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We dare not mention the word spring, for fear of jinxing reality into a permanent Arctic Figure Eight, a reality where but one season reigns supreme.

Queen Winter has seized our city with ice storms, and mountains of snow, transforming the landscape into one resembling that of another dimension. A kingdom claimed in stark white.

As we hold our earmuffs close, we hold out for reinforcements. Even if the rescue team consists of just a handful of positive degrees to thaw Winter’s total occupation. The stage for battle will be set in these last weeks of March, and hopefully the people will be led to an era marked with fun and sunshine.

Here at TIFEM, we are hopeful. We see a future where families roam the sidewalks and kids scoot by on bikes and skateboards. A day when the Skating Rink of Death melts away into Trinity Bellwoods and explodes with all of the sights and sounds and scents of another S word we dare not mention.

Come prepare for a wave of rejoicing and learn to play your favourite tunes on the uke or guitar at our Group Guitar or Ukulele Drop In Classes. Or, sign up for our private lessons in a variety of different instruments and get the specific focus you need to bring all of your musical visions into reality.

March/Spring Break

TIFEM Spring Break

In conjunction with the relentless rhythms of the universe, the music at TIFEM never stops, even at March break.

Should you or the musician in your life experience a window of extra leisure time this break, feel free to use some of that spare time to fast track you on your way to your musical goals.

Instructors will be more than happy to schedule you in for some extra lesson time during the week if you are so inclined.

Practice rooms are usually available at some point during the day for those of you who’d like to stop by and get a good chunk of wood shedding in. Talk to us about booking a time slot in one of our studios.

Drop-In classes are also a brilliant way to supplement what you’re learning in your lessons and a wonderful opportunity to play along with other musicians.

Ideal for any level, including beginners, the Drop-In classes are a delightful plan for a fun and engaging afternoon activity with friends or on your own. The more the merrier.

TIFEM Post-St Patrick's Day Fiddle Workshop & Ceilidh

In celebration of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, we offer a fantastic workshop and concert covering Irish and Scottish fiddle and accompaniment styles for guitar and cello.

Led by Lea Kirstein (fiddle), Rachel Capon (cello) and Irena Perkovic (guitar), the workshop will be a crash course in learning and arranging some traditional pub-style tunes with an emphasis on style, rhythm and beginning ornamentation.

Workshop participants on violin and cello should already know note names and a few simple tunes on their respective instruments. Guitarists should be familiar with basic chord shapes as well as have the ability to switch chords in real time.

Lea’s workshops are becoming a hit here at TIFEM and it’s no surprise that her Celtic fiddle workshops have gained the attention of the Celtic community not only in Toronto but in B.C. as well.

The workshop will conclude with an authentic Ceilidh, or set of dance based tunes. The concert will be open to anyone who wishes to watch, listen and dance, and not only to workshop participants.

Workshop Info:
Date: Saturday, March 22
Capacity: 15 persons for workshop, 25 for concert
Family Rate: $30 for whole family
Concert Only: Adults $10,  Children $5
Individual: $20-Includes workshop and concert

Workshop Schedule:
2:45pm-3:45pm: Workshop
3:45pm-4:00pm: Break
4:00pm-5:00pm: Concert

To reserve a seat, you can purchase your ticket in advance over the phone or in person at TIFEM.

TIFEM Music Festival

TIFEM Music Festival

Among others, one thing that makes TIFEM stand out as not your average music school is the fact that we foster many opportunities for our students to carve out their musical identities through live performance.

A new such opportunity is on the horizon as the first TIFEM Music Festival of 2014 approaches. All of our students will have a chance to perform during the two day extravaganza, Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6.

As spring begins to flourish, so too can your music, as all of your hard work through these cold winter months is rewarded with the joy of sharing with others.

Time flies, as we all know, and especially when one is musically engaged so mark those calendars and see you underneath the festival lights.

TIFEM Open Mic

TIFEM Open Mic

Proof that we are not lying about the abundance of performance opportunities here at TIFEM, we present another edition of our monthly Open Mic series.

The Open Mic is free to the general public, as performers or spectators. TIFEM student or not we invite anyone who may have something musical to administer to ears in need.

As far as the audience and overall vibe go,  the TIFEM Open Mic can’t be beat, as the crowd consists solely of music lovers and musicians alike.

Ideal for a first time or seasoned performer, or a presentation of eclectic music off the beaten path of the bar scene or the mainstream.

Sign-up time: 8pm
Open Mic: 9pm



We hold a very special place in our hearts for the next generation of musicians and music fans, and this joyful enthusiasm is a jumping off point for each and every TIFEM KIDS Class.

TIFEM KIDS is a creative and fun way to educate children ages 2-5 about the way music works, and the connection between sound and the world around us.

Children will play music related games and learn about some of the basic mechanics of music through group activities. The spacious and musically active TIFEM Environment, with it’s bright front room, and many other nooks to explore filled with instruments galore, is an ideal atmosphere for you and your child to discover the arts.

You never know, TIFEM KIDS could be, pardon the pun, instrumental in preparing your child for a sharp schooling career. Many of us are aware of the fact that music improves memory, motor skills and helps children become successful in mathematics.

At TIFEM we stand by the philosophy that Music Is For Everyone, and this includes the little ones poised to be the next Paganini or even the next Pasteur.

TIFEM Teacher Shout Outs - Erik Arnesen

TIFEM Teacher Shout Outs - Erik Arnesen

This month we feature banjo and guitar instructor, Erik Arnesen.

Erik is a bright and knowledgeable musician who is as familiar with the music of Daft Punk and Jay Z as he is with more traditional styles of music generally explored by string players.

We’re always thrilled when one of our instructors achieves success for their work and we support and acknowledge Erik for his success in Great Lake Swimmers.

Great Lake Swimmers were nominated for the 2009 Polaris Prize for their outstanding album called Lost Channels and that year were also nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award.

Most recently, the band released their album, New Wild Everywhere in 2012, scoring a top 40 hit with their song, “Easy Come Easy Go”. A new Great Lake Swimmers album is slated for release later this year.

Erik’s duties in GLS don’t end at guitar and banjo playing. He also adds the Indian droning instrument, the harmonium to the mix on occasion. Another example of Erik’s eclectic taste, and extensive knowledge of music of all types.

We got a chance to see Erik perform a couple of summers ago at the Hillside Festival in Guelph and he and his band seemed at home on the main stage, in front of an audience who obviously were jazzed to see a band they knew and loved. Hopefully we get to catch GLS again soon.

We wish Erik continued success with the Swimmers’ new album and we’re super happy to have such a talented and friendly guy in our midst.

Hogtown Hometown Heroes - Chilly Gonzales

Hogtown Hometown Heroes - Chilly Gonzales

From the 427 to the River Rouge, Lake Ontario on up to Steeles Ave, we bring you the city’s best, past present and future.

This month we feature a gifted pianist, composer, producer and even rapper called Jason Charles Beck, better known to the music world as Chilly Gonzales.

Beck wasn’t born here in Toronto, nor does he live here, but he is a legit testament to the quality of the Toronto Crescent School alumni, and is connected deeply with the Toronto and Canadian music communities. Besides that we love his music.

Chilly has had a long and diverse career first finding success with a band called Son on Warner Bros. records. The band toured with Barenaked Ladies and released more material on Warner before eventually splitting with the record company.

Beck’s next move was Berlin. He released three albums under the German Kitty Yo label. These albums were rap albums for the most part, and Gonzales was heralded for his electronic keyboard work on the album. He scored a hit called, “Let’s Groove Again”, which was his first single for the German label. 

Gonzales, in 2004 took another stunning turn with Solo Piano, which remains his best selling album to date. There is also a sequel to the album. (Solo Piano II)

His solo piano work has been compared to the work of French pianist, Erik Satie. The music is instrumental, and evocative, almost trance-like at times.

Solo Piano II was longlisted for the Polaris Prize, and Chilly Gonzales has contributed to Award winning albums such as Feist’s The Reminder and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

On May 18th, 2009, he broke a world record for the longest solo-artist performance with a total time of 27 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds, in a theatre in Paris, France.

Gonzales’ most famous song is most probably “Never Stop”, which was featured in the original Apple iPad commercials.

Currently, Chilly Gonzales is working with Berlin based electro producers Boys Noize and American Rapper Domo Genesis.

TIFEM Springtime Jams II

TIFEM Springtime Jams II

We know what you’re thinking.

Issuing a Springtime Jams playlist?

When the only shades you need are shielding you from the glare off the snow, only you don’t need them because there is like, zero sun? 

Among other things, music has the power to transform and although we don’t recommend playing these songs before March 20 we think that somehow the way the notes are arranged in these songs will help coax the warm fronts our way.

01. Beginning To See The Light - The Velvet Underground
02. Spring Song - Felix Mendelssohn
03. Time of the Season - The Zombies
04. Their Hearts Were Full of Spring - The Beach Boys
05. Dancing In The Streets - Martha and the Vandellas
06. Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens
07. Let’s Sing A Gay Little Spring Song - Bambi
08.Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder
09. Springtime Again - Sun Ra
10. In Bloom - Nirvana
11. The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy
12. Sun Is Shining - Bob Marley