Adult classes in NYC: Rock, pop and hip-hop classes

Channel your inner rock god or superstar spinner with adult classes in guitar or professional DJ skills.
NYC Guitar School
Photograph: Samoa Jodha NYC Guitar School
By Lisa Ritchie |

Maybe you dream of playing the best downtown rock clubs or manning the DJ booth at the best parties in New York. Get into the groove with these cool adult classes, or pick up some tips for how to add your name to our list of the greatest NYC hip-hop artists.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of adult classes in NYC

First, bone up on the roots of myriad musical styles at The New School ( and its 15-week online course “Night Fever: Music and Culture in the 1970s” (Aug 26–Dec 16; $650). Pianist and prof Sonya Mason takes a genre-crossing look at the decade, putting hip-hop, heavy metal, disco and glam rock, among others, into a cultural context.

So you wanna be a rock & roll star? All of the instructors at the New York City Guitar School (251 W 30th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 11th floor; 646-485-7244,, launched by guitarist Dan Emery in 2006, hold music degrees and are rigorously vetted. If you’ve never picked up an ax, start with Guitar I: Guitar for Absolute Beginners (classes start daily, ten weekly one-hour sessions, $319), which teaches you basic chords, strumming and how to read tablature, among other skills. Once you’ve progressed to advanced beginner stage (the school’s Guitar V), you’re qualified for a range of electives. In Classic Rock 101 (classes start Sept 17, 28; ten weekly one-hour sessions, $319), cover-band and Broadway shredder Vincent DeMasi will help you tackle such anthems as “Stairway to Heaven.” Or you might want to join a seven-week Rock Band Class ($419–$489) run by Berklee College of Music grad Jaime Garamella, who assembles groups of four to five people according to musical interests and schedules. Weekly rehearsals start September 14 and culminate in a show at a Lower East Side venue. Sign up as early as possible for these popular classes.

Aspiring spinners can get an intro to beat-matching and mixing with Dubspot’s two-night DJ Weekend Intensive (348 W 14th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves; 212-242-2100,; classes every two weeks Sat, Sun 7:15–10:15pm; see website for dates; $195). You’ll learn about equipment, how to set it up and the fundamentals of old-school turntablism, plus get an introduction to digital program Serato Scratch Live. By the end of Sunday’s session, if you decide you want to take it further, you can deduct the workshop fee from the cost of the 24-session DJ Extensive Program.

You have the talent as a hip-hop artist or producer, but how can you promote yourself effectively? Growing education company the Phat Startup (—launched by Anthony Frasier, cofounder of online gaming magazine the Koalition, and former music promoter James Lopez—hosts a series of talks with entrepreneurs, who offer insights on topics such as funding, branding and exploiting new media. The three-hour events include pretalk networking, a lecture and a Q&A. Past speakers have included DJ Mick Boogie and Chris “Broadway” Romero, who cofounded hip-hop culture site with 50 Cent. On September 20, “Bridging the Gap Between Tech and Hip Hop with Devo Springsteen” ($15–$20) will bring tips on how to make it in the digital age from the Grammy Award–winning producer and songwriter.