Turn the Beat Around at InnerBeat Drum School
If the house is a-rockin', drumming class is in session.
Tucked away on Potomac Avenue is a small storefront where huge things are happening—though many Dormont residents may not be aware.
George Guest, owner of the InnerBeat Drum School, has been teaching music in Dormont since 2007.
Guest has given private lessons and has taught in numerous music stores around the South Hills for more than 20 years. He chose Dormont to open his business because of its convenience and to make an easy transition for his students.
Students travel from Cranberry, Squirrel Hill, Upper St. Clair and as far away as Johnstown and West Virginia. He also teaches students from the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts and helps prepare undergrads for college entry. Ironically, only one of his students lives in Dormont, and Guest would love to recruit more from the area.
Guest, a Swissvale resident, became passionate about music in the fourth grade, crediting a great band director who “could play every instrument” for his inspiration. After playing in several bands, including jazz and Latin, he has chosen to dedicate himself to his students.
Along with guitar and piano lessons, drumming is the heartbeat of the operation. Classes include hand drum, drum set, snare, marching percussion, classical and xylophone.
According to Guest, “as long as they can hold a pair of sticks,” students enrolled can be as young as 3 years old, with the ideal beginning age being 5 or 6. Parents can watch the lesson right in the room, which helps for when the children are practicing at home; the parent knows what they should be doing.
The InnerBeat is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and classes start daily by appointment, with a wide range of hours to fit every schedule. Classes are offered to children, adults, seniors, and music professionals. The school has enrolled a substantial number of females and even has had an 80 year old want to learn something new.
“I turn students into musicians," Guest said.
He says he has watched many children grow and go off to college as they've stuck with him as they've developed.
Fulfilling the dream of learning the drums doesn’t have to be expensive. Guest doesn’t recommend buying a drum set to get started; instead he recommends a practice drum pad for about $20 to learn the rudimentary aspects of the instrument first. Once a student hits an advanced level, Guest will advise him or her on which instruments to purchase to best suit their needs.
There are numerous events lined up for the upcoming months at InnerBeat Drum School. On June 24, at 4 p.m., the school's drum line will be featured at WYEP’s Summerfest at Schenley Park, and Guest would love to see local support at this event.
Educational clinics are a staple at the school and Guest is fortunate to be able to bring in professional drummers on site to teach. On June 25, Hanna Ford, who is from Chicago and in a Broadway musical directed by Whoopi Goldburg, will be offering an educational clinic.
July will feature an in-school concert, with attention to drum circle, and the drum line will be highlighted on KDKA-TV. They'll also participate in the Dormont Street Fair in October, where they will have performers available throughout the night.