Avalon Music Academy offers several types of group-music situations.

- String Ensemble
- Guitar Ensemble
- Rock Band (Combo) Class
- Guitar Jam (for Adults)

There are some musicians who love to perform, but are only comfortable playing in group situations. The ensembles provide the perfect opportunity to gain experience playing in a group setting while learning to follow a conductor.

Anyone is welcome to join the ensembles at any time; membership is not limited to students enrolled in individual lessons, although these classes will not replace private lessons for those in need of instruction. Rehearsals are once a week, recitals and performances will take place several times a year.

The animosity often incurred in professional and community orchestras between first- and second-stand players, or principal and section players will not be permitted in these ensembles. One of the ways to eliminate this potential problem is to give everyone the chance to play first-stand, to be in front of the conductor, and also to play last-stand, at the back of the section. This arrangement allows everyone to learn that, although we are here to gain experience and become better players, we are also here to HAVE FUN. The "have fun" part is continually reiterated and ensured by the conductor.

What to bring to the ensemble rehearsals:
- your instrument
- a 3-ring binder for sheet music
- a pencil
- your enthusiasm and good humour

String Ensemble

This is for violin, viola and cello students in RCM Introductory to Grade 3 who have little or no orchestral or ensemble experience. It is a great opportunity to develop the skill of following a conductor and playing with other musicians.

Classes are 60 minutes long.

Cost: $60/month for Avalon students, ($70 for those not taking lessons at Avalon)
When: The next class will begin in September, but look
out for our Summer Camps


Guitar Ensemble

As the guitar is not an orchestral instrument (except in a concerto), classical guitarists rarely find opportunities to play in ensembles. The Guitar Ensemble is for guitarists from RCM Introductory Grade and up. It is not limited to classical students, but each player must be fairly comfortable reading standard notation.

As there are not a great many pieces of music written for several guitars, Stephen Parton has arranged a repertoire for guitar ensemble, many pieces of which have been played by the Victoria Guitar Orchestra (BC). Stephen has also arranged music for his "Musicbox Guitar Ensemble", which he conducted on Vancouver Island. This group of classical guitarists, ages 6 to 14, won first and second place respectively in the Upper (Vancouver) Island Music Festival, and the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival (guitar ensemble categories). Parton led the Musicbox Guitar Ensemble through other performances at churches and senior's centers around Nanaimo, and at the International Festival for Young Audiences 2000. The kids have experienced the joys of performing for adjudicators, appreciative audiences, and supportive parents.

Classes are 60 minutes long.

Cost: $60/month for Avalon students, ($70 for those not taking lessons at Avalon)
When: The next class will begin in September, but look
out for our Summer Camps.


Rock Band (Combo) Class

The rock band class is geared towards those students who have become competent on their instruments and are ready to form a band, but lack the experience necessary to integrate with other young musicians. We will provide all the equipment, including drums and a sound system. Enrollment is limited to drums, bass guitar, guitars, keyboards, and vocals.

Age range: well, if you're old enough to drive yourself to the class, you may feel out of place here. However, if you're a fan of Ozzy, Green Day, Nickelback and stuff that makes your parents flee, give us a call!

When: Saturdays (class is 2 hours)
Location: Dundas, Ancaster
Cost: $60-$80/month

There is also a rock band class in our Summer Camp.


Guitar Jam (for Adults)

The Guitar Jam class was put together with the intent of giving an opportunity to adults wishing to play songs with other adults of a similar skill level; the class is geared towards people who have little or no experience in music. The program will be enjoyable and stress-free, but at the same time promises to help the participants develop the skills necessary to play competantly with other musicians. Occasional ear training and music theory concepts will be addressed and applied as necessary, but in a relevant (and fun) context.

The material will range from easy to challenging, and will consist primarily of classic rock, folk and blues (Beatles, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd,
CCR, Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who etc).

The instructor is a well-respected bass player, vocalist and music arranger who spends much of his time telling the guitar players in his band what to do!

When: Saturdays (for one hour)
Location: Dundas
Cost: $50/month ($60 for those not taking lessons at Avalon)