steps of salsa and mambo, Piel Canela's team works to teach students not only the steps of dance but an appreciation for the music and culture from which they sprung. Latin dances—along with ballet, hip-hop, Zumba, and competitive standing—dominate the class lineup, and workshops, socials, and salsa vacations are offered to deepen students' skill sets. While the school's focus is centrally on losing one's extra left foot, the school also holds classes in art, Spanish language, and music.