Music and Play began as Appassionato Music in 2008 when owner Colleen Lindenbach began teaching the Music for Young Children (MYC)® curriculum and fell in love with the benefits of group music education. As word of mouth spread about Appassionato Music, enrollment increased exponentially over the next 18 months and in year two, Appassionato began to offer the renowned Music Pups® program from the leading US music educator – The Music Class. These parented classes, for children aged six months through three years, also quickly filled and soon the Company had waiting lists for all of its programming. In late 2010, the company also secured the exclusive rights to offer the Music Pups® curriculum in Calgary and began to offer classes outside of their west Calgary location.
A NEW NAME AND A NEW HOME
At the urging of parents, in early 2011, the Company took the next step in its evolution. The company incorporated and rebranded as Music and Play with a goal of continuing to offer leading music programs as well as launching new private lesson and vocal and theatre arts programming. This more robust arts education curriculum allowed students to continue their arts education through a variety of disciplines and on a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, strings, woodwinds, percussion and voice.
With this new name also came a move to a larger space a 2,200sf studio in the Aspen Landing Shopping Centre enabling Music and Play’s transition to an integrated performing arts school. In order to accommodate this programming expansion, we also added another 1,500 sf of space to our current studio and in the summer of 2015 undertook a minor renovation to address an increase in demand for private lessons from our continually growing student base.
As Music and Play grew, it meant introducing theatre arts and dance, older group piano classes as well as a new unparented Music Adventures program – for families who could not attend parented classes. In the fall of 2017, the company also transitioned to the newly-revised Keyboard Adventures: The Safari™ program for our age 4-1/2 to 11 group music students.
THE NEXT PHASE
After almost a decade at Aspen Landing, and with some not so gentle prodding by COVID-19, it was time to make a move to a larger more artist-focused space. So, in September 2020, Music and Play (with new branding to M&P) opened its doors of the new 7,500sf M&P space. The new studio is conveniently located at 6919 – 32 Avenue NW, just a few minutes north of our current location near the intersection of Sarcee and Hwy 16. This new Studio location allowed M&P to almost triple its previous square footage, with more space meaning M&P could serve artists of all ages in Calgary BETTER and – most importantly – more SAFELY and allow M&P to adapt to whatever the future may throw at us all next.
This short move took M&P to a free-standing location with limited shared space and to an area where the new Trinity Hills, and other developments, are set make the area a wonderful destination for Calgary families! With this move, M&P not only continued as West Calgary’s leading music school but also as the city’s largest and safest! And, while the new studio included a ‘NW’ address, this new location is as much in the ‘NW’ as the old studio was in ‘SW’ meaning that M&P’s current families could continue to enjoy convenient access to the leading West Calgary studio they had come to trust and enjoy, while allowing even greater ease of accessibility to new students in the West and Northwest areas of the city!
Why the move? Well, 2020 was life-changing for everyone and we have all learned a lot. We have learned that our world will never be the same, that people are incredibly resilient, and that health & safety will be the vital focus of every individual and institution for the foreseeable future. From cleaning, to sanitizing, to wearing masks, to – most importantly – social distancing, every part of our lives has changed. Through it all however, M&P has remained focused on our company’s mission of over a decade – to provide top quality music and arts education to students of all ages in Calgary. At M&P, we are committed to BUILDING GREAT PEOPLE and, in order to move forward in this reality, we must acknowledge these learnings and the changes that will be required within the arts education landscape to successfully serve students who choose to grow through music and the arts.
In addition to the move to a larger space in 2020, M&P also elevated its virtual lesson offerings – to both address the challenges of the pandemic and those learners who prefer this method of instruction. And for those in our theatre arts programming, M&P continues to support and challenge these students in – and out of – the studio to grow through our musical theatre programming.
THE M&P COMMUNITY
Since early 2012, students and families from across Calgary have called Music and Play home. During this time, we have welcomed over 5,000 students through our doors and have been privileged to offer the leading music programs in the City for artists of all ages. Over the years, we have watched our students grow and change – and we have done so as well.
This can all sound impressive and some might think it would thus be impersonal and really commercial…however that couldn’t be further from the truth. At M&P it is not simply about getting numbers through the door – however that does help to pay the bills. You may notice that at M&P it’s not the name of the owner on the door – that’s because M&P is dedicated to its students and building great people – people who embrace ‘music and play’ for their lifetime. M&P’s owners and faculty come from extensive backgrounds in education and the performing arts and have high standards when it comes to blending the two, but they all know that it’s not about them – it’s about their students. They know the joys, and struggles, of pursuing a dream in the arts and this is why M&P makes sure that students come first. This means providing a nurturing, high quality learning environment where our students can achieve and reach THEIR goals. Our stringent standards actually pose one of the greatest challenges for the company as not every teacher is right to teach at Music and Play as much as we might need more bodies from time to time to facilitate growth. At Music and Play we want our students to go beyond the notes, the words and the steps and into the world of creativity and the arts!
We would like to thank everyone who has supported M&P over the last decade. We look forward to the next decade as we will continue to grow together with our faculty and students, their families and our community and as we continue to change the way performing arts education should be delivered.