One of the newest additions to The Eglinton Way is the Toronto Arts Academy. Currently celebrating its fourth year as Toronto’s Best Music School from the Consumer’s Choice Awards, the school has been a hit on Eglinton. Sheliza Esmail from The Eglinton Way BIA recently sat with Brandon Brophy to discover what the acclaimed music school has to offer.
The Eglinton Way: Firstly, can you tell me about the academy and your role?
Brandon: The Toronto Arts Academy is an extension of the work I’ve done as a music teacher and is a part of my company, Brandon Brophy Vocal Studios Inc (BBVS Inc). During my own music training, by celebrity teacher Seth Riggs, I learned a very technical approach to vocal coaching for contemporary music. I developed a vocal program that offered a more diversified and pragmatic approach, and the program was later picked up by Disney and Paul McCartney’s school LIPA. The Toronto Arts Academy is a means to reaching more people across more instruments.
The Eglinton Way: What is your teaching approach like and what classes are taught?
Brandon: The vocal program weaves together elements of classic instruction and training for contemporary singers. We work on artistic and stylistic skills that have not previously been taught. Our teachers, for all the instruments we teach, come from the industry and are passionate individuals, as are the students. Our recommended age for beginning classes is 5. However, we currently have a student who is only 2 years old working on percussion training. Getting students started right is what matters to us. We are also the only music school in the GTA that rewards students with trophies, certificates, and coloured wristbands for passing musical tests with their teacher. This motivates our students to practice even harder! Our programs of study include guitar, voice, piano, and drums.
The Eglinton Way: Where is your favorite spot in the city to hear live music and what do you think of the music scene in Toronto?
Brandon: I enjoy The Orbit Room on College Street and Rebel by the docks. I’ve visited there many items for client performances. Toronto has become a hub in North America for talented artists. Drake, Alessia Cara, Justin Bieber…these are just a few of the talents. I’ve worked with The Weeknd and Majid Jordon. Majid’s label is under OVO sound and his style really resonates the “Toronto sound” that the city is becoming known for.
The Eglinton Way: The artists here are truly unique and offer a lot to the contemporary music scene. What genre of music do you prefer the most?
Brandon: I am a little old school. I enjoy soul and R&B; Nothing like a little Donny Hathaway or Ella Fitzgerald for me.
The Eglinton Way: What has been your impression of The Eglinton Way so far?
Brandon: The neighbourhood has been very inviting so far. It has a real sense of community and a village feeling within an urban center. The energy is great and we’ve had a lot of local residents sign up for classes. We feel very welcomed and find the businesses here have been very supportive and generous to us as well.