Be Better at Stuff: 20 Classes You Can Take This Summer

Wanna learn how to make a terrarium? Yeah you do! (photo via Twig Studio)


Much like children on school vacation, adults can sink into a summer slump. Or rather, a life slump—one where you’ve got a job, sure, but not exactly a career you’re excited about. But before quitting your job, dip your toes into new waters with these summer classes, where you’ll learn everything from woodworking to typography to terrarium-making. That way, when you finally tell everyone at work how you really feel about them, you’ll have something to fall back on.

If you want to be an artist:

Drop-In Drawing at Brooklyn Museum, $8 per class
Hey, you’re busy—and that’s a good thing! But it doesn’t allow for too much time experimenting with four hour classes or fifteen-week sessions, which is why if you’re considering a stint as an illustrator—or if you’d simply enjoy an evening spent sketching Brooklyn Museum objects with trained artists, and really, who wouldn’t?—head to Brooklyn’s best art institution for this low-key drawing class. Third Thursday of the month.

Abstract Painting at Brooklyn Art Space, 5 classes $250
In just five classes, you’ll have created eight works, both in class and as part of your homework (homework!). You’ll study symbolism in art history, contemporary art, and in your own personal life. Class starts July 9.

Graphic Design Course at Shillington, Three-month, full time course $9,950
For those who are serious—like, very serious—about a career in graphic design but don’t have the the foundation for it, this three-month program promises to set you on your way to landing a design position ASAP. Students will learn the Adobe Suite, photo retouching, typography, printing, scanning and much more, as well as the marketing elements of a website. Fall semester starts Sept 22.

Typography at Gowanus Print Lab, $249
As long as you’re decently adept at Photoshop and Illustrator, this course will give you the lowdown on one of the coolest aspects of contemporary design: the visual art of writing. You’ll learn the history of the form, as well as how to critique certain fonts like an expert and impress your less knowledgeable friends who still use Times New Roman. See website for next class.

Night Vision at Brooklyn Creative, $45
If you’ve already got a DSLR camera and tripod, beef up your low-light photographs with this three-hour workshop, where you’ll explore the joys of working with very little sunlight and the potential for some seriously strange, dramatic shots. Next class July 10.

If you want to be a writer:

MFA Application Prep at Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, $475
No, you don’t need an MFA to write the next great American novel, but it also doesn’t hurt, either. The Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop also holds plenty of introductory and intermediate fiction and nonfiction classes, but this one hones in on finding an MFA program that’s right for you—and more importantly, how to get in. Class starts July 7. 

Get Unstuck: Get Writing, Again at Brooklyn Brainery, $82 per class
Spend your Sunday ridding yourself of writer’s block using exercises by famous creativity experts Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones and Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. Next class July 13.

If you want to be a musician:

Introductory Classes at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, One session $360
Join other beginners in mastering one of those instruments that are always handy to pull out at parties: the guitar, the piano or the ukulele. You’ll start with the basics of music theory and technique. Starts Fall 2014.

Adult Band at Brooklyn Music Factory, $135 per month
Once you’ve mastered an instrument, now it’s time to find your band. From September to June, Brooklyn Music Factory hooks you up with a similar group of beginner and intermediate musicians, where you’ll get thirty lessons throughout the year, a chance to play at a couple local venues, and a really awesome band name. School year starts Sept 6.

If you want to be a craft expert:

Fire the Lazzzor at NYCResistor, $75 per class
Want to learn how to use a laser? (Yes. Yes you do.) About once a month, this Boerum Hill hacker collective runs through safety, Inkscape design skills and how to find out if something is “laserable,” after which you’ll make something of your very own. Next class June 21. 

Introduction to Glassblowing at Brooklyn Glass, 8 classes $695
Of all the esoteric hobbies, glassblowing might be the most awesome. In eight weeks, you’ll go from total rookie to, well, someone who can say they know how to shape molten glass into cups and bowls. Session starts Aug 7.

Woodworking Boot Camp at Makeville Studio, One week session $1,250
Whatever your opinions on summer camp as a kid, this one-week, all-day course is sure to be way, way more interesting. You’ll spend all day in various introductory workshops, unleashing your inner Ron Swanson, and on Friday afternoon, they’ll be a super-hard furniture design class and cocktails to ease the stress. Camp starts Aug 11.

If you want to be on Chopped:

Drop-In Classes at The Brooklyn Kitchen, $60-$85 per class
Stop by any of these one-time classes and learn how to prepare Chinese take-out (but, you know, the good kind), beef up your knife skills or create a cool summer cocktail. Naturally, there’ll be tons of taste-testing going on. See class calendar for schedule.

Brewshop 101: Homebrewing Essentials at Bitter & Esters, $55 per class
Is there a cooler job title than “Master Brewer”? Get started on your way with this one-time introductory class, where you’ll learn extract brewing, troubleshooting and a rundown on malts, grains and yeast. Next class June 26.

If you want to play with plants:

Natural Perfume Blending at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, $53, with $60 materials fee
Unless your college was way ahead of its time, you probably never took a class on the most forgotten sense. You’ll study the science, history and art of perfumery before leaving with your own unique bottle. Next class June 21. 

Terrarium Making Workshop at Twig Studio, $45
Got a green thumb but no space for an actual, you know, garden? (You’re not alone—this is New York City!) The folks at Twig will teach you how to create your own very tiny, very green oasis using moss, soil, rocks, and even an “adorable little person to live inside.” Next class June 24.

If you want to be an accountant:

Quickbooks Pro for Accountants at Kingsborough Community College, $275
As the first of the three courses you’ll need to earn your Accounting Certificate from KCC, this class teaches aspiring numbers guys to create sales, invoices, payroll accounts, reports and all the stuff accountants have to do at the end of each month.Class starts July 1.

If you just want to get in shape:

Adult Ballet at Brooklyn Ballet, 16 classes $160
As an adult, you may have passed the window to be a prima ballerina on the Lincoln Center stage, but there’s still plenty of time to improve your flexibility and strength in a less intense setting for all abilities. Class starts Sept 10.

If you want to be funnier:

The Annoyance Ultimate Beginner Improv Class at Simple Studios, $350
While the classes take place in Manhattan, this new Brooklyn-based improv studio holds its end-of-session shows at Williamsburg’s UnionDocs. It’s a solid alternative for those frustrated by the entry process (and fees) of bigger institutions like UCB and the PIT. Next class starts June 26.

If you want to get to know your neighbors:

DUMBO Trend Tracker: Brooklyn’s Latest Hipster Haven at the Fashion Institute of Technology, $45
This noncredit one-day workshop at FIT is exactly what you think: a guide to everything DUMBO, via a walking tour led by Trina Morris of Style Root PR. By the end of the day, you’ll know where to shop, eat and art hop like a native. Naturally, it’s meant for DUMBO newbies, but there’s also a similar workshop for Greenpoint on June 28. Next class July 12.

This article is part of a special series on jobs and education brought to you by Shillington School.


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