A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
Nadia and Masha know art. Nadia spent years designing and making props for the stage before adding degrees in teaching and child psychology to her art diploma and focusing on art education full-time. Masha, who recently pitched her art skills on CBC's Dragons' Den, specializes in design, painting, and drawing. The two combine their forces at Pinocchio Arts & Craft to teach burgeoning Van Goghs aged 5 and older how to find their inner creativity.
Yet the instructors' focus is not on skills alone. Their curriculum is broad enough to build well-rounded creators who understand the different cultural influences of art and its many movements. This is true in their classes and even in their birthday parties, which focus on portrait painting, re-creating famous masterpieces, or working in the style of Picasso, Matisse, or Emily Carr. Children's sessions are divided by age, not medium, and focus on international cultures. In past classes, for example, kids have painted the Taj Mahal, built a Chinese-style dragon, and learned what part of the world has deserts hot enough to melt clocks. Adult classes, on the other hand, explore more advanced media and concepts, such as the laws of abstraction and cubism.
Signature service: Kidoodles Art Studio
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1 hour maximum per visit
Brands Used: Crayola, Dessers, Blick, Golden, Museum, Acrylex
Pro Tip: At Kidoodles, kids let their imagination go and they learn to create different arts and crafts.
If only everything in life were as simple as stacking together a few toy building blocks. At MusicQube, that's the approach instructors take to music education. MusicQube acts as a one-stop education centre that aims to to nourish each child's potential and creativity by offering classes for fine arts and academics. Singing, piano, drums, woodwinds—kids get a chance to try them all. All of these are focused on four areas: playing different music styles, building confidence, developing a love for music and art, enhancing creativity, and setting attainable goals. The education centre also hosts classes for adults, MYC programs, and summer camps on topics ranging from acting to writing to cooking.
An associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, Victoria Warfield has dedicated her life to music. Experienced in performing as a concert pianist and directing choirs, Victoria also offers private lessons that tutor music-makers as young as 3 years old in specialized Parent & Tot sessions. Older students can tailor their efforts toward the Royal Conservatory of Toronto examinations or veer into pop or jazz styles. Adult lessons shake off rust from years of neglect or fruitless attempts of practicing the flute on a hollow churro to give students a new artistic outlet during classes that focus on music appreciation.
Cadenza Music offers a massive selection of books and resources for beginner and advanced musicians. Students looking to enhance their repertoire can find solace in private and group lessons in piano, voice, harmony, and rudiments. Books and materials divulge information on violin techniques, guitar methods, and ukuleles, alongside CDs and reference books.