The members of PAN Performing Arts Network bring a range of backgrounds to their international collective: some are experienced musical composers, guitarists, and singers, while others are established teaching artists and actors. Their expertise allows them to gather all the arts under one roof with an annual performance season and more than 40 regular classes each week. These classes span instruction in dance styles such as Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Afro-Haitian, and Irish Step, as well as training in Creative Movement, Acting, Instrumental Music, and Voice. Instructors tailor their classes to the needs of beginner through advanced-level adults, children, and children disguised as adults. They also provide classes suited to senior citizens and students with special needs.
Drummer Paradise's instructors would never reduce their art to mere banging. Far from it—the team champions drumming's benefits, from exercising cardio muscles to the mental demands of staying on beat. Of course, the main emphasis of lessons at Drummer Paradise is learning the instrument itself, a process that begins with honing skills such as reading music, as well as focusing on developing musical skills in child students. To enrich their rhythmic techniques, child and adult students alike can supplement their sessions with exercises from Drummer Paradise's library of 100-plus instructional books and DVDs. Once they've mastered the skins, pupils can even enter the Drummer Paradise studio to lay down a beat of their own.
Bass player, composer, and educator Agustin Conti boasts more than two decades of professional performing and recording experience in the United States, Europe, and South America. In 2005, he settled in South Florida, where he opened his own private teaching studio a year later. When he’s not leading classes at Miami Dade College, Conti schools students during in-person and virtual lessons for the four-, five-, and six-string electric bass; the upright bass; and the wall-mounted animatronic largemouth bass. The bilingual instructor uses a variety of teaching styles, such as letting students learn by ear or by reading the music.
Rhythm & Pitch’s staff of nearly 20 teachers enables an enormous variety of classes: not only music for kids and adults, but also theater, dance, color guard, sound engineering, and music ministry. Instrument-specific lessons set pianists and guitarists on the path to virtuosity and help ventriloquists’ dummies discover their own voice. Ready-made groups, including jazz combos and symphonic wind ensembles, provide performance opportunities every few months. A duo of state-certified teachers runs the after-school program, which provides kids up to age 18 with a snack, instruction in the school’s three specialties, and homework help.
Guitars, banjos, and mandolins hang like artwork from Penny Lane’s red walls, immediately capturing the eye with names like Santa Cruz, Eastman, and Gold Star, and indicating the shop’s specialty in repairing, selling, and teaching a range of stringed instruments. Within this musical gallery, a deft staff lends its melodic expertise to fixing broken instruments—from guitar strings to bass necks—and promises to tackle any repair no matter how big or small.
Budding musicians—equipped with their own instrument or one from the emporium’s vast stock—an sit down with a distinguished instructor, who teaches players of all ages and experience levels how to play classical instruments such as the piano and violin, or more obscure music machines, including the banjo and ukulele. The shop also hosts monthly jam sessions, allowing students to gather on the store’s plush red couch and learn first-hand the important factors of group play, from keeping on beat to smashing guitars an arm’s length away from others.