Oklahoma houses a variety of colleges with well-respected music programs, but several academies that focus solely on the music also exist for students of all ages.
Oklahoma Music Academy, located in Tulsa, offers private lessons and tutoring for guitar, drums, voice, piano and bass guitar.
“We also offer a rock band style ensemble class for qualified students that focuses on contemporary music, called After School Rock,” says Mac Ross, co-owner and instructor at the academy. There, he teaches guitar, bass and ukulele.
A similar program, called Summer Jam, ends with a big performance at Cain’s Ballroom.
“The concert is free to enter and we raise money for Fostering Connections, a local nonprofit,” says Ross. Summer Jam requires either an audition or a recommendation from a teacher.
The academy also offers classes for those just starting out; Little Maestros is a learning track for young children.
“We branded it to create a delineation from other branches of our general program, so that parents of children five to eight years old could see that we have instrumental tutoring available for this age group,” says Ross.
The other brand new class at OMA is called Mini Mozarts: Mommy and Me, which caters to children under the age of five. Each session has music-based lessons including crafts, music memory games, exploring rhythms and creating instruments.
Red Dirt Music Academy, located in Oklahoma City, was opened by Cory Moon in 2018. The academy offers half-hour, hour and group lessons for guitar, banjo, ukulele, drums, mandolin, voice, piano, violin, viola and bass.
“We offer all types of music lessons for all levels of musicians,” says Moon, who owns the academy and acts as its director. During the summer months, Red Dirt held a musical theater production camp where students sang songs, acted out scenes and learned dances from Shrek The Musical.
“We also have different types of camps that end with a concert performed by the students,” says Moon. On top of that, group ensembles are incredibly popular at Red Dirt.
“One is a folk/bluegrass ensemble and the other is a rock band ensemble,” says Moon.
If parents are unsure about how lessons will go or what instrument their children want to learn, Red Dirt offers a free trial lesson. Here, the teacher can get to know the student, figure out what goals he or she wants to achieve, and subsequently build a game plan.
Moon also created a program called Ukes for Kids. Partnering with the Children’s Hope program at the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children OKC, the weekend course provides group ukulele lessons for kids who might not be able to participate otherwise.