Pasadena may be most famous for the Rose Parade, Caltech and JPL, but it’s also world-renowned for its incredible array of musical entertainment choices.
Aside from being the home of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, the California Philharmonic (CalPhil) Orchestra, and the Grammy-winning Pasadena Chamber Orchestra, in addition to Muse/IQUE, the Levitt Pavilion and the hugely popular Make Music Pasadena festival, it also boasts one of the world’s most in-demand concert venues, the Rose Bowl.
Beyonce and Coldplay played the storied stadium in 2016, and this year the bowl is going to feature concerts by U2 and Justin Bieber. But amid all that hoopla, the city’s bevy of fine musical schools is often overlooked. In fact, there are 10 in the Crown City and the surrounding area, providing a literal Top 10 list for anyone wishing to enhance their musical education.
Following in alphabetical order is a little bit of information on each school.
Altadena Academy of Music: Whether your interest is pop, classical, jazz or rock, Altadena Academy of Music is an excellent choice for beginning- through advanced -level students. Offering fun and engaging music lessons for kids and adults of all levels in voice, piano, guitar, drums and a variety of other instruments, they even provide free introductory lessons for prospective students.
2235 N. Lake Ave., Suite 207, Altadena. Call (626) 296-0799 or visit altadenamusicacademy.com.
California College of Music: CCM is a forward-thinking music college that accepts students from all over the world. Founded in 1999, it first blossomed under the supervision of legendary trombonist Wayne Henderson and Grammy-winning producer Reggie Dozier, who outfitted the campus with a world-class recording studio. CCM is known for its distinguished faculty of experienced music industry professionals.
42 S. Catalina Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 577-1751 or visit ccmcollege.com.
Los Angeles College of Music: LACM provides bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and diploma programs in Music Performance, Music Production and Songwriting. It also stands out for offering programs in Composing for Visual Media and Music Business. The college offers a significant number of real world playing situations with professional musicians, making it one of the top music schools.
300 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 568-8850 or visit lacm.edu.
Modern Music School: MMS takes a boldly different approach than most music schools by focusing on modern music and teaching via band and performance-based music lessons. Its faculty believes that learning to play live in a band is the most effective and fun way to learn an instrument.
2982 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 578-9242 or visit mms-us.com.
Pasadena Conservatory of Music: PCM has been on the scene for over 30 years, not only offering children and adults solid education but providing them with the opportunity to perform in four different concert series. A particular standout is the Mansions & Music series, which features concerts in private homes throughout Pasadena.
100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 683-3355 or visit pasadenaconservatory.org.
Pasadena Piano Academy: The Academy has a laser-focus on providing fundamental piano and music education. The school accepts students of all ages while providing different age group classes and private piano lessons. Its faculty also believes music education, specifically piano, is uniquely different than any other curriculums for students in any age.
44 W. Bellevue Drive, Suite No. 3, Pasadena. Call (626)657-8718 or visit pasadenapianoacademy.com.
Pasadena Suzuki Music Program: An inclusive community of students, teachers and supporters, Suzuki embraces the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki by fostering the musical and personal growth of children of all abilities. With a focus on developing sensitivity, discipline and endurance, the program was founded in the 1960s by Elizabeth and Harlow Mills and is one of the oldest Suzuki programs on the West Coast.
690 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 568-3826 or visit pasadenasuzuki.org.
Pascale Music Institute: PMI teaches aspiring musicians as young as 3 to play the violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar and piano. Students here are taught using the innovative Pascale Method, a systematic approach that sets young children up for success from the beginning with detailed directions, fun exercises, and a reward system that motivates students to master skills quickly and correctly.
1401 Mission St., No. 104, South Pasadena. Call (626) 403-4611 or visit pascalemusic.com.
School of Rock Pasadena: The School of Rock gives students of all ages the chance to learn how to strum, drum, play or sing their way to rock stardom. They’ll teach students how to play both in a band and as an amazing solo act in a performance-based approach in a team-based environment.
1240 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 508-1818 or visit schoolofrock.com/pasadena.
South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory: SPMC has plenty of space to accommodate those wanting to learn how to tickle the ivories. Along with 11 teaching studios, they also have a drum studio with two acoustic drum sets — one for the teacher, the other for the student. Then add in a 2500-square foot performance and rehearsal space with a baby grand Kawai piano, Tama drum set, professional 16-channel PA system, Ampeg and other guitar amplifiers and an Ampeg/Galien Kruger bass rig.
1509 Mission St., South Pasadena. Call (626) 403-2300 or visit southpasadenamusic.com.