A Newport Harbor High School student is proving you don't need to pay
through the nose to play through the notes.
Costa Mesa resident Anna Jordan, 15, plays electric guitar and
sings backup vocals for Pulse, a beginning rock band that plays songs
by artists such as Alanis Morissette and Lit. She's getting ready for
a Jan. 30 performance at the Old World restaurant in Huntington
Beach, while also learning to play the drums and piano.
All these instruments require a great deal of time, which
typically equates to a great deal of money for music lessons.
But Anna and other children are taking advantage of the nonprofit
Performing Arts Guild of Orange County, which provides an hour of
children's music lessons for half the going rate -- and operates
without charging any initiation fees or contracts, according to
founder and guitar teacher Steve Strombeck.
"This is not your typical half-hour revolving-door music store
program," Strombeck said. "Most of our instructors hold at least one
degree in music and are talented professionals."
The Performing Arts Guild operates at Planet Sound Studios in
Santa Ana and receives grants from former members, which allows
instructors to provide one-hour lessons for $25.90. Most half-hour
lessons in Orange County cost about the same price, Strombeck said.
"We have come a long way to reaching our goal in providing an
affordable and innovative lesson program," he said. "Our goal is as
funds, donations and contributions continue to grow, that we will be
able to drop our lesson rates for 2006 by another 20 to 30%."
Aspiring rock stars typically practice for about three months in
the guild's rock program before tackling their first public show,
Other students can take advantage of discounted equipment rentals
and vocal, brass, string, woodwind and percussion lessons.
"It's just a lot of fun, because I love music as it is, and being
able to play is really cool," Anna said.
Anna's dad, Jim Jordan, said the lessons have done wonders for his
daughter, who hadn't even picked up an instrument until a year ago.
"[Strombeck] started a hidden talent in her," Jordan said. "She
started with electric guitar, and since then, she's tried out the
drum set, the piano and singing. He likes to take kids with an
interest in music and expose them to the whole music world. Now she's
reading and writing music."
Since she began playing, Anna has also performed with the
Performing Arts Guild's in-house rock band, OnStage; has been invited
to one of the program's compilation bands, which features all-stars
from other guild bands; and has hooked up with South Coast Repertory,
her father said.
Word is spreading about the discounted lessons, and students are
beginning to come from Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and from as far as
San Juan Capistrano, Strombeck said.
The Performing Arts Guild of Orange County is at 2931 S. Main St.,
Suite D, in Santa Ana. For more information, visit