Free Compliments of our Advertisers
Sonoma County Gazette
Music to my Ears

Give the Gift of Inspiration

Nov 27, 2017


By Aleta Parseghian

The holidays are all about gift giving, right? Buy every family member and friend something they may or may not need as a way to show them that you love them. Make sure there aren’t any empty spaces under the tree. Fill that stocking to the brim. Get your kids every single toy on their wish list. You’ll make room for it all somehow.

6th Street - Lion King Experience PHOTO © Eric ChazankinSeems a little overkill, right? Yet that’s how most of us operate during the holidays. American consumerism has been so heavily promoted that we’ve forgotten that there are other ways to celebrate the holidays and spoil our loved ones.

As a mother of two with limited space in my home and a limited budget, buying my kids dozens of gifts every Christmas is unrealistic. I have reached a point where we are now introducing a “no gift” policy for holidays and birthdays. And guess what? It works! For my daughter’s 11th birthday, I asked all her guests not to buy her gifts, but they could give her cash or gift cards if they chose to. She walked away with $250 in cash and $100 in gift cards and was SO much happier than if she’s gotten loads of toys she wasn’t interested in. She used the money to buy clothes and school supplies, and put the rest in her savings account.

The Movement LabWhile this is an easy concept to adopt for an older child, my 3-year-old might not be so receptive to the concept. But what she WOULD love is the gift of new experiences. She’s an active child who loves to learn and play. So this Christmas we are thinking about dance classes.

Providing young children with a fun activity that they can learn from, and possibly become passionate about, has far more long-term benefits than a toy that they’ll be bored with after a year.

With this in mind, here’s a list of local businesses that provide classes in dance, music, theater, and gymnastics for kids of all ages. I would encourage you to look into these as an alternative to the traditional holiday gift giving.


The Dance Center
56 W. Sixth St, Santa Rosa

We offer a comprehensive dance program in six styles of dance: jazz, tap, ballet, modern, hip hop, and musical theater. Our highly experienced and caring teachers provide a positive learning environment for every student, at every age, and at every level of experience.

Footloose Dance Center
5681 Redwood Dr, Rohnert Park

Offering ongoing classes for ages 6+ in tap, flamenco, salsa, zumba, hip-hop, belly dancing, gyrokenesis, and cabaret jazz. New students accepted at any time!

Healdsburg Ballet
311 Monte Vista Ave, Healdsburg

Our program serves students from their first encounter with music and movement to their emergence as young dancers. The curriculum is carefully designed to introduce correct technique and instruction at the appropriate age and physical development of the student.

The Movement Lab
986 Airway Ct, Ste C1, Santa Rosa

Expect a warm and friendly environment where everyone is treated with respect. Youth and adult classes in ballet, jazz, breaking, hip-hop and modern.

New World Ballet
905 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa

We have a wide variety of classes available for kids and adults. We are offering classes ranging from Classical Ballet to Contemporary Ballet, Hip-Hop to Multi Cultural Classes.

Nordquist’s Dance

Classes meet weekly on Tuesday nights October ~ March at the Santa Rosa Vets Building, 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa. Provides a safe and comfortable environment where junior high and high school students learn so much more than just American Style social ballroom dancing. These classes build the student′s confidence and blend in a balance of social behavior, manners and dress for special occasions.

Sebastopol Ballet School
964 Gravenstein Hwy S Sebastopol

We provide classical ballet training for students 3 and up in a supportive and encouraging environment. With educational and fun technique classes, as well as multiple performances all year. One of the most respected dance studios in Sonoma County.

Sonoma Conservatory of Dance
561 Broadway, Ste B, Sonoma

Under the Artistic Direction of Ms. Patricia O’Reilly, SCD offers the very highest quality classical ballet and dance instruction to youth and adults. Financial Aid is available for families in need.

Windsor Dance Academy
5455 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa

Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical Ballet, and Acrobatics for kids of all ages. Includes monthly “mommy and me” classes, group dance lessons for ages 3-14, and teen/adult classes.


6th Street Playhouse
52 W 6th Street, Santa Rosa
707-523-4185 ext.122

Our youth classes are designed to foster an interest in the theatre arts among young participants. We aim to allow these little voices to sound big in our world, to deepen connections between family members and communities, and to provide tools for self-expression.

Cinnabar Theater’s Young Prep
3333 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma

Check out the Young Rep section on our website, featuring everything you need to know for all of our camps, classes, auditions, shows, scholarships, teachers, and more.

A Theater for Children

Quality, affordable live entertainment for the community, as well as after school theater programs that provide theater experiences for children to promote character and community. No cost for participants. Shows are at various locations, so subscribe to our mailing list and visit our website for show locations. We’re always looking for volunteers!


Art & Soul Music School
4861 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa
9064 Brooks Rd. South, Windsor
707-575 6858

Offering private and group lessons in a large variety of instruments, beginning with Music Fun Time for children as young as 18 months. Two convenient locations in Santa Rosa and Windsor, in addition to after-school music programs and many local schools.

Cannon School of Music
17109 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma

Our mission is to not just teach the notes on the page, but also encourage the process of exploring, creating and improvising in the language called music.

Cheryl Teach Music
4910 Sonoma Hwy, Ste. C, Santa Rosa

A Santa Rosa music lesson school in Sonoma County, a joyful, peaceful, safe, music learning sanctuary where music lessons, all instruments, drums, voice, and learning music, are as much fun as they are educational.

Music to my Ears
8500 Gravenstein Hwy, Suite A, Cotati

Sonoma County’s new music education center; offering private lessons in voice and a wide variety of instruments. Music to My Ears has an extensive staff of instructors who teach different instruments to all ages.

People’s Music
122 N Main St. Sebastopol
Professional musicians who teach music to people of all ages. Rental instruments available. We offer onsite lessons for all levels, and most instruments.

Soco Music Coalition
4775 Sonoma Highway, Santa Rosa

We are a group of experienced musicians, teachers, and business professionals who wish to provide kids with the opportunity to learn to play music.

Sonoma County Children’s Music
867 Third Street, Santa Rosa

Early childhood curricula, Kindermusik, grows with the child from infancy to elementary school. For older children, we offer group and private instrument lessons in string, keyboard and wind instruments.

Stanroy Music Center
850 4th St, Santa Rosa

We have eleven spacious studios and over fifteen working, professional teachers providing hundreds of private lessons each week on a multitude of different instruments.


Login to Make a Comment

Please support our sponsors:

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center - True West

May 17*, 18, 19, 25, 6 @ 7:30pm
May 20 & 27 @ 2pm
Tickets: 707-894-3222
TICKETS *Pay-what-you-can preview on May 17 at 7:30 pm

BeeKind of Sebastopol
Bike Logo

Call 855-483-3732 to find out about Folding, Cargo & BionX Bikes. Perfect for a SMART Train Ride!

Flower Shops and Florists of Sonoma County

Please support locally-owned businesses and tell them the Gazette sent you - THANK YOU!

Locally-Owned Jewelry Businesses in Sonoma County

Find Goldsmiths and Jewelers who create custom designs, offer jewelry repair, estate appraisals, and gems.

Fine Tree Care - Sonoma County Tree Services

Please use the Gazette's Guide to find LOCALLY-OWNED Garden Businesses to support Sonoma County's environmental and economic health and vitality.