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Gasworks Arts Centre clay modelling
Photograph: Supplied/Gasworks Arts CentreGasworks Arts Centre clay modelling

Learn something new at these seven short courses and workshops

Get in touch with your arty, musical and adventurous sides, south of the city

By Time Out in association with City of Port Phillip

Anyone who’s attended a Zoom cooking or craft class in the last year will know that while they helped us through a tough time, they don’t hold a candle to getting together in the real world with real people. Fostering friendships, classroom chatter and face-to-face time with teachers is what can take a new hobby into a passion. Get out from under the doona this winter and learn something new with these seven fun and friendly short courses that will teach you to... 

If you’ve ever dreamed of navigating the high seas with salt in your hair and the breeze at your back, now you can test the waters via sailing lessons with the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. Setting sail from St Kilda, they offer a range of nationally recognised courses that will show you the ropes (literally) when it comes to crewing or helming a yacht. Newbies will get started on the basics of sailing a small boat, boat handling, safety and sail theory before learning to helm, skipper and eventually race.

Where: Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, Pier Rd, St Kilda
How much: $298-$340

The djembe is one of West Africa’s best-known instruments, providing endlessly versatile percussion to songs for the last 800 years. The goblet-shaped drum is played with bare hands, and is known for being easy to learn but difficult to master. If you’re interested in learning, African Drumming runs six-week community classes open to everyone, covering a full West African rhythmic arrangement from supporting parts to solos, breaks and calls. You’ll steadily build technique and dexterity, and learn rhythms from traditional djembe nations Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal. If you want to feel even more connected to your instrument, you can even build your own at this two-day workshop where you’ll sand, oil, wrap and rope the djembe of your dreams.

Where: African Drumming, 252 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda
How much: From $27


For a fun, relaxing afternoon look no further than this easygoing macrame workshop. You’ll only have to invest two hours of your time to learn the basics of this delicate knot-based craft. Snack on tea and bikkies as you’re guided through the process of making a pretty plant hanger – perfect as an addition to the home or a gift for a green-thumbed friend. The workshops are held at St Kilda Artworks Collective so you’ll get to see the work of other Melbourne artists and makers on the day, while a macrame workbook will ensure you get plenty of practice back home.

Where: St Kilda Artworks Collective, 63 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
How much: $65-$70

Switch up your next night out with pals by booking a boozy cocktail masterclass at cosy bar St Luja. The class accommodates groups from 10 to 60 people, and everyone’s greeted with a glass of bubbly and antipasti plates to enjoy as you learn the steps to making two delicious cocktails. There’ll be a dash of spirit history for the knowledge buffs, and plenty more of liqueurs, botanicals, fruits and aromatics. Fun and frivolous, it’s a great way to start the evening – bonus points if you remember your learnings the next morning.

Where: St Luja, 9 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
How much: $48


Flex your artistic muscles at a no-commitment, casual life drawing session at Elwood Neighbourhood Learning Centre each Thursday night. These untutored sessions have been running for over 25 years, with a budding group of artists from all levels dropping by each week to practise. All you have to do is show up with your own paper and drawing materials, and from there it’s a self-instructed journey of sketching and creative flow as you explore artistic expression as guided by the human body.

Where: Elwood Neighbourhood Learning Centre, 85-87 Tennyson St, Elwood
How much: $20

Unwind from the day with soothing clay classes at Gasworks Arts Centre. It’s all about handbuilding here, making these workshops ideal for beginners not yet ready to wrangle with wheelwork (read: masses of clay spinning out of control). Instead you’ll learn lo-fi techniques including pinch pots, slab work, decorating and glazing that you can take at your own pace under the guidance of ceramic artist Ursula Dutkiewicz. At the end of the class your work will be fired and ready to take home.

Where: Gasworks Arts Centre, 21 Graham St, Albert Park
How much: $380/term


Take your workout regime to new heights by learning aerial skills you might never have thought you were capable of. TrainStation Dance & Fitness’s eight-week courses are designed to teach beginners safe and strong progressions on your chosen apparatus whether that’s aerial hoop, silks, sling or pole. In a super-supportive environment, you’ll be flying high performing tricks and transitions in no time at all. One-off introductory trial classes are also available to give you a taste of what’s to come before committing to a term.

Where: TrainStation Dance and Fitness, 250 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda
How much: Trial class $125, course $118.75-$275.50

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