Music & Defense: New Year provides opportunity to learn something new

Published 7:12 am Sunday, January 5, 2020

PORT NECHES — The millennial version of the Roaring 20s started less than a week ago and many are already in the gym, gossiping at a nail salon or gushing over social media as they announce New Year’s Resolutions before the world.

Trying something new is a broad category, it can include hiking Mt. Everest, skydiving or bungee jumping, but for most people it leads to learning a new skill. For example, learning to play a musical instrument or mastering self-defense.

The Tonalta School of Music and the Oranday Bros Jiu Jitsu Martial Arts School in Port Neches are starting their new semesters this week — just in time.

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“Getting started with anything is always the hardest part,” Jim Cammack, co-owner of Tonalta School of Music, said.

Jim Cammack and sister Marilyn Myers have owned Tonalta, 2102 Magnolia Ave., since 2005, offering musical lessons in piano, drums, guitar, bass and vocals.

“We have a sampler class, which is perfect for people wanting to try something new,” Cammack said. “The class is for people who are undecided in what instrument they want to learn. The class teaches a little bit of all instruments, designed to be a short program where the individual decides at the end what instrument they really want to play.”

Tonalta offers private lessons for ages 5 and up. The new semester starts Monday, beginning the winter session from January-May. Classes include 30-minute sessions per a week with flexible scheduling.

The music school also offers a unique opportunity to join and form a band for those looking to be in a group setting or expand upon their current musical talents.

“When we started out nobody had done bands like this,” Cammack said. “We didn’t know if we’d be able to pull it off, but we have 6-10 bands now. They are a great way to make music social and have a shared experience.”

Cammack said the lessons follow a parallel curriculum from beginners to advanced and are open to any age range, talent or knowledge.

“Music is a skill you can use your whole life,” he said. “You can be 92, sitting there and strumming along to Christmas songs. It’s something that anyone can do. You don’t have to have a certain athletic ability or anything like that. Music is something that lasts.”

Classes start at $99 a month with a $25 registration fee. For more information, or to register for a class, visit

Oranday Bros Jiu Jitsu, 1915 Magnolia Ave., is a martial arts school in Port Neches that teaches the art of Jiu Jitsu.


Why not take exercising to a new level and combine it with learning a new skill, one that could save a life? — Self-defense.

Oranday Bros Jiu Jitsu, 1915 Magnolia Ave., is a martial arts school in Port Neches that teaches the art of Jiu Jitsu, a Brazilian technique that focuses on taking down an opponent for real-life self-defense situations.

Damion Oranday, owner of Oranday Bros Jiu Jitsu, said the sport includes submission grappling, tap-out techniques, arm bars and chokeholds.

“There is a statistic that says 95 percent of fights end up on the ground and that’s, what Jiu Jitsu teaches you,” he said. “It gives you confidence on the ground and in physical altercations.”

Oranday also said the sport is great for exercise and participants burn around 800-1,000 calories per a class.

“We start the class with a 10-15 minute warm up with different drills,” he said. “You do 16-25 minutes of technique, and then the last 20 minutes of the class is live sparring.”

Oranday Bros offers different age groups from children to adults in levels from beginner to advance. Classes are offered Monday-Friday with a morning and evening option.

The average price is $149 a month and options for competitions are available for advanced belts. A free 30-day trial offers everyone a chance to try it out without commitment.

Oranday said he leaves everyone with one question.

“Why not?” he said. “Everybody has one hour of their day. Why not do something new, make yourself better physically and learn the martial arts.”

For more information, visit