The music of Panama is a product of the interbreeding of people from different races and places including Andalusia and West Africa which was further enriched by the intercultural combination brought about by countless waves of migrations from Europe, the Caribbean counties, South America and North America. With this abounding cultural heritage, Panama’s music has become one of the most diverse and vibrant in the Americas. The country has considerably promoted the development of various Latin American music including the Saloma, Cumbia, Corridor, Bunde as well as Salsa, Reggaeton and Calypso, among many others.
In Panama, numerous academies and institutions provide special courses on music study. Among them, you can find Academia de Musica de Panama, Sono Arte, Academia La Nota Yamaha, National Narciso Garay Music Institute, Dreams Factory Music Academy, Dreams Factory Music Academy, Omar Alfanno Foundation and School of Rock.
Depending on your needs or the specific area of music you want to learn, the country is home to many more music schools that offer short or extensive lessons for specific musical instruments as well as more intensive formal music studies for those who want to pursue a professional degree in the field. There are also plenty of people providing individual tutorial lessons for a fee if you prefer not to attend a music school.
Practically all music schools in Panama offer both advanced and crash courses on guitar playing. This is because guitars are one of the most popular musical instruments in Panama.
In fact, Panama has its traditional 5-string guitar called mejoranera. The mejoranera is a folkloric five-stringed chordophone that is comparable to a small guitar with a brisk neck. Unlike a guitar, however, the instrument is carved from a single block of wood. People traditionally used horsehair or catgut for its string. Today, however, nylon strings are used.
The mejoranera was believed to have been brought by Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century when playing a tap dance known as “zapateo”. When adopted by the locals however, the mejoranera played a central role in the musical culture and tradition in Panama. It was the principal instrument used by men to compose and sing romantic ballads or love songs for courting women. This is precisely why folkloric love songs are called Mejoranas.
Today, while the mejoranera still exists, many modern Panamanians have switched to the use of traditional 6-string guitar. However, the fondness of the locals to use stringed instruments to create music remains popular. Hence, music schools in Panama providing guitar lessons proliferated. The following are some of the best music schools to learn how to play guitar in Panama or any other musical instrument.
Academia de Musica de Panama
If you want to learn classical guitar, the Academy of Music of Panama (AMP) is the most popular music school to study. This audiovisual academy of musical education takes pride in having a modern method of teaching that facilitates an easy and quick understanding of music lessons for both beginners and advanced learners.
As a formal learning institution for music, the AMP provides certificates of completion to its graduates that are recognized by prestigious music institutes in the world. Aside from learning classical guitar, its guitar course is also the most modern in Panama that covers different musical genres including, rock, pop, jazz, and folklore. You don’t only get to learn chords, scales (minor, blues pentatonic, harmonic, etc.) chromatics, advanced learners will be taught to master arpeggios triad, seventh chords, tensions, improvisation and the like.
Address: San Francisco, Calle 71 Este, Casa 91 – Panama City
Phone: +507 392-2324 / +507 390-4742
Another school for learning classical guitar is the Sono Arte Academy, one of the best places to study and learn music in Panama. With over 20 years of experience, Sono Arte Academy provides a step by step approach in teaching musicians to perfect techniques and understanding the underlying theories of music to give students a strong foundation in the music art. You can learn classical guitar as the principal instrument in the construal of academic composition. You can also combine classical guitar with how to use the popular acoustic guitar to serve as the flawless and well-defined accompaniment element for vocals.
Sono Arte also offers the study of the electric guitar, which is provided in two stand-alone modules. The first module is aimed at developing the proper, clean and professional technique through the use of different exercise techniques. The second module is aimed to deepen a student’s theoretical and practical knowledge of the instrument. It also ensures thorough mastery of the principles and application of modal harmony including comping techniques, harmonization, diminished and increased scales and arpeggios as well as non-diatonic tools.
Address: Av Centenario, Costa del Este, plaza 507 local 18, Panamá, Panama
Phone: +507 397-1736 / +507 397-1738 / +507 6414-7036
Academia La Nota Yamaha
Opened in 1998, the Academia La Nota Yamaha is ideal for those who want to learn to play acoustic guitar as well as electric/bass guitar. This music school specializes in the Yamaha education system, that has more 50 years of experience of teaching musical instruments. It is accredited by the Yamaha Music Foundation of Japan.
Because Yamaha is one of the most popular manufacturers of musical instruments in the world, students are also assured to have the best-equipped classroom when studying. This allows students to learn various techniques in the use of music technology including amplifiers, pedalboards, effects, and tuners among others using state of art Yamaha facilities.
Open for all ages, the Academia La Nota Yamaha provides courses for both children and adults who want to discover and develop their talent and sensitivity to music. This school is not only for those who want to learn how to play guitars but for those who want to compose their original music and songs.
Address: Contamos Vía Israel, Frente a Multiplaza, Plaza Alhambra( El Dorado) y Los Pueblos Panama City, Panama
Phone: +507 300-3885
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/academialanota/
National Narciso Garay Music Institute
Formerly known as the National Conservatory of Music and Declamation, the National Narciso Garay Music Institute was founded in 1904 to be the National School of Music of Panama. This is the official training center of the Panamanian National Institute of Arts and Culture, that provides training and development of professional musicians.
The mission of the institute is to preserve, enhance, and promotion of the national and universal musical heritage of Panama to strengthen the country’s cultural identity. It provides associate degrees in different musical instruments such as violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon, flute, saxophone, piano percussion and of course the guitar.
If you want to be an academic scholar on guitar playing, you can earn a bachelor’s degree on guitar in enrolling in the institute.
Address: Albrook, Edificio 800 Panama City, Panama
Phone: +507 501-4113
Dreams Factory Music Academy
This music school which is open to all ages provides basic music education for students from two and a half years. It prides itself on having a select group of professional teachers who are experts and graduates in their respective musical specialties.
Those interested to learn how to play an acoustic or electric guitar can enroll in this school and learn different techniques in playing. Among them included techniques of stance, fingering, melodious and metrical musical reading, chords and their vocal loops as well as reading the tablature system.
Address: Ave. B # 64 Costa del Este, Panama City, Panama
Phone: +507 300-0303
Omar Alfanno Foundation
To believe in your dreams is to dream about them. This non-profit music foundation aims to positively impact the life and destiny of future generations, by discovering the hidden musical aptitudes and gifts, especially of poor talented children. The music center was conceived to help transform Panama as the center of music at the inter-American level.
This musical school which primarily caters to poor street children provides music lessons on different musical instruments as well as lessons to awaken the musical genius of less-privilege children.
Address: Ave. B # 64 Costa del Este, Dreams Factory Music Academy Building, Panama City.
Phone: +507 300-0303
School of Rock
This is an international music school that provides music lessons especially for playing electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitars and drums. It has over 30 branches located in the United States, Asia, South America, and Europe.
School of Rock follows a results-oriented program blended with one on one lessons and group brand practicum. This music school is open for all ages and all skill levels as long as you have the passion or aspiration to grow into a real musician.
Address: 3rd Street, iStorage Building, Mezz Level, Local School Of Rock, Juan Díaz, Panama City
Phone: +507 6241-0053
Playing guitar has been a popular past time and hobby of many Panamanians. This love for guitars has since started since the arrival of the Spaniards who introduced the mejoraner, the small native guitar in Panama which has now become a symbol of passionate romance and love in the country.
Today, modern Panamanians continue to become the sentinel of the tradition of love and passion using the modern six-string guitar which has permeated modern society. This is precisely why Panama presents itself as one of the best places to learn how to play guitar with unparalleled fervor and skill.
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