Story and Photo by Molly Lamoureux
Picking up music lessons is one way to brighten a spring agenda while still maintaining a regular routine.
The Des Moines area offers a variety of opportunities for eager students to either start lessons for the first time or to continue pursuing their musical passions on a more experienced level.
Drake University offers vocal, instrumental, and percussion lessons to students who attend the University.
These students can sign up for the lessons at registration time, and will receive credit for their semester of effort.
Both full-time and part-time music department professors offer these lessons if their schedules allow.
“We open the doors with a big heart to anyone who wants to participate,” said Alina Grimm, teaching artist of percussion at Drake.
Head chair of Drake’s music department, Clarence Padilla, also helps arrange lessons for both music and non-music majors.
Regardless of their major or minor, all students will receive one credit hour for weekly half-hour lessons, or two credit hours for weekly hour-long lessons.
Community members who do not attend the University also have the opportunity to take lessons on Drake’s campus through the Drake University Community School of Music (DUCSOM).
Director Christine Schneider promotes lessons for community members of all ages and experience levels – from toddlers to senior citizens.
There are plenty of more casual alternatives to taking structured classroom lessons on Drake’s campus.
Among these alternatives is Crazyhorse Guitars, just down the street from campus on University Avenue.
Crazyhorse presents a unique learning experience for eager music students by offering guitar and bass lessons from the hardcore metal band, Slipknot member, Donnie Steele.
When Steele isn’t in the recording studio or on tour with the band, he enjoys giving lessons to aspiring guitarists and bassists.
With 18 years of experience teaching lessons, Steele offers specialized lessons at $18 per half-hour to each of his students, making an extra effort to accommodate to their specific needs and interests.
“I enjoy working with students,” Steele said. “They keep me on my toes. It’s awesome to see how former students do with their bands and their own situations.”
With the wide variety of options for music lessons in the Des Moines area, ambitious novice musicians can get a local and convenient jump-start on their music experience.