Today’s spotlight article features Richard, the owner of A&R Music. A&R music has been in business for 11 years and is located at 401 Durham St. E. (corner of Durham & Victoria) in Walkerton.
In addition to music classes, A&R sells a wide variety of instruments & more including:
- guitars, keyboards, drums, ukeleles, & mandolins
- amplifiers and effects pedals
- audio and sound gear
- straps and lots of other accessories
They also have a great selection of fun instruments for kids like ukuleles, boomwhackers, shakers and recorders. There is a full service repair shop on site as well.
Let’s jump to the interview!
What kind of music lessons do you offer?
Right now music lessons are primarily for guitar, bass and mandolin for both children and adults. I started guitar when I was 7 and have been teaching music for more than 35 years.
I understand right now sessions are offered virtually due to covid. What does this look like from the child’s end? What do they need (computer, instrument etc)?
We moved to virtual lessons with the first lockdown. It was a bit rocky at first to figure out the best way to make it work but it was really important to me to keep the students playing. We use a variety of programs depending on which device they have. For instance, if they are using a parent’s phone, we may use Google Duo, if they have an iPad or computer then Zoom Meetings.
We are trying to make it as easy and productive as possible. Generally, students are ready at their time and then I call them. Mostly they are in the kitchen or living room of their home where it is comfortable. We make sure we can both see each other’s instruments and fingers and then we have a lesson. Sometimes there is a bit of a lag, so it did take some getting used to.
If a parent would like to sign their child up for lessons, how do they contact you?
Anyone interested in lessons can just contact the store either by phone (519-507-5550), email ([email protected]) or Facebook or Instagram messenger. They can also drop by the store during business hours.
Anything else you would like to share?
It’s really important, for children especially, that they are using an instrument that fits their size, is comfortable, and plays correctly. Just like sports, having good equipment just makes it more likely that they will stick with it, enjoy it, play more and learn faster. We carry guitars in all sizes from ½, ¾ to full size to fit different body types and arm lengths. Compared to the quality of what’s in the big box stores, it’s only around 40-50 dollars more for something decent that plays and sounds right. Some people like to purchase new but if a child has a guitar that has been gifted to them from a grandparent or uncle, they are welcome to bring it in and have it assessed.
Due to COVID, I found lots of people of all ages were picking up instruments to learn something new or just start enjoying playing guitar or piano or mandolin again. That’s been absolutely wonderful and a great way to stay positive and cope with all the changes in the last year. Music has so many benefits both physically and mentally that it’s hard to list them all. For adults that want to just learn at home at their own pace, there are music books geared for self-teaching. And most important with any new skill, Practice, Practice, Practice.