At the end of eight-weeks of rock camp at Snider School of Music, the sessions culminate with a performance at Rockie Raccoons pub.
“When I gutted the basement, the main idea was to build a large music room to house the rock band,” Warren Snider says from the Yonge Street and Bowood Avenue school. “I just wanted to have a supplement to the kids’ one on one lesson because a lot of them have been coming for years and they only play by themselves but the beauty of music is meeting other people, other kids who are the same age, with like minded music interest.”
Snider School of Music, which sees roughly 750 to 800 students per week, recently finished a major renovation with the addition of four new teaching studios plus the large music room in the basement.
“I’ve been working here since I was maybe 12, 13 years old, because it’s a family business,” he says, adding it was opened by his grandfather’s brother in 1949, before his grandfather Dave Snider took over in 1952. “My father Michael he was running it for years and then I worked part time, went to university, finished that, came back here and focused on the school and then eventually purchased the school and ran it as a separate entity.”
Although they maintain a small guitar centric retail component they’ve moved away from focusing on sheet music (aside from the classics like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones) to focus on the school. While guitar lessons are the most popular, vocal and piano are close behind, he says, crediting the popularity of Glee. The majority of students are between 10 and 15 but they also have kids as young as five-and-a-half all the way up to 80 years old, he says.
“There’s actually been in influx in girls playing guitar, 10 to 14 year old girls playing guitar,” he says. “I think it’s due to Taylor Swift, which is great I mean there’s a popular girl guitar player these days, which is kind of rare.”
The school also runs lunch programs with local schools including Bedford, Allenby and Whitney Junior Public School, which Snider hopes to expand into after school programming.
“We send teachers there and we have lunch programs, it’s a group class kind of an intro to guitar, intro to glee, intro to ukulele,” he says. “I would like to see more group lessons as well and if we can, run more rock band, more group ukulele, more events, demonstrations and tutorials.”
Although he briefly played piano growing up, he quickly switched to the trumpet, which his grandfather taught him, after hating his initial teacher, he says.
“Then I wanted to get more into the rock scene and picked up the bass, electric bass, and I’ve been playing that ever since so I’ve been playing bass for 20 years now, 21 maybe.”
Although he’d had many memorable moments in store, he counts his sister’s wedding as a highlight during which he performed alongside his grandfather, father, uncle and cousin.
“There were three generations of maybe five or six Sniders on stage playing music, which was very great, very memorable,” he says.
Over the years at the school, he’s witnessed many students start at a young age and go on to study music in university and finds it rewarding to see all the kids who come through.
“I’ve literally seen kids grow up here at the school,” he says. “I hope they get a lifelong interest in music. I just hope they kind of appreciate music and have a lifelong relationship with it.”
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