Avatar Academy

Avatar Academy

5.0 (4)
4 employees
23 years in business

About this pro

"The best Latin percussion music academy in the United States..."

Joe Taglieri, Los Angeles Times Magazine

Latin music has a passionate history and a powerful dance narrative. It really is as much fun for us to teach it as it will be for you to learn it!

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Los Angeles, CA 90001
Email verified
Phone verified

4 Reviews


  • Garvin Meehan

    Angel is a great teacher. He has such an extensive and comprehensive knowledge of every facet of Afro Cuban and Lain music and the ability to have you playing quickly at whatever your level of musicianship. Great comraderie among students in the class that flows from Angel welcoming and supporting any new student to the group. You will love this class!

  • Danny Alfaro

    I learned how to drum in the Afro Cuban tradition in a very deep and fulfilling way. Very in depth.

  • Thaddeus P. Gallizzi, percussionist

    Not only is Angel a talented, musical artist, but he's a natural educator. He gives his students the tools they need to understand the music styles they're performing and the proper approach to technique, rhythm, tuning and playing in an ensemble. He's highly recommended for hobby players and professionals! I play music professionally, and continue to call on Angel for lessons and master classes to improve areas that need work. Playing is just a lot more fun now with all the cool things he has taught me!

  • Sebastian Angel

    Angel and his awesome students gave me such an inspiring class that I would recommend the Paws Music Academy to anyone, not just musicians or people interested in Latin music!

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

We recommend taking a few private lessons prior to enrolling in our classes to get familiar with hand drumming basics and to learn the articulations & mechanics of each instrument. Once you're comfortable, our classes are bi-weekly (Saturdays & Sundays 10a-12p) and your learning will be accelerated once you find your groove.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

The Paws Music Academy was established in 1999 and hires only the best and most respected musicians in the Latin music community. Academy director Angel Luís Figueroa was an Assistant Professor at USC's Thornton School of Music's Jazz Dept. for 20 years (from 1990-2010). He is a world class musician who has played with Mongo Santamaria, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony, Andy Garcia, Maxwell, Kenny Loggins, Tito Allen, Celia Cruz, Branford Marsalis, Pointer Sisters, War, The Temptations, Cheryl Crowe and many others.


Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
Paws Music Academy classes - $200/month
One off group classes - $30/hour
Workshops - $25/hour
Private lessons - $100/hour
Online Private Instruction - $75/hour
Student apprentice $350/month (48 hours of classes per month at Paws Music cademy or 8 one hour online sessions per month.)
Paws Music Academy makes paying your invoice a snap! We take all major credit cards, personal checks, cash, Venmo, and even PayPal.

How did you get started teaching?

I began teaching at the age of 15 in Humboldt Park, Chicago after touring with Mongo Santamaria from age 12-14. I developed my teaching style over the years by giving lecture demonstrations and concerts at colleges and universities across the USA, Europe and the South Pacific. I retired from USC to open Paws Music Academy in Mid City Los Angeles, CA.

What types of students have you worked with?

As a professor at USC for 20 years, I have had the opportunity to teach every type of student. At the corporate level, I was commissioned to teach Latin music and percussion as a mind and body enhancing tool. I have also taught Latin percussion as a type of music therapy to medical doctors and lawyers to lower their stress.

Currently, I teach elementary school and high school levels at New Roads School in Santa Monica, CA.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Paws Music Academy has a goal oriented learning method for each student apprentice that is accepted in our program. I book my apprentice students at shows, concerts and college lecture/demos...and they even get paid!

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

New students looking for teachers should research the portential instructor's knowledge base, as well as, who was his/her teacher/master. My master was Mongo Santamaria when i was young and later Lázaro Galarraga after I was 27 years old.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Students should think about buying their own instruments. Not having access to an instrument may very well be the biggest impairment to learning.

Lessons offered

Bongo Lessons Conga Drums Lessons Drum Lessons Hand Drums Lessons Percussion Lessons