Arts Education for Kids

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Whether it’s visual art, music, dance or drama, the arts do much to nurture creativity and imagination in children. The following local institutions offer arts education for kids:

Belmont Academy
1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville
460-6346 • belmontacademy.net
Operated under the Belmont University College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Academy offers private instruction for all ages in piano, traditional strings, guitar, banjo, mandolin, brass/winds, harp, percussion, Kindermusik and voice.  The Nashville Children’s Choir includes  four choirs for ages 8 through high school.  Additional camps, master classes and ensemble and chamber music opportunities and summer sessions are available.

Cheekwood Botanical
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
353-9827 • cheekwood.org
Cheekwood’s education department offers a variety of classes for all ages year round. See the website for the full list of upcoming children’s classes. Cheekwood also offers Tuesdays for Tots and Backpack Adventures for children.

Nashville Children’s Theatre
25 Middleton St., Nashville
254-9103 • nashvillechildrenstheatre.org
Tennessee’s only professional, non-profit children’s theater offers age-appropriate drama classes for ages 3 through grade 12 during winter and fall sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Classes and camps range from song, dance and movement for 3-year-olds to acting, character development, play writing and performing for older students, all of which emphasize the process of theater and the innate creativity of each child.

Nashville Opera
3622 Redmon St., Nashville
832-5242 • nashvilleopera.org
The opera brings a performance of a current production (this year, it’s Sid the Serpent) to local schools. “In the Theater” allows for students to come to the opera for a dress rehearsal (open to middle and high school students only).  “In the Community” brings Nashville Opera on Tour out and about with free performances. For a full list of upcoming public performances, visit the website.

Nashville Symphony
1 Symphony Place, Nashville
687-6500 • nashvillesymphony.org
The symphony’s Music Education City includes free programs for students in public, private and home schools for all grade levels. Music education is provided via classroom instruction, admission to dress rehearsals for classical series concerts, master classes and workshops (grades 4 – 12). In addition, the Curb Youth Symphony is available to students in grades 8 – 12. The symphony also hosts a Web site specifically for kids to learn more about instruments and other tidbits — nsokids.org. In January and February, the symphony offers a series of free Young People’s Concerts to all Middle Tennessee schools. For a complete schedule and to register, visit the website.

Nashville Ballet
3630 Redmon St., Nashville
297-2966 • nashvilleballet.com
Part of Nashville Ballet’s mission is to bring and introduce live dance to schools and other centers through a school and touring program and family and community programs.  Learn about classes (at Nashville and Brentwood campuses) and additional offerings at the website.

O’More College of Design
423 South Margin St., Franklin
omorecollege.edu
The design college offers a Summer Studio in June and July.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC)
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4000 • tpac.org/education
TPAC’s educational component brings arts opportunities to all ages.  For children, Humanities Outreach in Tennessee (HOT) has students coming to TPAC for professional productions complemented by teacher guidebooks and materials in addition to talkback sessions with performers and in-school visits.  Wolf Trap places performing artists in head start and pre-school classes, weaving arts into curriculum for younger children.

Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music
2400 Blakemore Ave., Nashville
322-7651 • blair.vanderbilt.edu
Blair School of Music offers private and group pre-college instruction for grades K – 12.  Programs include all choral instruments, piano, guitar, voice, dulcimer, fiddle, mandolin and banjo.  Also available is chamber music, Suzuki instruction, group and beginning piano, interactive music theory (ages 12 and older), music history and literature (ages 12 and older), and Kindermusik (for ages newborn – 6 years).  The Blair Children’s Chorus Program (BCC) is also available for grades 1 – 12 by audition.  The Nashville Youth Orchestra Program (NYOP) is available by audition only for all levels of skill.

Watkins College of Art & Design
2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville
383-4848 • watkins.edu/community
Community education classes for ages 4 – 18 teach art fundamentals in areas like drawing, soft sculpture, painting, clay, digital photography, screen printing and other media. Download a list of classes and registration form at the website.

In addition, several Middle Tennessee companies boasts a bevy of arts classes for kids.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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