What is Bantam Studios?



Founded in 2012, Bantam Studios is a school that provides lessons and performance opportunities for adult beginner and amateur students. Home of "booze lessons", the school offers classes in violin, cello, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, electric bass and ensembles at any skill level, focusing on adults who are learning how to play for the first time. Bantam Studios is dedicated to providing access to those who might feel they've missed out on learning how to play an instrument and aims to create an environment for fun and easy learning for those who might find this type of class intimidating.


The students who take classes at Bantam Studios represent the entire range of individuals who live in all five boroughs of New York City, New Jersey and Long Island. Since 2012 over 2,500 students have taken lessons at Bantam Studios, many of which are having first-time experiences taking lessons on an instrument. Over the years, the Bantam Studios community has grown and has established itself as a group of curious, adventurous, hilarious, open-minded and hardworking individuals who are eager to have the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument in a group setting while having a few drinks. (Drinking is not required). 

Today, our semesters hover around 300-350 students who come to us after a full day of their busy lives many of which include working in tech, finance, architecture, art, non-profits, education, fashion, food, health, raising families, walking dogs, being a student, fighting for social causes, and so much more. For many students class-time is a time that is set aside for an individual to focus on self-care and self-interests and we work really hard to make sure that this valuable time is worthwhile and meaningful.


Classes are designed to fit the schedules of busy New Yorkers and meet once-a-week per 8-week session. Each one-hour session is a dense lesson that covers techniques repertoire, history and exercises to help students move through the curriculum on their course-track. Classes have a "social atmosphere" with beer and wine options available at every class. Students have log-in access to weekly recaps that contain recordings, links, videos and summaries that detail what was covered in class. These recaps can be used as a practice guide and as a supplement if a student has to miss class. At the end of every semester our students get together and perform in a recital to share what they learned with the rest of the program, their friends, and family. 


Since 2012 we have been evolving our curriculum to best fit the needs of our students, understanding that everyone learns differently and might have a different end goal. Be sure to read our course descriptions in our Program Information section so that you can see what materials might be covered during classes and if the program is a good fit for you. All Bantam Studios teachers have been trained to address a wide spectrum of learning styles and physical limitation with repetition and building on concepts week after week. Generally, we feel that anyone can get something out of our program but it does require the student to be aware of how they learn best.


Bantam Studios was created by Ginger Dolden and Pete Lanctot in 2012 to address the growing needs from their adult private students and to provide the opportunity to many of the people in their community who always "wished they could learn". Today the program is run by four main teachers: Ginger Dolden, Pete Lanctot, Rick Snell, and Caleigh Drane. Other teachers who have taught speciality classes and workshops include: Adam Brisbin, Katie Von Schleicher, and Ben Goldberg. Bantam Studios teachers are all actively working musicians who perform and tour on a regular basis.

Classes are held Monday-Thursdays at The Brooklyn Music School located behind BAM.


Please visit the FAQ page for more frequently asked questions about the program.