More than two decades ago, Angy Ford, the owner of Bravo Arts Academy, taught her first piano lesson. In the years that followed, Angy’s student base steadily grew, taking over her home-studio space and filling it with noise like a college roommate with no conception of personal space. Angy was heartened by this positive response and overwhelmed by the number of students knocking at her door, so she moved her operation to its current Ogden studio space, which, like the home studio that came before, has continued to expand. Here, Angy couples her bread-and-butter music classes with a host of other engaging pursuits—from art classes to dance lessons—that help kids develop confidence, coordination, and artistic skills. The academy’s facilities invite tots to tumble over thick foam, ballerinas to pirouette over a floating marley floor, and pianists to tickle the ivories in a group setting.
Broken down by age group, the academy’s offerings include preschool, where classes are kept small and incorporate sign language into the curriculum, and extends all the way to private music lessons for adults. Angy models her daycare after the best practices she observed while visiting more than 50 childcare centers, encouraging creativity and learning rather than running infants through daily gauntlets of strength.
Darlene Casanova, owner of Imagination Place, believes that music holds the power to strengthen familial and community-based relationships. Drawing from her extensive training and careers in the performing arts, she now strives to nurture family bonds and child development via music and movement classes. Along with a team of certified teachers and music instructors, she leads a harmonious selection of internationally recognized programs open to adults, children, and operatic family dogs. In Music Together, an early-childhood series in which caregivers join their tots in song and movement, children choose from a basket brimming with instruments and Baroque-style wigs to identify their individual musical styles. Teachers spark early creativity with yoga, art, and theater in the Imagination Workshop, and motivate youngsters to explore music theory in Musical Bridge.
When she?s not crooning with kiddies, Darlene teaches AntiGravity fitness. Suspended from an AntiGravity hammock?a soft, pliable fabric used to enhance stretches?she guides pupils through an aerial series of movements that meld techniques from dance, Pilates, calisthenics, and classic yoga.
In addition to her wide range of family classes, Imagination Place hosts music- and art-filled birthday extravaganzas. During the warmer months, an assortment of summer-camp programs fills the studio with creative children eager to escape the stresses of babysitting their parents.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center?s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169?$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Gymboree offers a bevy of baby-engaging classes in which parents and wee ones work together to build the tot's creativity and encourage development through play. Weekly classes are available for the freshly born sapling to the 5-years-young wise wanderer. This deal includes rhythm-building music classes, mobility-enhancing sports classes, and Gymboree's most popular class, Play & Learn. The month membership allows you to take one class per week, with make-ups available during enrollment if you miss a class. This deal also includes unlimited attendance at Gymboree's open gym sessions (contact location for schedule), and you will receive a $25 certificate (requiring a $50 minimum purchase) for Gymboree clothing purchased online or at a Gymboree clothing store.
MusicGarage.Org's staff has produced more than 600 young students in more than 400 concerts, it takes less than 90 days to get onstage. Led by a group of talented musicians and instructors, programs help students hone their singing, soloing, and stagecraft before they play a live concert for family and friends. Throughout the year, the 4,500-square-foot rehearsal facility hosts afterschool programs, where bands develop a full set of covers or original songs for an end-of-quarter show. Besides nurturing the next generation of rockers, MusicGarage.Org runs recording programs where kids learn how to use the latest audio technology, as well as a 1,500-square-foot venue for professionals to rehearse, perform, or devise plot points for their future VH1 music documentary.
With the private, personal instruction from experienced musicians, kids will soon be shaking the walls and integrating British slang into their vocabulary. In the Performance Program (a $275 value), budding musicians learn the fundamentals of playing an instrument during a weekly 45-minute private lesson as well as one weekly group rehearsal. At the end of the season, students have the opportunity to perform at a rock venue (past student performances have included Pink Floyd's The Wall, AC/DC, Best of the '80s, and Devo). The All Access Membership Program (a $180 value) offers a 30-minute weekly lesson along with a one-hour weekly jam session and two tickets to each of the school's seasonal shows. In this program, students are free to focus on what they want to learn, whether it be perfecting a favorite rock song or practicing improvisation skills. Enrollment is rolling and based on seasons.