Musical taste is personal. While people occasionally turn us on to new favourites, no one can make us like anything that doesn’t fill our ears with aural ambrosia. You can’t force someone to like that which doesn’t tickle their fancy.
What others can do for us though, is teach; instruct as to the basics, minutiae and secrets of harmony, melody and rhythm. Yet finding mentors in a city as vast as the GTA can be almost as daunting as being asked to perform your inaugural recital as first chair with a symphony orchestra. Thankfully, where to start looking for music classes in Toronto—be they simple appreciation or learning how to play “Flight Of The Bumblebee” with eyes closed—is easy with a few primary steps.
One of the premiere names in music lessons, The Royal Conservatory (273 Bloor Street West) has been instructing a variety of instruments for almost 125 years. From their Glenn Gould School to the Conservatory itself, three locations offer classical, jazz, DJ techniques and world music to students of every age and ability with a seemingly-endless roster of notable graduates.
On a more localized level, many community groups and socially-funded programs such as the Regent Park School Of Music (203 Sackville Green) and St. Stephen's House (91 Bellevue Avenue) offer after-school music programs, some of which provide subsidized assistance under special circumstances. At that, the St. Christopher House Music School (248 Ossington Avenue) has been providing instruction and specialized courses (steel drum, performing in an ensemble, marching bands and more) for all ages since 1930.
For something unique, visit Elite Music Academy (822 Danforth Avenue), an organization proudly offering lessons based on concepts unavailable elsewhere. Examples include schooling in digital recordings, public performance, bands and ensembles, summer rock camps, open stage events, seminars and more.
Those disinclined to leave their home, victim to an already busy schedule or looking to learn without application/financial obligations are also in luck. CBC Radio 2 (94.1 FM) offers Rick Phillips' Sound Advice program every Saturday at 12 p.m. If he compels you, Philips also teaches music appreciation courses at the aforementioned Royal Conservatory, the University of Toronto and elsewhere.
Of course, one needn't look past their own neighbourhood for instruction. Private lessons are available across the city via teachers found at instrument stores, on social networking sites, flyers or questioning friends. Most of these pundits offer at-home (theirs or yours) lessons at a variety of rates and ability levels.