Musically speaking, Cleveland is most famous for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the city’s melodic legacy also has humbler roots, with Club Rock, a kid-centric music school that fosters lessons, workshops, and live performances by burgeoning young musicians. During classes, the staff of performing artists teaches a variety of instruments and vocal techniques to students, such as pitch control and proper breathing when singing about lost love or lost lunch money.
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.
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.
Songdog Music likens learning an instrument to baking—it requires following steps sequentially, honoring precision and timing, and mixing all the right ingredients together. It's a science; it's also a passion and an outlet for extraordinary self-expression. Songdog's instructors keep all those ingredients in focus when teaching personalized lessons in guitar, violin, and virtually all stringed instruments. They keep lessons low-key and focus on the kinds of music students want to play, be it rock, rhythm and blues, metal, or classical. By focusing on the music that students are interested in, instructors not only teach technique, but they give budding musicians the freedom to create their own original tunes. Songdog also offers classes in composition and theory, as well as group classes that give musicians the opportunity to mingle and meet others with similar ambitions.
There isn't an age requirement when it comes to being a rock star. At Studio Arts Academy & Rock School, students as young as 6 weeks old can learn music basics in the Music Together class, an early childhood program that taps into children's innate musical abilities, such as twins crying in two-part harmony. Older youngsters can head to band programs such as Little Rockers—a fun-filled class that explores percussion, keyboards, and singing—and Rock School, which helps participants hone in on which instrument they want to master should they join a band or score all of their conversations.
At Mordent Music, 10-year teaching veteran Stephanie Teller calls upon her experiences as a schoolteacher and professional concert pianist as she shares her passion for tickling keys with aspiring Chopins of all ages and skill levels. During half-hour or longer piano lessons, Teller beckons proteges over to a rich, resonant baby grand to learn how to play contemporary pop, country, or hip-hop songs as well as more traditional classical music. Teller instructs younger pupils through lively games and creative exercises, and challenge older, more serious students with the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum, which elevates piano proficiency through written study and a regimen of 100 finger pushups a day.