Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts (LAAPA) is Greater New Orleans' largest, private music school & dance school. We offer Music Lessons & Dance Classes in Piano, Voice/Singing, Guitar, Violin, Drums, Ballet, Hip Hop, and more for kids, teens, and adults at our academy in Covington, Harahan/River Ridge, Mandeville, and New Orleans, LA.
Are we the right music school or dance studio for you?
Founded in 1978 in River Ridge, LA,our mission over the past 40 years has remained the same - to foster a love of and lifetime success in music, dance, and the performing and creative arts for students of all ages and levels through inspirational and motivational teaching methods. There are many considerations to be made when selecting a music school, dance studio, or a private music instructor. At LAAPA, we proudly offer music lessons for all ages, and in all styles at our campuses in Covington, Mandeville, Harahan/River Ridge and New Orleans, LA. Our River Ridge and Mandeville campuses are located in the New Orleans suburbs of Harahan and Mandeville and additionally offer dance classes and instruction in ballet, hip hop, tumbling, musical theater, and more for children ages (walking - adult). We invite you to compare all programs, features, and options to see why our students and parents can't wait for their weekly lessons at LAAPA!
17 Reasons More Parents and Students Enroll in Music Lessons & Dance Classes with LAAPA
Music Lessons in Piano, Voice, Singing, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello, Drum, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Ukulele, Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Composition, Music Theory, Preschool Music, Choir, Rock Band Classes, Jazz Band Classes & Dance Classes in Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Tumbling, Contemporary/Modern in one location!
We realize that our students and parents are busier today than ever. By offering the widest variety of music & dance lessons in the Greater New Orleans area, multiple family members can take lessons at the same time in different instruments and programs.
The most diverse & inspiring music & dance instructors in New Orleans
We have over 60 faculty members on staff at LAAPA. Our music instructors all hold a Bachelor of Music degree or higher or have equivalent professional experience and our dance instructors hold either a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or have equivalent professional experience. Our faculty members enjoy teaching students at all levels from beginning through advanced. We teach the songs, styles, and steps students are interested in learning! From classical, to rock/pop, jazz, blues, hip-hop, funk, christian, and more. Our teachers are dedicated to learning about your personal goals and helping you to achieve them in a manner that is FUN and ENJOYABLE. In addition to their teaching credentials, our teachers have warm personalities, are extremely friendly and dedicated to teaching!
Large selection of scheduling availabe - 6 days a week
Over 40 years of Excellence in Music and Dance Instruction
Originally founded in 1978, the Academy is now in its 40th year of providing students of all ages with a lifetime appreciation for music, dance, and the performing arts here in the Greater NOLA area. Every year, new studios open only to close a few years later. The Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts is here to stay and has a proven track record of offering only the finest classes in music, piano, guitar, voice, singing, violin, drum, dance, preschool, and more here in Covington, Mandeville, and New Orleans, Louisiana!
Family Friendly, Safe Environment
Safety for our students, parents, faculty, and staff is a top priority for us at LAAPA. Our campuses are all located in commercial, safe and well lighted parts of town. All of our studios and common areas have security cameras installed. Our classrooms additionally feature observation windows. All LAAPA faculty and staff are required to complete state and federal background checks.
Awards - Voted "Best" Music Lessons
Over the years, LAAPA has consistently been voted #1 for "Best Music Lessons" in the local "Best Of" contests in publications such as Northshore Parent Magazine and Sophisticated Woman Magazine.
The most technologically advanced and completely stocked lesson studios in New Orleans
Our piano studios at LAAPA are equipped with Yamaha, Steinway, Kawai, Young Chang, and select American made pianos. Our drum studios are equipped with Yamaha and Roland drum sets, and our guitar studios feature some of the latest amps with built in effects. Mirrors for vocalists are available in each vocal lessons studio, and all of our studios feature iPads with the latest music and dance apps for a thorough and modern approach to education. Our dance studios feature full length mirrors and a custom built maple floating dance floor specially designed to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries. Free Wi-Fi is also available to everyone at Laapa.
Digital Lesson Plans featuring Audio, Video, PDF...
In order to remain at the forefront of music and dance education, we are always seeking out the latest technologies available to students and educators. We have recently implemented LessonMate which is a digital platform for student lesson planning. In addition to text records, our faculty are able to create and share video, audio, PDF documents, links to other resources, etc. each class. Students may access their lessons at anytime via any device. Each time a new lesson is available, students receive an email inviting them to login.
Spacious parent's lounge
With comfortable chairs, free wifi, coffee and bottled water service, our parents and students enjoy their wait in style. Catch some of the latest performances from our students on LAAPA TV or watch your child's lesson through the studio's observation windows. You are also welcome to sit in on the lesson at any time.
Three Convenient School Locations
Covington School of Music
1111 Village Walk Rd - Covington, LA 70433
(next to Anytime Fitness)
Mandeville School of Music & Dance
105 Campbell Ave #3 - Mandeville, LA 70471
(near I-12 off Hwy 59, across from Campbell Cabinets and Roofing)
River Ridge School of Music & Dance
2020 Dickory Ave #200 - Harahan, LA 70123
(located centrally between New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge and right next to the Shimmy Shack).
Regular (Optional) Recitals and Performance Opportunities
At LAAPA, all of our students have the option of performing in a variety of recitals. All of our recitals are held in professional auditoriums and theatres using state of the art audio technology. Immediately after each Spring Recital, we hold an award ceremony to recognize the hard work of each student with various trophy and medal awards. Students are not required to participate, but many choose to. We also hold an annual student festival (LAAPAFEST) with an Honor's/Faculty Recital following the festival.
Friendly, Professional Office Staff ready to assist you
Many music and dance studio desks (if there even is one) are staffed by the teacher and/or possibly even just an answering machine. When you call LAAPA during our telephone hours, you're almost always guaranteed to get a live person on the line immediately, as it is extremely rare for your call to go to voicemail. Additionally, we have a staff of six friendly administrative assistants who are available at the front desk and ready to assist our clients during school hours.
LAAPA's Mandeville Campus offers a 32 track, Pro-Tools based digital recording studio open to students of all campuses for student demos, projects, audition prep, etc. The studio is linked to two large Performance Halls that feature Yamaha C5 and Steinway M grand pianos. Synthesizers on site include the Korg Kronos II (73), Crumar Mojo 61 organ, and Nord Stage 2. Mic closet includes AKG C414 XLS, AT2020, AKG C2000B, and more.
Original Method Books Published by our LAAPA Press Division
We are the only School of Music in New Orleans with it's own publishing press that prints texts and materials developed by our Faculty. Each year, our teachers publish new methods to keep up with current trends in music and education.
Complimentary Weekly Music Theory Classes
Each week, all currently enrolled music students have the option of attending a FREE 45 minute music theory class to further their knowledge in the fundamentals of music. These classes are available at all campuses..
No Semester or Annual Commitments
LAAPA does not require semester or yearly contract minimums for lessons. Newly enrolled students initially commit for just three months and continue on a month to month basis thereafter. If you are ready to start, you have nothing to lose as we only want students who truly want to be here and we will not commit you to a long term contract.
At the heart of music is the piano, and it is no coincidence that the piano is often the first instrument of the beginning music student. Its comprehensive and visual nature within the fundamental realm of music allows for an education that will translate well into any other area of music.
We teach all styles of piano lessons at LAAPA, so whether you're interested in getting started with J.S. Bach or want to learn the latest Alicia Keys piano riff, our piano teachers are ready to get you started on an immediate track to success!
Our piano instructors at LAAPA teach from a variety of piano methods. Unlike other schools, we do not believe that one method fits all students. The most common beginning piano methods that we keep in stock are Faber & Faber, Bastien, and Alfred. For jazz piano students, we recommend, "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine.
Our Academy Press also recently released our debut method for the young beginner titled, "Piano Prodigy Primer A".
While it's wonderful if you have an acoustic piano or have the budget to invest in one, we realize, however, that many times that's not an option our students. All you really need to get started in lessons is an electronic keyboard with at least 61 keys that are full sized and touch sensitive. If the budget allows, a digital piano with weighted keys that simulates the action of a real piano is even better. Be very careful in choosing a used "free" upright piano over a new digital piano. Many times these old uprights have never been maintained as only used as furniture. They will cost you more to repair and sound far worse than a new digital piano. We are more than happy to make instrument recommendations or even help you shop for a piano.
Guitar lessons as well as bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, and dulcimer lessons begin between ages 5-7 at LAAPA and students will have a blast learning songs from their favorite bands and musicians, reading melodies, and constructing chords.
We mention an age range for guitar lessons because younger students with small hands are sometimes uncomfortable with even a 1/2 size guitar. In these instances, we typically recommend getting started with ukulele lessons instead for a year or two and then changing to the guitar as they grow a little more. The ukulele has a smaller fretboard, four strings instead of six, and is more comfortable in the hand for small children. With the physical obstacles removed for the student, they will have a lot more fun in their lessons and everything that they learn will carry over to the guitar when they are ready for the switch.
We realize that students want to learn the guitar for many different reasons and have very different goals. Some students really want to learn how to read music, others are happy with understanding guitar tabalature, others want to focus on playing chords and improvising solos. Our teachers are here to help you meet and exceed your goals!
Our guitar instructors are familiar with all styles of music, so whether you're interested in learning one of Antonio Carlos Jobim's many bossa novas, Van Halen's lead guitar solo from "Eruption", or chords to contemporary christian repertoire from your church, we're ready to help.
Have a favorite new song you found online that you really want to play? Since all of our classrooms are equipped with iPads, the sky is the limit when it comes to learning new songs on your guitar. Instead of trying to learn it on YouTube by yourself, you can to just show your teacher, and he/she will create a customized lesson to help you get started!
Voice lessons, Singing lessons, and Vocal coaching at LAAPA all provide instruction to train, strengthen, and enhance the student's voice.
For students between the ages of 5-12, voice lessons consist of learning fun traditional and popular music while ensuring that the student's developing vocal cords are not overburdened.
For ages 13-up, the vocal cords are fully matured and students develop their full range of singing with a variety of warm ups, etudes, and of course whatever styles of music and songs are of interest!
Even for trained adults, the vocal cords are very delicate instruments. If you keep up with current popular vocalists, many times they need to cancel performances due to the development of "vocal nodes/nodules" which are the result of overuse/stress. When ignored, this can become a serious medical condition; therefore young beginners should especially use care when selecting a vocal instructor. At LAAPA, our vocal instructors are trained professionals and will nurture and develop your natural voice in a healthy manner.
Vocal coaching sessions (ages 13-adult) are available to students who are in need of intensive training and focus in a short period of time for upcoming auditions, theatre/movie roles, etc.
Our violin lessons & cello lessons begin at age 5 and consist of both traditional and Suzuki based methods at our school so that students not only have access to the ease of learning key repetoire courtesy of the Suzuki method but also learn to properly read standard music notation. Instruction in Viola and Doublebass is also available for students ages 10-adult.
If classical violin is not your "cup of tea", we also offer a variety of other styles such as cajun fiddle, celtic/irish, and jazz. Our violin teachers come from literally all over the world, and bring a variety of specialties and expertise to our students, so no matter what style you are interested in, chances are they are familiar with it!
Care must be taken to obtain the correct violin, viola, cello, and/or doublebass size for the student as they are available in various sizes to accomodate the growing child (especially in the case of the violin). Beginning students who do not yet have an instrument and are under the age of 13 are encouraged to contact us to be properly sized for your instrument.
Also, because children tend to grow so quickly, it is usually in your best interest financially to rent an instrument that can be traded in when the time comes rather than to continually purchase a new one. For the convenience of our students and parents, we stock a variety of different sized violins available for rental. We also are pleased to recommend Keller Strings in New Orleans for violin and viola rentals or purchases.
Does your child love to bang around on pots and pans in the house at all hours of the day? Do you constantly have a groove in your head that you feel the need to physically communicate?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then our drum lessons and instruction here at Laapa may be right for you or your child!
All of our classrooms at LAAPA are equipped with high end Roland, Yamaha, and Pearl drumsets for the best feeling and entertaining lesson experience. Our drum students also receive supplemental training via specialized rhythm apps on our drum studio iPads!
It's very easy to begin drum lessons! Students may start their instruction with either a single snare drum or (during the first few weeks) even a drum practice pad.
We are also happy to help our students locate an affordable drumset for home practice (as well any instrument really) - just ask!
Our dance classes in Mandeville and River Ridge provide students of all ages with dance lessons in ballet, hip-hop, musical theater, tap, tumbling, modern/lyrical, toddler dance classes, and more.
Our dance classes at LAAPA are strictly focused on education. New students do not need to worry about "auditioning" for our programs. We accept students at all levels and ensure that each student is placed in a comfortable class environment. In this way our students are able to properly experience the true joy of learning to dance.
Our dance classes are also smaller than the typical dance school as we limit each class to a maximum of 12 students. This ensures that our students receive the best possible attention from our dance instructors which allows for faster progress.
We are also happy to work privately with couples preparing for special events. Let our instructors ensure that you look your best on the dance floor!
Our internationally recognized preschool music curriculum for toddlers focuses on the development of the whole child.
Each class will feature engaging activities such as singing, creative movement, instrument and object exploration, storytelling, and more.
In addition to a variety of percussion instruments such as shakers, bells, and small drums, teachers on occasion open up the class to explore the piano, violin, and ukulele.
These early childhood music classes help to develop the self confidence, spatial awareness, and communication skills of the student and additionally provide a solid introduction and foundation to the world of music in preparation for private lessons (beginning at age 5) in any musical instrument.
Instruction in the flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, horn, tuba, baritone, and more typically begins between the ages of 8-10 depending on the physical requirements of each instrument.
When selecting a brass/woodwind instrument, students should consider not only his/her interest, but also his/her physical size. Instruments such as the trombone require a long enough arm to reach all the way out to 7th position. Instruments such as tenor sax, baritone sax, and tuba are fairly heavy! Researching instruments on YouTube is a great way to see and listen to various instruments of the brass, woodwind, and percussion families to help you choose the best one for you.
Also, students who have previously taken lessons in piano, guitar, violin, voice, etc will find that much of their knowledge will transfer! Brand new beginning music students will be quite comfortable with the well presented lesson plans of method books such as "Essential Elements", "Arban", and more.
A brief history of LAAPA's music and dance program:
In the late seventies, the beginnings of LAAPA were established as a private piano studio within the River Ridge home of Director Emeritus, Wanda Cullen (on Walter Road). As interest grew over the years, the original school expanded and relocated three times in the Jefferson Parish area (bouncing back and forth between River Ridge and Harahan) and is now located on Dickory Avenue in the heart of Harahan, LA. The River Ridge campus is now centrally located between Destrehan, Metairie, and Kenner, LA. Our music instructors from the River Ridge campus also teach private music lessons at Stuart Hall School for Boys located on Carrolton Ave in New Orleans. In 1993, our first music school was established on the northshore in Mandeville, LA (right off of the Causeway) and our Covington, LA campus opened its doors in one office at the Greater Covington Center in 2008. Our northshore schools have also done their fair share of expansions and relocations. In 2014, our Covington campus moved into it's present Village Walk location with 9 sound proofed teaching studios. In October, 2017, our Mandeville campus relocated from the Old Mandeville area (where it operated from 2004-2017) into a beautiful, new 4,000 square foot studio on Campbell Ave near I-12 at Hwy 59. Our northshore music teachers also provide instruction at Kehoe France Northshore Elementary School in Covington. Over the years our schools have brought music and dance into the lives of students and families throughout the communities of Destrehan, Harahan, River Ridge, Kenner, Lakeview, Uptown, Laplace, Waggaman, Gretna, Luling, Hammond, Slidell, Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, and Folsom, LA. With hundreds of thousands of music and dance lessons taught to over 10,000 families over the past 40 years, LAAPA is the largest and most trusted, private music and dance school in the Greater New Orleans, Louisiana area.