School of rock

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Local musician makes teaching dream come true

Eric St-Cyr says teaching music sometimes isn’t about chords, or posture, or even notes. Sometimes, he says, it’s about something else entirely – the intangibles.

“I don’t think they come right out and say it,” the 20-something guitarist and vocalist begins. “But inevitably if a kid comes in with an electric guitar, I don’t wonder if they wanna be a rock star. It’s pretty obvious they do. “They’re not looking to be a virtuoso. They wanna learn a couple chords and know how to look cool with their guitar, and that’s cool, too.”

St-Cyr knows a thing or two about local rock stardom. Aside from his gig as honcho of Orléans’ latest music school, Eric’s Academy of Music, he’s also frontman of rock act twelve34, an Orléans-based power quintet who just released their latest album on indie label Cyclone Records.

The band put off an autumn tour of their second full-length record so St-Cyr could get his school rolling, he explains. The label, preferring a spring tour, agreed.

It’s a rock relationship that’s seen him tour dozens of bars and clubs since the band’s genesis in 2003. But while St-Cyr remains passionate about his music, he says touring in a rock band – most bedroom players’ dream come true – isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “The standard band in an independent label, when they do touring it’s really just to say that they did it,” he explains. “There’s no actual point of doing it because you don’t play to anybody.”

Enter Eric’s Academy of Music. St-Cyr says his years in the Ottawa music scene have, along with his ears, honed his little black book of musical contacts – that’s why he’s offering to teach any musical instrument out there, within reason. “Our mentality is, any instrument you want to play we’ll teach you,” explains St-Cyr. “We’ve had people throwing some bizarre instruments at us – I had this one guy ask me if we could teach him the sitar. What I’d do in that situation is go out and look for a sitar player who could teach it.”

Teaching has always been his greatest passion, he explains. Since graduating from college he’s supplemented his income by giving music lessons, and St-Cyr says the academy is a simple extension of that. “It’s the element of music that I really enjoy the most,” he says, adding the school's grand opening with draws for free lessons is taking place Saturday, Aug. 11. “Playing is a great experience, and making and writing music is great as well. But I find teaching someone, and being in control of their musical future is something that’s great.

You can connect with them, and try to spark the same interest.”


Music schools in Orléans

Eric’s Academy of Music, 1615 Orléans Blvd.

Domenic’s Academy of Music, 2297 St. Joseph Blvd.

Music Alive, 480 Charlemagne Blvd.

Allegro Music School, 16-1439 Youville Dr.

Organizations: Academy of Music, Allegro Music School

Geographic location: Orléans, Ottawa

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