Strike a Chord

For MT
If you want to be a rock star, the life of the party, or even just the diva of your dvor, then the idea of learning guitar might turn you on.

Although many successful musicians are self-taught, not everybody can master the basics on their own. Moscow's many music schools can offer a helping hand -- and some even have English-speaking teachers.

One of these is Krasny Khimik, which claims to be Russia's oldest rock school, founded in 1979 in a club attached to the Moskhimfarmpreparaty factory. Krasny Khimik offers classes in acoustic, electric and bass guitar as well as other instruments and vocals. Many musical styles are taught -- rock, hard 'n' heavy, thrash, heavy metal, hardcore, ska, punk, funk, grunge, blues, jazz and flamenco -- from beginners' level through to advanced. The original venue is now closed for renovations and classes are held at three centers located near the Oktyabrskaya, Polyanka and Novokuznetskaya metro stations.

For two 60- to 80-minute guitar classes per week -- one theory and one practice -- the monthly fee is 3,000 rubles.

Another studio with guitar classes and an English-speaking teacher is Art Podvalchik Vesta in the Shabolovka neighborhood. The lessons include theory as well as technique -- vibrato, tirando, legato, with mediator and others. Participants have the opportunity to practice stage technique as well, performing at the studio's parties, which are organized specifically for this purpose. The lessons run for one hour, one to three times per week, and cost 450 rubles, or 400 rubles per lesson if you pay for four or eight at once.

Studio Ostrov, founded in 1989, offers private classes for children and adults alike in the Kievskaya area.

Apart from the instrument lessons, which are individual and held two to three times per week, the studio has weekly group classes in music grammar and vocals. You may also join its choir, orchestra, bands and musicals. For 4,500 rubles a month, participants get three classes a week -- two individual instrument lessons and one group theory and vocal lesson.

If you wish to give your children an early start in music with the hope they will enter a conservatory in the future, you need to enroll them in a professional music primary school. Classes begin in September, but you need to start the enrollment process as early as April.

Some schools are very strict about age requirements, accepting only 9- to 10-year-olds into the first year of a five-year guitar certificate course. Naturally, musical abilities must also be up to standard, and the teachers will test a child's hearing, rhythm and memory.

There are guitar classes at the Glier music primary school at Yakimanka as well as at the Igumnov music school on Pokrovka, which accepts children aged 10 to 15.

If you'd prefer to take private lessons, a teacher is easy to find. On the web sites and you will find a choice of acoustic, electric and bass guitar teachers.

Art Podvalchik Vesta,
5 Ul. Shukhova, 517-8746, M. Shabolovskaya,

Glier music primary school,
29 Ul. Bolshaya Yakimanka, 238-7500, M. Polyanka.

Igumnov music school,
39/3 Ul. Pokrovka, 917-5677, M. Kurskaya.

Krasny Khimik,
several addresses, 452-1879,

Studio Ostrov,
3 Ukrainsky Bulvar, 400-5271, M. Kievskaya,