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Enhancing and Encouraging the Arts

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Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2016 6:00 am

Working to inspire, motivate and create young artists, AAM Academies—ran by Pegie Brandt—gives students the opportunity to hone in on their artistic passions. The instructors at AAM Academies in Lake Arrowhead work closely with their students to help enhance their passion, and guide them down the right path.

AAM Academies’ mission is to provide a full service of instruction relating to arts and music in the Inland Empire. Brandt is able to provide this service to more students than she thought was possible.

The program is geared toward charter school children, but accepts private students as well. AAM Academies has a full program of specialties including the visual arts, music and theater. Students can take advantage of instructional classes relating to sketching, painting, sculpting, piano, voice, guitar, bass, brass and other string instruments and improvisation, drama and theater.

“Here our students can focus on more than one thing if they want,” Brandt said. “Our students reach success when they leave here.”

The advantage at AAM Academies is the one on one instruction that students are given. Though there are group classes, the individual instruction students receive better prepares them for their music outside of AAM Academies, Brandt says.

Being vendor-approved through charter schools gives AAM Academies the opportunity to reach out to more students. Currently Brandt says that charter schools are about 85 percent of their business, and is working with about nine schools right now. Some of these schools include Sage Oak Charter, Gorman Learning Center, River Springs, Sky Mountain Charter and more.

As a way to expand the business model of AAM Academies, Brandt has brought in retail. The retail includes music books, guitar strings, guitar picks and more.

“No one else carries these things up here,” Brandt says. There are also instruments that can be rented or purchased by students.

The team at AAM Academies is made up of Brandt, and eight other instructors. Andre Myers—who teaches in Lake Arrowhead and Redlands—teaches vocals, piano and music theory. Music theory can be complex, but as explained by Myers “if music is a car that is moving from one place to another, music theory is what is under the hood.”

Aside from Myers there is also April Naim, a Lake Arrowhead instructor who teaches piano, vocals and guitar. Lake Arrowhead instructor Corinne Jaqt teaches art and little mozarts; Jacob Marizez is a Redlands instructor and teaches guitar and drums; Kelly Iliff teaches theater in Lake Arrowhead and Redlands; Nikki Patterson teaches fashion design and sewing in Redlands; Ara Tokatlian teaches the saxophone in both locations and Steven Rubio teaches the drums in Lake Arrowhead.

“All of this is due to all of our instructors,” Brandt said. “Without them I would not be able to be in business.”

Other than the classes held at AAM Academies, Brandt also hosts Art & Wine for adults on the first Friday of every month. Brandt asks that those who are interested RSVP prior to attending. To reserve a space for Art & Wine, call (909) 485-1638.

Brandt runs a summer special for all of her students that sign up for 24 weeks of classes, and attend all of the weeks.

“If they attend all 24 weeks, they get four free group sessions in the summer,” Brandt says and, in addition to the summer special, “if you mention this Mountain News article at AAM Academies, you will receive one lesson for half price between Dec. 15 to Jan. 15.”

AAM Academies will be having a winter recital on Dec. 18 at the Saddleback Inn from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will perform, and artists will have two pieces of their work showing in the front of the venue.

“We want to encourage our students independence and confidence,” Brandt says. “At AAM Academies we teach confidence, coordination and creativity.”

AAM Academies is located at 280 State Hwy 173, in the shops at Saddleback Inn. For more information call (909) 485-1638 or visit http://www.aamacademies.com/. It also has a location in Redlands.

“Music is a matter of understanding,” Myer’s said. “It is not just a movement, but embodying the music as well.”

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