Tanisha Hall and Sergeant First Class Xavier Swenson play ‘The Ski Lift’ during beginning piano lessons.
Teaching Children and Adults Techniques that lead to Success in the Arts.
It is said that music heals. Sergeant First Class Xavier Swenson of the Army’s 18th Airborne Core, Special Forces Sniper unit can attest to that. After being injured in an IED explosion in Iraq, his left hand was heavily damaged and was surgically reconstructed. This left him with limited mobility and in need of specialized physical therapy that he is receiving from learning to play the piano at the White Hall Arts Academy in the Leimert Park area.
White Hall Arts Academy was founded by Tanisha Hall in 2002 after needing a mailing address for her life coaching company called Personal 10. After asking her grandmother, who owned a beauty salon on 54th street close to Crenshaw, Grandmother Hall told her about a vacancy in the building. It was a no-brainer for Hall who said, “When she told me I could rent one side [of the beauty salon], my immediate thought was, “Cool, I’m going to build a music school!””
Hall didn’t stop there, teaming up with friends and expanding from just teaching voice and piano in 2002, to including dance, acting, drawing and guitar by 2012. “In September of 2011, we finished construction downstairs, and just as we finished the upstairs, space became available.” Hall’s smile widened as she recalled the trials of building her academy, “We finished construction on the upstairs in March 2012.”
Students enjoy the adult guitar class.
White Hall Arts Academy boasts of several success stories including Jordan Warren who starred as the witch, Elphaba, in Wendy Raquel Robinson’s Amazing Grace Conservatory’s production of ‘Wicked’ featuring an all youth cast.
The difference between White Hall Arts Academy and other performing arts schools is that White Hall Arts Academy concentrates on small groups and personal development instead of the large groups that other repertory companies utilize. “[Groups] are no larger than ten, divided by age,” says Hall who spoke while effortlessly playing a melody on the Academy’s digital piano.
White Hall Arts Academy is located at 2812 W. 54th Street, Los Angeles, California 90043. For more information on White Hall Arts Academy, go to www.whitehallacademyorg or call (424) 235-0665.
Art class keeps young students creative and engaged.
Photos By Troy Tieuel