Airdrie Music Lessons FAQ

1. What are your qualifications?

The lead instructors at Airdrie Music Lessons have extensive training and experience. Some have degrees in music, education, and the arts, while others have proven themselves over decades as real world musicians. All of the instructors at Airdrie Music Lessons strive to provide the highest quality education and coaching that you can get.

Anthony Burbidge is a classically trained (Bachelor of Classical Music, Mt. Allison University) musician, award-winning songwriter and recording artist, and long time business owner. (Airdrie Music Lessons has been serving Airdrie since 2010). He has also served as church music director at Unity of Calgary since 2013. Airdrie Music Lessons was rated Three Best Rated’s Best Airdrie Music School in 2017 and for the second year running in 2018. Anthony was also named 2018 Airdrie Arts Educator of the Year Finalist.

Mark Ferguson studied both Music and Education at the University of Calgary, and graduated with 2 degrees. He is an accomplished teacher and musician. 

Levi Bulloch is a long time musician and teacher with 19 years experience in music. He started his own business & taught music on his own for 6 years before joining Airdrie Music Lessons. Levi is an accomplished musician and teacher of guitar, drums, ukulele, and bass guitar. He studied Business at SAIT and earned a Business Management Diploma in 2015. Fun Fact: Levi’s band played Airdrie’s centennial celebration in 2009 at nose creek park, a historical event!

2. Where are classes conducted?
Our Downtown Studio Location in Airdrie is located at: 204 1 Ave NE, Airdrie, AB.

3. What is the cost of lessons?
Tuition for Airdrie Music Lessons programs varies depending on the program. For more info, click here to contact us.

4. When do classes start and end within a year?
Airdrie Music Lessons students enrol by school year and classes run from September – June.

5. How many classes are conducted per week and how long is one session?
Classes are one hour each week. The class schedule is set ahead of time each year and stays the same throughout the school year. Each student/parent is consulted to determine the best class and time slot for them.

6. Do you conduct classes during weekends?
Currently, regular classes are held on weekday evenings and Saturday. In addition, special workshops, classes, and Pop Star Parties are sometimes held on weekends at the studio.

7. Is there an age limit for students?
For ages 3-5, we have a junior music explorers program. For ages 5-6, we have a senior music explorers program, which builds on the foundations that students learn in our JME program. Students aged 7+ can join ukulele, guitar, drums, and piano classes.
Vocal students can enrol as young as age 5 while guitar students generally need to be age 7 or 8 before they are physically big enough to handle the instrument and psychologically prepared for the challenge of learning full chords, strumming patterns, and finger style technique. We teach teens and adults too!

8. How do you decide to which class my child belongs?
Before enrolling each new student, a free “Meet n Greet” session is held at the studio with teacher, parent, and student. This session is a combination of a music lesson and a consultation during which the student’s skill and maturity levels are assessed so the best program can be selected. This is also an opportunity for both parent and student to tour the studio, ask questions and get to know the teacher before deciding to enrol.

9. What is your teaching model for guitar?
Our approach to teaching guitar is somewhat ‘unconventional’ but highly effective. The program is designed to create momentum, a sense of achievement and motivation to continue. Every skill is taught in a step by step process in which each layer builds upon the last. Focus is placed on playing by ear first and later learning to read tablature and music.

It is important to note that the program is chord based in the beginning so rather than learning to play single note melodies such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, students quickly become competent rhythm guitarists playing full chords and strumming patterns as well as finger style technique.

While students study and practice using the acoustic guitar, all the skills acquired can later be transferred to electric guitar if desired.

10. What is your teaching model for singing?
Drawing on our classical music education and performance background, we teach vocal students technique and ear training and apply those skills to contemporary forms of music (pop, rock, country, R&B, folk, blues, etc.).

Each class begins with a focus on technique (vocal exercises to develop pitch, range, tone, breath control etc.) and ear training (training the brain to “hear” intervals, interpret melodies, etc.). While these exercises are often presented in the forms of “games”, the results are real – the students learn to sing in time and in tune and these skills are transferable from one song to the next. As the brain wires up for the language of music, these skills become transferable without the need to relearn them for each new song.

The remainder of each class is devoted to applying the students’ vocal skills to contemporary songs. The songs are chosen by students and teacher together ensuring the repertoire is age appropriate, skill level appropriate, and of interest to the students.

11. I believe my child needs additional assistance to improve as a singer. How can you help him/her?
Some students may require additional coaching beyond their regular weekly class to assist them in developing in areas such as singing in tuning, singing on time, tone development, etc. Such students generally enrol in the “Integrated Vocal Program” which provides private lessons in addition to the regular weekly classes.

12. What musical talents should I possess to apply for Rock Band Class?
Each rock band class consists of 6 members who must be proficient in at least one of the following instruments: guitar, electric bass, drums/percussion, piano/keyboard. In addition, vocal skills are recommended. Throughout the class year, each student has a principal role within the band (i.e. drums) but also has the opportunity to learn and experiment with other roles (i.e piano, back up vocals, etc.)

13. Do you provide students with any study material and resources?
Yes! Singing students are provided with custom practice MP3s distributed digitally. Each song is transposed to the best key for the student’s voice and tempos can be changed to match the skill and age of the student. Each student also receives a song book to keep their lyric and music sheets throughout the year. Custom practice videos are also provided to help students practice specific techniques and ear training exercises at home.

Instrument class (guitar, rock band, piano etc.) students receive a song binder to place their sheet music and theory documents which are handed out as the program progresses. In addition, custom practice videos are provided to help students keep on track with practicing each week.

14. Do students get the chance to perform on stage?
Yes! Twice per year (January and June), Airdrie Music Lessons hosts a full stage production concert where student perform on stage in front of a live audience complete with lighting, sound system and audio engineer. The concerts are a key part of students learning to set and achieve goals, overcome performance anxiety, and gain confidence both as performers and as people.

15. Do you record students’ songs?
Yes! The great thing about holding classes in a professional recording studio each week is that all the equipment is right there waiting to be used. Each year vocal students get to record a song in the studio. The song is edited/mixed/mastered and copies are made on CD and MP3 to be shared with family and friends. The CDs also make a great keepsake showcasing the student’s vocal talents and personality.

The process of recording is not only fun for the students, it’s also educational. Learning to perform in the studio, using a headphone mix, etc. are valuable experiences many vocalists never get to experience. The recording process can also help student become aware of vocal habits that are difficult to identify and thereby fix them. Hearing one’s voice recorded and mixed professionally often gives the student a boost in confidence and the positive feedback received from friends and family can also be a real boost.

16. Can I meet with you and introduce my child to you before signing up for lessons?
Yes! As a parent, I feel is it crucial for my students and their parents to meet me and tour the studio before enrolling. This helps the student become comfortable with the physical layout of the studio before attending the first class. It also helps both student and parent to get to know me as a person and teacher before deciding if it’s the right fit.

This “Free Introductory Lesson” is also my opportunity to coach the student and observe how he/she learns, what level his/her musical skills are at and determine which program would best suit the student.

17. What is the best way to contact you?
The best way to contact us is via the contact page. We aim to follow up with each inquiry via email or phone within 24 – 48 hours of receiving initial contact.