Now a music academy for rock lovers
Half Rest Academy, Juhu (Indoors)
Who hasn't been to a rock show and secretly fantasised about playing the drums? Well, for the longest time, I have.
Half Rest Academy - named so because half rest is a term in music, which means a pause or an interval equivalent to a half note - is the latest addition to the city's music scene. The idea behind the academy is to make music accessible to everyone. It does not matter how old you are; you can still hone the musician in you. The spanking new venue that opened on November 1 is the result of joining two apartments in Juhu to create an acoustically optimised space.
My 12-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son and I walk into the reception to see walls with music note motifs and cleverly disguised storage space that looks like giant keyboards. We are led by co-founder Mansi Mehta and Menino Noel Mendes into the vocal room. Mendes, aka Mendes Sir, who teaches western classical singing at Jamnabai Narsee School, has all three of us bellowing quite confidently within five minutes. We have no idea what it is - perhaps the way the room has been padded, or Mendes' beautiful voice or his elegant strumming of the guitar - but we actually sound cool. The sessions at Half Rest Academy are a blend of theory and hands-on lessons, and one can choose to learn classical, rock and pop vocals here.
We head to the guitar room and spot guitars strung on all four walls. Did you know there are several varieties of acoustic, electric and electro-acoustic guitars in the world? Of course, we didn't, because all we have done until now is play air-guitar. And then, we sit with Rustom Sir, who is determined to not only get our posture right, but also get us to play the guitar in a few minutes.
Suddenly, one of the most popular and versatile instruments doesn't seem so easy to play even though the faculty member strums effortlessly. I escape to the keyboard room and again, I find a range of keyboards gleaming on tabletops. Keyboards are considered the foundation for learning any musical instrument, which is why they are called the perfect first instrument for both kids and adults. One can enrol for a casual weekly session here, or sign up to prep for the Rock and Pop syllabus of the Trinity College London.
But I'm dying to look at the drum room. We walk in to find celebrity drummer Cassy Lobo plugged in to the electronic drum set, doing what he does best. Lobo, who has been teaching at various places, shot to fame when he played the drums for the Colonial Cousins, Silk Route and Rabbi Shergill. So how does one sit on the drums when your teacher has been ruling the music scenario for years? Awkwardly. But Lobo deftly gets us to use the drumsticks, along with the pedals, and it is such a high.
Mehta has brought together some of Mumbai's finest music teachers under one roof. The academy hopes to add more to its repertoire. We love the sound of this.
Where: 301-302 Sagarika Building, Juhu Tara Road, Andheri West.
Best for: Girls and boys, three years and above.
How to reach: We took an auto. But you can get off at Vile Parle or Andheri station and ask for Juhu Shiv Sagar. The venue is next door.
Timings: 9 am to 7.30 pm (Monday to Friday). On Saturdays, one-on-one sessions can also be booked from 2 pm onwards.
Budget: Depends on what you pick. Trial sessions are free.
Food: Not available, but plenty of options in the neighbourhood.
Rest Room facilities: Yes.
Where else to go: Juhu beach is 15 minutes away. Play Around and Funky Monkey are nearby options for indoor activities.
Parent Poll: Finally a place where parents can learn music with their kids.
Kids' Poll: I can play the guitar!
What's Good: Excellent faculty and range of instruments
What's Not So Good: We missed Indian instruments