“The Ladera Music Academy opened its doors in April 2013 at 4912 W Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056 and is already creating a buzz,” said an academy spokesperson.
“Every week, the academy is adding more classes to accommodate new students.”
And, said founder Dr. Tanitra Flenaugh, “It’s never too early nor to late to start learning music.”
The academy offers piano, violin, drums, voice, and guitar classes for students ranging from three years old to senior citizens. Parents can also sign up for MusicTogether classes with their infants.
Dr. Flenaugh started the school because she wanted to ensure that the Ladera Heights, Inglewood, Windsor Hills & Baldwin Hills communities had access to affordable and excellent music classes.
“When it came time for my 4-year-old son to learn an instrument, I couldn’t find anything nearby. I had to drive to Redondo Beach or Santa Monica in order to find the enrichment opportunities that I wanted,” Dr. Flenaugh explained. “But now, at the Ladera Music Academy, there is a place where people of all ages can come to learn a new instrument.”
The first weekend of every month, the academy will host community music days, one for kids on Saturdays, and one for adults on Sundays.
“This gives the community a chance to meet us, have fun making music, and relieve some stress,” Dr. Flenaugh said.
This summer, The academy will also offer instrumental music camps at two other locations, one with the Inglewood Department of Parks and Recreation at Siminski Park and the other on the corner of LaBrea and Centinela across from Ralphs Grocery Store.
Dr. Flenaugh grew up the youngest of three children in a small artistic town in Fairbanks, Alaska. She left home at the age of 18 to pursue her musical aspirations for studying clarinet and music education at UCLA. While working part-time in order to support herself and complete her master’s degree at UCLA in performance & pedagogy, she noticed the large gap in access and excellence in music education programs available to students of color.
For example, while volunteering with a group of UCLA students to teach music once a week at Compton schools, Dr. Flenaugh discovered that their lessons were the students’ only access to music education, so she set out to change that. In 2011, she began an intensive, after-school orchestral program at both Bennett-Kew and Beluah Payne Elementary schools in Inglewood, CA and looks forward to expanding to additional schools in the coming school year.
“Underrepresented students of color, and low-income students are the most negatively impacted subgroups in education, and they have seen the largest decline in access to music education,” Dr. Flenaugh said.
Dr. Flenaugh’s passion for improving students of color’s access to music education inspired her doctorate studies, where she examined how organizations can better provide access and excellence in music education to underserved students in Southern California.
“Opening Ladera Music Academy is a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Flenaugh, who earned her doctorate degree in December 2012.