Tag Archives: music

Organic Music Lessons

idearabbit_organic_music1My friend had partnered up with his friend to create a music lesson school called Organic Music Lessons. I was asked to try out their complementary first lesson – 1 hour of your choice of instrument from guitar, drums or bass. They knew I was going to review on my blog, but anyone can sign up for the complimentary lesson on their website to check them out.

I had a nice (and a bit pricey) acoustic guitar, that unfortunately have sat in the closet… My brother started taking lessons when he was a teenager, and I kind of learned a few basics by watching him, and reading some tabs. Different from reading musical notes (I learned piano when growing up – though never got really into it…not until much later when I was in college, but by then, I was too busy and spending too much money on tuition).

I took a basic course in a classroom that was held by what was formerly Vancouver School Board (now Langara), maybe about 2 years ago, but I never got to practice after that…

Sheepie came along with his guitar that he had picked up as it was someone’s trash. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. He got new strings from Tom Lee, and used a chopstick for the broken bridge. But surprisingly, it was better tuned that my brand new guitar.

The studio is located at 1890 Pandora. My lesson was at 7:30pm on a Wednesday. It was in a dark area, and I didn’t know what to expect. I found the address, but the small sign above the door said something like Pandora Box Studio… so I was confused. I asked two guys who were smoking if they knew of a Organic Music Lessons. They didn’t. They told me that it could be on the other side of the building…or to ask the staff. There was sort of a reception area, but no staff. I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to wait. In fact, I was thinking the suite #2 was more like an office number, so I started looking for it. It was way on the other side of the building. As we walked down the halls, we could hear others jamming. There were maybe about 25 other rooms. Sheepie said it reminded him of Berlin. It did feel like the clientele were more on the ‘rock’ side.

When I finally found #2, I figured it was the right place only because a printed out schedule with Organic Music Lessons’ logo was on it. I was expecting an office kind of floorplan – reception room, with smaller rooms in the back. Instead, I ended up barging in on a one small room with the previous customer. Ooops…sorry T_T

idearabbit_organic_music2Our instructor was Tom who’s been playing instruments all his life, and teaching for 12 years. We were asked what we wanted out of our lesson. Since Sheepie and I were both kind of newbies at guitar, we didn’t really know. But Tom started out with the basics – which were really helpful. We both got the attention individually, something that was difficult when I was taking guitar in a classroom setting.

I wasn’t well prepared with my slightly grown out nails…it was hard to push down on the strings… should have thought of cutting them before coming to the lesson x_x…

We gradually built more techniques on top of the previous. I can actually play some chord-based songs which I learned from my brother way back then, but working on the basics was really hard – mostly for me because I was trying to undo my bad habits. I knew I wasn’t holding the guitar properly as I would feel a great strain in my wrist. Tom told me I was hyper-extending in an awkward way, and taught me the proper position/posture. Because I was focused on both the posture and the notes, my brain was in a tangle even for plucking a few strings.

However, this lesson was a good foundation to start from. Tom said he practiced it for about a year till he mastered it. It will take me a lot longer…but it has motivated me to get back a bit into playing instruments – just have to find time!

idearabbit_organic_music3The last 5 minutes of the hour, Dan (the ‘manager’) came in to go over some admin stuff, talking more about the lessons and rates. They offer 1 hour and 30 minute lessons, but the hour we experienced went by pretty fast. I know from experience that when I took 30 minute piano lessons, it was how Dan described it. You come in, set up, do reviews from the previous week, and then try to squeeze in 5 minutes of something new. So the hour long lessons are the best. You can check out the rates here.

The room has quite a number of speakers and instruments. Some people may feel a bit claustrophobic in there. I’m ok with small places, so it didn’t bother me. The place was clean. I didn’t use the washroom so can’t comment on that.

I was really happy with my lesson. Tom was a really down-to-earth and friendly guy with patience. They currently have a promo for $37/hour for the monthly package (meaning 1 hour of lesson a week for a month) if one signs up within the 7 days after the complimentary lesson. It’s a great deal, but unfortunately for me, I am about to embark on a new chapter as a teacher myself (not in guitar though! LOL), so music will have be postponed a bit…

Give Organic Music Lessons a try! Let me know what you guys think in the comments section below.

Vancouver School Board: Continuing Education

Vancouver School Board: Continuing Education

So, you’ve been out of high school for a while. You’ve gone to University or College. You’ve got your major and you’re working, but you want to learn things that you didn’t have the opportunity to. If you’re looking for an affordable way, check out VSB Continuing Ed classes. Many classes are super inexpensive – the cheapest ones I know of in any disciplinary. I’ve taken French 1, German 1 and currently taking Guitar 1 (8 sessions of 2 hours each $120-$150). That makes it about $8 an hour, making it much more affordable than my friend who is taking private guitar lessons for $25 per 30 minutes.

Of course there are pros and cons in learning with a group. For learning a language, it can be good to hear how people speak and interact. However, depending on your level, you may find the class going too slow or too fast for your needs. I found the German class too slow, since I had been teaching myself for a few months prior. Though the class was good review and helped clarify things.

Guitar is the same, though I think it suits my friend to take the private classes as he has never held a guitar or played much music. The Contd. Ed. may be too fast for him. For me, since I took piano lessons and have played around with my brother’s guitar, it’s actually going at a good pace.

Classes are small, usually 8-12 people per class, so it’s a good size.
Because it is a course, scheduling isn’t as flexible as private lessons. However, the teachers are excellent – usually teaching full time in their field, so you’re not getting someone who just knows a bit about the subject.

It’s easy to register online. At the end of the course, you get a certificate stating you’ve completed the course. I don’t think you can really use it for anything, as everyone gets it. Even a guy who almost never came to class got it at the end – actually, in the last class, he just came by to pick it up. LOL.
It’s a good motivational way to get you pumped into the subject, though don’t expect to become good at it just through completing the course. Most of the time, you do have to spend quite a bit outside of class to get a handle on things. Just depends on how good you want to get.

Try it out! There are plenty of courses to choose from!


LaDida was featured in this year’s September issue of Entrepreneur magazine in the Young Millionaires of 2011. At only 29 years old, the co founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Khu.sh, Prerna Gupta is changing the way people make music. Even if you are tone-deaf, you’d sound pretty awesome. Just click on the Youtube video to see how it works!


You record yourself singing, and then the app will correct the pitch of your voice, and add background music to match. Presto! You’re a new singing sensation!! :P

Unfortunately, the app is only available for iphone users at this time. However, there seems to be similar apps for Android users.