About Creative Guitar Studio...
History of Creative Guitar Music Instruction in Winnipeg:
Creative Guitar Studio first opened for business in 1992.
Andrew Wasson moved back to Winnipeg, MB. after
graduating from the
Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA.
While at G.I.T. Andrew attended a Music Business class that covered
Music Instruction. The decision was made to start a Guitar Studio
upon returning home. At that time there were no formal private
music schools dedicated solely to the guitar.
It was in mid April of 1992 that the Creative Guitar Studio program began. Five years later, in 1997 the final book of the Advanced Program was completed. The first graduate of the coarse, "Bernard Kehler," (currently teaching and playing professionally in Toronto), graduated in 1997. Some graduates have taught at Creative Guitar over the years, some have gone on to teach at other Winnipeg Music Schools. Others, such as 1998 graduate, "Robert Hrabluk," opted for further training at the University of Winnipeg - Concord College. Most of the players involved in the Creative Guitar Studio Advanced Guitar Player Program are pursuing a career in the music business.
The Winnipeg music teachers focusing on teaching advanced guitar were
guiitar instructors such as; Tim Cummings,
Tony DesMarteau, and Chet
Breau. Each of them well established in Winnipeg's guitar teaching
community. There was a Professional Music College operating in Winnipeg
at the time called, "The
Professional Musicians College," (known around town as; P.M.C.).
Head of the guitar department was
Greg Lowe. But, the P.M.C. was a full time school, and those in
attendance were there seeking accredited education in the music
business. It unfortunately closed due to low attendance in 1994.
Afterwhich, no other
private college took it's place. Creative Guitar was the only
remaining music school with a highly developed academic guitar
coarse which a student could attend and achieve a high level of
structured education on the instrument.
Producing quality curriculum for students to use was of primary importance. There were two important curriculum goals:
1). Curriculum a student could easily understand.
2). Curriculum which was at their own level and had an
This is why each course has ten study units, and they all have exams at the end of each course. Andrew explains, "Just asking a new student, 'what do you want to learn,' is pretty much wasting their time, because most new students don't actually know."
Upon beginning a course the Creative Guitar student feels like there is a plan to follow, a map that leads to a destination.
It began with four students, traveling to their homes...
The first students, (there were four), were taught in their own homes. Within a month there were 18 students and Andrew leased a small one room office at 1311 Portage Ave. It worked well for 2 years. But, with over 50 students it was becoming clear that more space would be needed.
In 1994 a major move was made. A main floor vacancy in one of Winnipeg's heritage buildings went up for rent. The space was over 2000 sq. feet. A musician friend of Andrew's named Terry Zurylo wanted to establish a second location for his keyboard instruction business downtown to service students that lived in central Winnipeg.
In October of 1994 Creative Guitar Studio and Keyboard Ventures Music Instruction launched a joint venture in the Exchange District. This new studio located at 290 McDermot. finally offered the space needed to create the kind of environment Andrew wanted for Creative Guitar. A firm believer in seminars for intermediate and advanced students, Andrew set out over the next three years to promote monthly musician seminars in Winnipeg. On Nov. 29th, 1994 seminars began monthly and have continued over the years to include such high profile musicians as Greg Lowe, Barry G. Player, Steve Hamilton, Kevin Radomsky, Ben Kehler, and studio director Andrew Wasson.
For as much opportunity that the downtown location presented, it also had it's drawbacks. High rent and taxes, poor parking and a lack of any community, (neighborhood residents), saw few younger students attending classes. Andrew comments, "the overall numbers were there, the rent was paid, but it was almost all adults and I needed to attract more long term teenaged students. Those are the ones who once they get into playing and studying it will stick with them for several years."
Moving into Communities:
Between 1997-1999 the studio branched
The summer of '97 would be the last summer spent at the McDermot Ave. studio. The downtown location couldn't compete with the residential community of Wolseley for attracting new students.
The Wolseley studio offered an excellent group instruction area on the main floor. Guitar seminars by Pat Lussier, Tim Cummings, Tony DesMarteau and Derrick Gottfried were held there over the next year. During that time, music store owner, Sam Trachilis, in St.Boniface approached Andrew about opening yet another location at his Quest Musique store on Provencher Blvd. Andrew opened his second location there in December of 1997.
The Quest Musique location was newly renovated and also had a nice seminar area. Musician's Murray Pulver, Tim Cummings, Steve Hamilton, and Andrew Wasson held seminars there. Part of the business arrangement Andrew worked out with Sam included establishing a music school at Quest for all other instruments aside from guitar. This mean't creating the systems of payment, bookings and structure of the Quest lessons services. Andrew designed the Quest Music School systems after the Creative Guitar systems he was already using, including a computer software program. These systems are still in use today with Quest Musique's new Portage Ave. location boasting a thriving music school for Sam's students.
A concern Andrew began having was that two locations in the city spread the unique services he offered too thin. One central location, with all of the resources in one place needed to be established once again, (like the downtown location), to service the increasing demand for the courses being taught. In January 1999, a decision was made to purchase one of the Historic character homes in the Crescentwood / River Heights area. It was time to create one permanent central community location. It would have the space of the McDermot Ave. studio and the prime location of being in an established residential community.
In July 1999 the Dr. William A. McIntyre house at the corner of Dorchester Ave. and Harrow St. was purchased for the home of Creative Guitar. The main floor was renovated into the teaching studio, seminar room, and waiting area. And, a recording / rehearsal studio was built on-site. Classes began in mid-August of 1999 and enrollment continues to be at peak attendance.
The Dr. William A. McIntyre House:
The Studio Began Teaching Guitar Classes Here in 1999.
Courtesy: City of Winnipeg property & planning public archives...
The building was constructed in 1911 near the high point of Winnipeg's golden era of growth. It was a time when the City of Winnipeg was Western Canada's leader in every aspect.
Builder Frank Thorpe purchased the lot on the Northwest corner of Dorchester Ave. and Harrow St. These were the newly renamed roads, formerly known as Gertrude Ave. and Amelia St. In 1911 he built the dwelling to his own specification. The framed structure was 30' square with 18" stone foundation walls and concrete footings. the building cost $7000.00 to construct.
Thorpe sold the property to Dr. William A. McIntyre and his wife Florence S. McIntyre. Dr. McIntyre was the principle of the Boy's Central School and became the City's School Divisions first mathematical master. He was appointed to the staff of the Provincial Normal School and in 1893 took over the position of principle, a post he held for the next 40 years. He was a strong advocate for the improvement of the education of the province's teachers.
He and his wife raised five children in the dwelling and he died in 1938. His wife sold the property shortly after his death. From 1939-48 the property was owned by the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada and was used as a residence for managers and assistants of the company. In 1952 Dr. Marcel C. Blanchaer and his wife Fay purchased the property. Dr. Blanchaer was a biochemist and would become a professor at the University of Manitoba. In the 1970's the home was owned by Vernon S. and Noelle C. Barnes. Mr. Barnes was the manager of a Canadian Imperial Bank branch. In the 1980's the property was owned by Sheena W. McMahon until it was sold to Andrew Wasson in July of 1999.
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