Long & McQuade: music lessons that rock
Long & McQuade's Vancouver location offers both individual and group lessons for all ages and musical styles. Article by Brooklyn Wall.
Long & McQuade has always been known for selling musical instruments and equipment. But what many don't know is that behind the Long & McQuade sales floors are lesson centres providing 750,000 lessons a year to over 18,000 students through 54 locations across Canada.
Long & McQuade's students range from children starting out to students prepping for university, from young adults who just like to sing to seniors who enjoy music and the social aspect. They offer affordable rates and a wide variety of lessons but more importantly, they’re a home for anyone who loves music and wants to explore it.
Vancouver's Terminal Avenue location is one of the largest lesson centres in all of Canada with 30 highly qualified teachers, 14 fully equipped studios, over 500 students and 700 lessons a week.
Many students come in for private one-on-one instruction but they also offer a number of group classes. Classes currently offered are Rock School, Drumline, Beginner Guitar and Musical Theatre.
Drumline is an interactive way to learn snare drum techniques and basic stick patterns. Nick Stecz offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. He provides instruction to groups of all ages while keeping a relaxed environment.
"Peer-to-peer learning is hugely influential for students of all ages," says Stecz. "Social interaction speeds up the learning curve, adding a sense of musical diversity & friendly competition."
Nick Stecz teaches Drumline at Long & McQuade's Vancouver location. Photo by Brooklyn Wall.
Drums can be challenging due to the amount of time and dedication it takes to find the necessary coordination. When asked how to make drumming more accessible to his students, he responds,
"Repetition. I get asked a lot how long it will take to learn drums well enough to play in a band. The answer is easy: How much time do you have to put into it? Practice a lot. I would say the bulk of my lessons include tricks to make practicing easier and fun!”
Everyone is different when it comes to music which is why Long & McQuade offers a variety. Many find the group setting more fun, encouraging and not as intimidating as private lessons.
"It's much more social,” says Troy Zackowski, Group Guitar instructor. “Some find it more relaxed as things tend to move a little slower in a group. Plus, it's fun to meet people that are going through the same experience.”
Troy provides a curriculum working on basic chord progressions incorporated into classic hits while preparing students for a final recital. He is always prepared for any student that comes to study with him.
Troy Zackowski teaches guitar in group or private lessons. Photo by Brooklyn Wall.
"Whether it's a group lesson or private, I can change my entire lesson plan if it isn't being received well. I always make an effort to keep my students very organized and goal focused.”
In addition to classes dedicated to specific instruments, last year Wayne Holden started his Rock School program where he teaches students how to play as a group on their own instruments.
“Plenty of players do great on their own but really struggle when thrown into the mix with other musicians. The best way to sort that out is to get out and play.”
Wayne provides a fun learning environment to a variety of levels and age groups. He has years of experience teaching, touring, performing and composing which gives him a lot of different angles to look at while teaching privately and in the group setting.
“The main theme is getting a great understanding of the fundamental basics of playing so that you have a great foundation to build on. It's like building a house. If the foundation is weak, the house won't be solid and sturdy.”
There's no mistaking Wayne's passion for music watching him teach and interact with his students.
“It's amazing to see a group of kids who have never played with other people before get up there and rock it. The look on someone's face when they first plug into a big Marshall stack amp and play that ACDC riff they've been working on is priceless!”
Along the same lines as Rock School is Billy Gollner's Musical Theatre program. Engagement in Musical Theatre provides an exciting and invaluable opportunity for students to express themselves creatively through singing, dancing and acting. It also cultivates a strong sense of self-confidence.
“The Musical Theatre program creates a safe space for students to learn and support themselves and one another. It also drastically reduces performance anxiety and stage fright,” Gollner says.
“It's an absolute blast and the students have a great time. Parents are genuinely shocked when they see how much their kids grow over the course of the class.”
“Music education is so important to us at Long & McQuade. We would love to help you begin your musical journey.” - Brooklyn Wall, Lesson Centre Coordinator