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Best Places to Learn to Play Music

By Juliet Farmer

I am of the opinion that everyone should know how to play a musical instrument at some point. Learning to read music and play an instrument often leads to a greater appreciation for musical in general, be it pop, jazz, rock, classical, or anything in between. If you've made it to adulthood without ever learning how to play a musical instrument, don't fret. There's still plenty of time to channel your inner drummer, guitarist, violinist, pianist, or singer, thanks to several local groups, stores and individuals whose profession involves sharing their passion for music. Here are the best places to learn to play a musical instrument (or sing) in Sacramento.
The Drum Lab
2164 Sunset Blvd.
Rocklin, CA 95608
(916) 348-DRUM
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Photo Credit: Juliet Farmer

Although not technically in Sacramento, The Drum Lab is the place to go if you want to learn to play the drums. It's also the place to go if you want to find kind, patient, dedicated, and, most importantly, talented guys to teach you how to play the drums. (Insider tip: Ladies, don't rule out learning how to play the drums, because these little drummer boys are cute!) The Drum Lab offers individually-tailored private lessons for $100 a month (that's one 30-minute lesson per week for either four or five weeks, depending on the calendar). Between lessons, instructors are available by phone or email. Lesson rooms include two drum sets, practice pads and an iPod dock. The Drum Lab is open seven days a week , with most lessons occurring Mondays through Fridays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Drum Lab teaches all levels, all ages and all styles, and students can expect to learn how to play drums in a fun, supportive environment. Instructors include Serge Lysak (rock, pop, funk), Chris Brawley (rock, funk, jazz), Tim Metz (jazz, rock, Latin), Stixx (gospel, R&B, hip hop), and Christian Midthun (rock, pop, funk).

Kline Music
2200 Sutterville Road
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 456-8742
Hours: Mon to Fri 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Kline Music boasts several guitar instructors, with in-store lessons ranging from $80 to $90 per month (cash or check only) for one 30-minute lesson per week. Most lessons are offered Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No prior music knowledge is required, but owning a guitar is a must. (Insider tip: A classical guitar, easiest on the fingers and recommended for beginners, runs about $150 at Kline, including a case, pick, and more.) Whether you want to learn folk, rock, blues, or something else, with Kline lessons you can expect to learn to read music, play chords and popular music in the style of your choosing. Kline Music's guitar instructors are Jeanne Johnson, Peter Kett, Kenny Manlapig, Gabriel Nelson, and David Shapiro.

Sacramento School of Music
2308 J Street, Suite D
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 658-1600
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Photo Credit: Sacramento School of Music

At Sacramento School of Music, there are several violin instructors offering lessons at a variety of rates (the average being about $65 per hour weekly). Most lessons are offered late afternoon and early evening. Some instructors focus on beginners, while others only accept advanced students. Beginners can expect to learn all the basics, including how to hold and work a violin, read music, and play with other musicians. Sacramento School of Music's violin instructors are Dan Flanagan (pictured here), Jolan Friedhoff, Kate Homer, Heather Powell, and Laura Rubinstein-Salzedo.

Simply Music
2720 12th Street
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 447-7150
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Photo Credit: Juliet Farmer

Dane Andrus, a Simply Music senior associate, teaches over 50 students a week in the Land Park area. Andrus has taught the Simply Music method in private schools and residences, at piano stores, and at workshops in the area. He charges $32 per lesson for 10 25-minute lessons at a time (over a 10-week period). Andrus offers free meet-and-greet meetings Wednesdays and Thursdays (by appointment only), which last about 45 minutes and includes a sample lesson (you'll actually learn to play a song in 45 minutes!). Because Simply Music focuses on play-based teaching, students see results immediately. Learn contemporary, classical, gospel, accompaniment, or blues.

Cheri Murphy Jazz
4400 A Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 427-1945
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Photo Credit:

Cheri Murphy teaches vocals to both those who sing as a hobby and those who sing as a career. She helps singers improve range and breath support, conquer stage fright, and more. Lessons start at $35 per lesson for those 16 and under, and vary depending on the student's needs and length of lesson. Murphy has been teaching vocals for 35 years and is a member of the American Federation of Musicians. She teaches show tunes, country, gospel, blues and pop.

Juliet Farmer was born and raised in Sacramento, where she resides with her husband, two cats, and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health and wellness, entertainment, and more.
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