For an organization centered on musicians younger than 17, Allegiance Institute of Music has an impressive resumé. While regularly collecting trophies in competitions all over the continent, the school's musicians have racked up honours including performing every night of the 1988 Olympic medal ceremonies and the earning Official Band status from the Calgary Stampeders Football Club. Each singer or band member got there by following the rigorous Kodály method. In introductory programs, the youngest children start out by playing musical games and dancing, which helps internalize basic musical structures. At the next level, they gear up for performing on a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, or prepare for more advanced vocal study. After that, students who feel ready for performance may enroll in higher-level courses. In all classes, teachers insist that kids master music on their own terms rather than be thrust too soon into performance and risk being unable to differentiate between a quickened tempo and a conductor-antagonizing bee.
Guitar, drums, piano, and vocals; recording, composition, and performing; musical theater, reggae, and classical. Somehow, Justin and Megan McDonough have studied it all and still have the energy to share their passions with others as studio manager and school manager at Resonate. In addition to lessons for students as young as age three in popular instruments such as violin and guitar, Resonate’s instructors forge musicians ready to make a splash in the modern music industry with sessions in topics such as music theory, digital production, and audio engineering. The latter can be put into practice in a recording studio, where full-semester students get an hour of free time to put together a polished recording. The artists supplement musician-aimed lessons and resources with harmonic services for hire—producing ad jingles and voiceovers, composing original songs, and humming lullabies to squalling babies.
Studio Nine School of Music's two Calgary locations prevent aspiring tunesmiths from being puzzled by their own instruments with private lessons and group classes in a variety of genres, such as rock, jazz, and classical. Students of all ages and experience levels can begin planting the seeds of superstardom with guidance from a diverse cast of instructors who specialize in Royal Conservatory programs, university entrance exams, and recreational performance. During instruction, the veteran maestros discuss music theory while demystifying the secrets behind strumming guitars, tickling piano keys, and singing high notes without toppling glass houses. Studio Nine's classes also venture outside the realm of music with specialty lessons in drama and acting.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Bignote Music carries electric guitars, but acoustic instruments are where its heart is at—from tiny soprano ukuleles to gargantuan double basses. The customers who play them are encouraged to stick around after their purchase for a variety of in-store events, from Hawaiian-music workshops to live concerts. In line with the store’s focus on laid-back, tropical jams, a weekly ukulele club invites players of all levels to strum, sing, and admire each others’ extra fingers.
Brandy and Sandro Dominelli, professional musicians with accolades such as a Juno nomination and a performance at the Taste of Edmonton, have gathered a who’s who of area musicians at their family-oriented music school. Each instructor boasts university experience in music, including master’s degrees and time spent at the Paul McCartney School of Music and the University of Germany. Together, the instructors help everyone from newborns to adults share their love of singing and playing the guitar and piano in age-specific courses, including developmentally focused Kindermusik classes for kids aged 6 and under.