Hello Dear ABC Partners!

We have had an incredible year, and are looking forward to a great 2017.  It’s high time you got an email about our activities, and this one is a big one!  Here’s a short summary of what is in this email:

  1. ‘Our Choice’ Promotion January 2017
  2. ABC Mission – updated
  3. Our New Recital Venue and Family Feature
  4. Events in the Community
  5. Contracts and Partner updates
  6. In-Home Lessons Pilot
  7. Director at UofT
  8. Don’t Forget!

‘Our Choice’ Discounts

The last few years we have run an ‘Our Choice’ promotion, offering 20% off to new students that register and take spots that we choose.  Basically, we use this promotion to help plug holes in our teachers’ schedules, which is very helpful to them, and which can save people money.

If you are a classroom music teacher, this is a great way to help get some kids the extra help they need – not long after their first major report cards – and to make parents aware of a partner that is available to them.  We’d also love your help for the sake of our teachers, many of them new this year.  Visit the Teacher’s page of our website to meet some!

For the rest of you, this is something you can share on social media, promote to friends, or take advantage of yourself (unless you already have a discount in place with us!).  We’ll be grateful for any help you can give us.

Our Mission

This over the past year, we decided that our previous mission was in need of a kick.  It was:

“To provide students of all ages the skills they need to enjoy music for life!”

While fine, it was not really the focused statement that encapsulates the strength of our passion and commitment to our field.  Our new mission statement is:

“To Save Music”

This is right to the point and sums up the what needs to be done to save one art (among many) that contributes to cultural tolerance, a broadening of mutual understanding, and a means by which to communicate that we sorely need in our world as we look around us in our global context.

Recital Venue & Family Benefits

2016 was a great year for our families where student performances were concerned.  We were able to move into brand new studio for our Recitals – The Root Down – which not only has a great, cozy atmosphere for our casual recitals, but also came with a great new service for our students’ extended families: Live Video Streaming.

Our live recitals were seen by family members in Saskatchewan, London (UK), and India, in High Definition.  The quality reported back to us as being excellent.  We are incredibly pleased to be able to offer this service to far away family, and look forward to more of the same!

Events in the Community

Spring Fairs: Rock Band, Instrumental Petting Zoo, Silent Auctions

This past spring our Rock Band went on ‘Tour’ to 3 local schools for their spring Fairs:

  • Forest Hill Jr. & Sr. Public School
  • Holy Rosary School
  • Rawlinson Community School

The groups did incredibly well, and were received with great acclaim.

We also premiered our Instrumental Petting Zoo, which allows anyone to try some instruments.  It’s a little loud, but a lot of fun!

We also participated in Silent Auctions, which we are happy to do any time.  We can only contribute, however, if ABC can have a display table at your event, at a minimum.  We are happy to arrange the Rock Band and Petting Zoo, as well.

We would like to confirm our appearances for Spring 2017 by the end of February at the latest.  Please call Barnaby in the office or email him directly at [email protected] to confirm your dates.  Please note that we will require DJs to be placed as far away as possible from our performers, preferably at opposite sides of the event.  Thank you.

The Bump to Baby Show

We had a great experience and are very excited the next Bump to Baby Show, which is hosted by West End Naturopathic Doulas.

This excellent show is a great opportunity for burgeoning and young families to get in touch with locally made, ethical goods and services across a multitude of categories that every family needs, most of which are run by parents.  It is an incredible environment.

We hosted a couple of free Music Together demonstration classes, and raffled off a full year of Free classes to one lucky winner.

We can hardly wait for the next one on Sunday, 7th at the Wychwood Barns.  Drop by and say hello!

Pop-Up at the Barns

We also made friends with the excellent folks at Village Living Magazine, who hosted a fantastic series of extra merchants at the Wychwood Barns over the Summer.  This is a big deal, because outside of this event, the market usually only hosts food-stuffs, not businesses, so we were delighted to be included.

Contracts and Partners Updates

Music Together College & Ossington

When we took part in the Bump to Baby Show last spring, we were approached by Jill & the Beanstalk, (a wonderful local shop that offers organic foods and parent curated baby/toddler products for young families) about hosting our world renowned curricular classes in their play space.  Naturally, we said yes!  If you are familiar with any families that are on the lookout for quality supplies (food, accessories, and a community space), we warmly recommend our newest Music Together Partner.  Pop in and speak to one of the two charming Jills, and get to know them!

Fieldstone Day School

We are delighted to be on our 3rd contract with Fieldstone Day School, Canada’s only Cambridge Curriculum school.  In the past we brought our expertise to a couple of small projects, both curricular and recreational in nature, which were very part-time in nature, over a course of a few months.  Our latest contract is the largest to date, and we are very happy to be providing the central instruction for the Violin program, a full-time endeavour, and an incredible vote of confidence from the Fieldstone administrative team!

Toronto French School

An exciting turn of events the last 8 weeks has seen us launch a new relationship with Toronto French School, to offer on-site, private music lessons to students there.  To say that we are excited would be an understatement.  Our mid-year launch will be a good opportunity to roll our program out in a measured way, bringing our usual standards of quality instruction and enjoyment to the students of the school.

Toronto Concert Band & New Horizons Band

These two bands are both exciting and new in Toronto over the last 3-6 years, and are making great in-roads serving the adult, and senior adult demographics for playing in bands.

The Toronto Concert Band is a high-level, fully instrumented Concert Band with over 70 regular members.  They play 3 concerts a year, and often at the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC building in Toronto.

New Horizons Band groups musicians by levels, some starting from scratch, and also has some jazz options available to those that are interested.  They are busting at the seams, and bringing a fantastic opportunity to retired folks, and adult beginners to live the dream and play music!

ABC now offers members of these groups a compelling, ongoing discount rate to facilitate personal growth, and musical contributions to their ensembles and communities.  Members can take advantage of their discount programs by visiting their partner pages: TCB, NHB

In-Home Lessons (pilot)

Over the summer we sweated out a new system to bring our lessons to other parts of the city.  We say ‘sweated out’, because making sure that our standards are maintained out of our campus, or partner locations was a major concern.  So, too, was the importance of effectively using our teachers’ time.  We didn’t want to send them to the ends of the city for low amounts of time, or for low remuneration.

The results are great.  Teachers can choose how far they go (zoned by transit travel times), and their travel pay is so generous that they may even get paid more for travel in some cases.

We are piloting testing this program, to make sure we get it right, and to set expectations with both clients and our teachers that some flexibility may be required, but we are looking forward to making our 5-star level of service available as broadly as possible.  Check out the In-Home Lessons page sometime.

Director at UofT

For the second year in a row, director Barnaby Kerekes was invited to speak to First-year music students at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, for the Lives in Music course.  Last year, he chose to focus on a few key points about how the future professionals could be successful, and this year, the topic turned to the question of setting (or knowing) one’s worth.

Some of the information reviewed included a down-to-earth view of what people are earning.  According to StatsCan, the median hourly earnings for a generic ‘musician’ was $19.23 per hour.  For a high end Orchestra (in this case the TSO), normalized to a 50-week work year, the rate is in the ~$43 range.  Surprisingly low.

There was also an opportunity to gauge how much people were willing to accept as professional musicians.  On the low end, someone was willing to accept $22,000 per year, while on the high end it was over $150,000.  It was a very interesting exploration of how the professionals of tomorrow felt about their earning potential, and what standards they were setting for themselves.  With any luck, they will grow their ambitions to higher levels, followed by their success!

Don’t Forget

You may be one of our partners that has a standing discount offer.  This may apply to you and your staff.  If you would like a poster or flyer to spread the word, just let us know – we would like to help.  Not sure if you and your team are getting a discount?  Call Barnaby in the office to find out.

Feedback – We Love It

One of the things we always tell our teachers is ‘We can’t fix what we don’t know about’.

This is true for working with all of you, too.  Our goal is to provide the kind of experience that you don’t want to end, or are ready to re-schedule.  This works best when we know what makes you happy, yes, but also what doesn’t make you happy.  A lot of folks are cautious about feedback because they want to spare other people’s feelings.

Don’t worry about our feelings if you have any problems, because at ABC we have another word for problems: Opportunity.  We want your opportunities to provide you the best service, so we invite you to help us help you with your unabashed honesty.  We can take it!


Call Us Any Time!