While there are now many music schools and dance schools in the River Ridge, Harahan, Jefferson, and Greater New Orleans area, the River Ridge School of Music & Dance is the city's largest and most established with over 40 years in the area. We don't think we're the best because we're the biggest, rather we think we're the biggest BECAUSE we're the best! We are the only performing arts school in River Ridge to offer the most complete variety of music and dance classes - see our program highlights and a complete listing below.
Music is a language like no other. It communicates emotion and feeling wherever words may fail. Our patient and fun university trained music instructors have a true passion for education. Whatever your stylistic interests or background may be, they are ready to help you develop a lifetime love of music and the performing arts.
Watch a Music Lesson below with Academy Director, Ryan Cullen and Mrs. Katarina, piano/voice instructor, as they discuss the Ups and Downs of you or your child's first year in Music Lessons.
LAAPA Academy Director, Ryan Cullen, interviews Mrs. Katarina - piano/voice faculty at the River Ridge School of Music and Dance regarding her experience with helping piano and voice students to maximize their productivity during practice sessions. Parents and students who are brand new beginners to music lessons will especially appreciate tips on setting expectations, how much to practice, how interest levels may fluctuate, building motivation, and creating fun exercises during your home practice sessions. Learn more about getting started in music lessons here.
Piano Lessons in River Ridge for children and adults
The most common first instrument that children may come across is the piano. Keyboards and even acoustic pianos have become more affordable than ever, and they are an excellent way for families to experience the joy of music in their home. As our school was founded first and foremost with piano lessons in mind, we have a vast knowledge of piano methods - what works and what doesn't work at various ages. Two of our piano instructors have actually written their own method entitled, "LAAPA Piano Prodigy" which we have published through our LAAPA Press. The inaugural, primer edition was written specifically with the young beginner in mind and features fun graphics, games, and inspiring melodies. You can learn more and browse the book at our Front Desk.
Watch a Piano Lesson below on "Understanding Chord Progressions" with Ms. Kadi - instructor of piano.
Ms. Kadi, instructor of piano and voice at LAAPA discusses the basics of chord progressions at the piano. Chord progressions are the order and time in which harmonic structures move. In this video you'll learn all of the chords/triads in the key of C major. After watching, see if you can play the chords in a variety of different orders to create your own progression and song!. Learn more about piano lessons at our River Ridge campus here.
Voice Lessons in River Ridge for ages 5-adult
Perhaps you know someone in your family that literally cannot stop singing? They constantly have music in their heads that must be shared at all times! Our vocal instructors work with many students like this and would welcome the opportunity to share their years of experience with you! Our vocal instructors are able to teach students in a variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues, opera, broadway/musical theater and more. Just need a few lessons for an audition or other event prep? We also offer vocal coaching sessions!
Guitar lessons mean different things to different people. Some of our students want to learn the basics from the very beginning including how to hold the guitar, strumming and fretting their first chords, and reading standard and tab notation. Our guitar teachers are able to recommend many excellent method books to help achieve this! Other students may not be as interested in reading music and more interested in transcibing guitar solos from their favorite bands. We're ready to help no matter where your interests and goals lie!
Whether you're looking into dance classes for your toddler, interested in ballet, hip hop, or tumbling classes for your child, tween, or teen, or interested in our adult dance workshops and classes, you've come to the right place! Our dance instructors enjoy working with students of all ages and structure each class with strength building, dance history and terminolgy, fundamental choreography, and improvisation (sometimes it's fun to just let loose and dance right?!).
Watch a dance class below (compliments of our Lagniappe Lesson series) with Mrs. Mary, chair of the dance department, as she demonstrates "Plie Warmups" - a fundamental and essential ballet technique.
How do we choose our River Ridge Music Instructors and Dance Teachers?
All of LAAPA’s faculty members have a minimum of a university degree in music with many holding master and doctoral degrees. Instructors are chosen not only for their qualifications, but for their ability inspire and motivate the students.
Our complete list of music & dance programs available in River Ridge:
A Brief History of the River Ridge School of Music & Dance
The beginnings of the River Ridge School of Music & Dance came to be in the late 1970’s when Assistant Director, Director Emeritus, and Founder Wanda Cullen began teaching piano lessons in the back of her River Ridge home in 1968 (DBA Wanda Cullen, School of Music). In 1982 she hired a second piano instructor (Associate Director, Russell Tucker), and then a third, etc. In the school's early days, piano lessons in the River Ridge area were the only programs offered. Word of the piano lessons spread quickly, and Wanda moved her school to its first commercial location known as “River Ridge Music School” on Jefferson Highway above the Village Inn Restaurant. At that time additional programs such as violin, guitar, voice, as well as brass/woodwinds began to be offered at the school. As growth continued and space increasingly became tight, the school moved two other times including to Jefferson Highway behind St. Matthew the Apostle School in River Ridge. The school moved to its present 4,000 square foot location on Dickory Ave. in early 2010 and now provides music lessons and dance classes to hundreds of students and families each week.
River Ridge School of Music & Dance
2020 Dickory Ave. #200
Harahan, LA 70123 504.738.3050 (office) (E-mail this School)
Take a virtual tour of our River Ridge, LA campus below!
Academy Hours of Operation:
With the exception of school holidays, concert days, and other special events, the following regular schedule applies to all campuses:
Monday - Thursday
Telephone Hours 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
School Office/Class Hours 1:00-9:00 PM
Telephone Hours 8:00 AM - 7:30 PM
School Office/Class Hours 1:00 PM-7:00 PM
Telephone Hours 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
School Office/Class Hours 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Please note that during holiday breaks, the office will be open on a limited schedule between 9 AM and 5 PM. It is always best to call the office before dropping by the Academy during holiday breaks to ensure that we're open.