At the age at which most children learn to speak, Mozart had already composed four symphonies, restored 11 classic cars, and built a robot to play against in squash. Catch up to Mozart's accomplishments with today's Groupon: for $20, you get two private music lessons at Columbia Academy of Music (a $40 value). Students must provide their own portable instruments, though pianos and drum kits are available on-site.
Founded by Wes Wingate, who's graced the stage with Chuck Berry, Hank Williams III, OK Go, and more, the Columbia Academy Music imparts expert melody teachings to aspiring tunesmiths aged 4 and older. Throughout a pair of 30-minute private lessons, students can perfect the ideal pluck on a guitar, bass, banjo, or mandolin, or learn how to underscore ominous conference calls when manning a cello. Lessons are also available for piano, drums, and voice training, and can cover styles ranging from rock, jazz, and classical to bluegrass and country. Those adverse to the limelight can hone skills in Sibelius music-notating software or audio production, which includes lessons in multitrack recording, running live sound, and auto-tuning your dog's barks. The Academy's stylish environs include private practice rooms, artful décor, and The Bridge, its personal performance venue.
Columbia Academy of Music
When a school of music also contains a live-performance venue, it’s an indicator that the lessons stick. Such is the case with the Columbia Academy of Music, where private practice rooms sit just steps from The Bridge, a club accustomed to welcoming musical talent from down the street and around the country. A stage within range of instruction can inspire even the most stage-frightened students to step into the spotlight, where they’ll get the hands-on, feet-on stage experience that renders books worthless.
The academy’s tuneful staffers are no strangers to this kind of public performance—some instructors have shared the stage with the likes of Chuck Berry, Sting, and Hank Williams III—but many also are experts in what goes on behind the music. In lessons tailored for all ages, skill sets, and music-making manners, the school strengthens the confidence of budding musicians in once-a-week sessions. Instrument instruction infuses students with techniques across a range of musical genres; audio-production and engineering courses teach students how to make solid records and tolerate most singers’ misguided requests for more Steak-Umms in the monitor.