The Western Arctic School of Music (WASM) is set to open July 16.
Founder Glen Brake said the school will be barebones at first, but will eventually include a recording studio, recital space, an instrument repair shop and a retail store.
“I’m excited, it’s a dream,” said Brake.
The school is located at 45 Bonnetplume Rd. and will be open from Monday to Saturday. Brake said the school will offer lessons to anyone aged four and up.
Brake, who previously owned a music store and a polishing business in the south, said WASM may be the northernmost music school in North America.
“No one is doing this anywhere around here, except for Fiddles and Sticks in Yellowknife,” he said. “There’s no one in Nunavut, Dean’s Music in Whitehorse is shutting down, no one is doing this around and there’s a need for it. I have to do some more research, but as far as I know now, this is probably the northernmost music school in North America.”
Brake has big dreams for the school. He said one initiative he would like to implement is a train-the-trainer program.
“This isn’t just about the students. What I want to do is teach the teacher, train the trainer,” he said. “That way their own music skills are being honed, and they become better teachers at the same time.”
Brake said he also plans to bring music lessons out into the community to organizations such as Children First Society, the Inuvik Youth Centre and Aurora College.
He said he hopes the space will be one where everyone feels comfortable spending time.
“I’m thinking of opening the space up on Sunday afternoons for some gospel, to hang out and have coffee,” said Brake. “There will eventually be an area where we’ll offer coffee and snacks for students and parents waiting around. It will be healthy food, because that’s what I’m all about – encouraging healthy lifestyles.”
He hopes the school will build on what has already been done in the community.
“There’s been so many people before me who have thought of this or who have done something similar, and I just want to build on what they have already started over the years,” he said.
Above all, he wants WASM to support and grow local talent.
“I’m big on local talent and local artists, so I’ll support them through the school as much as I can,” he said. “It’s way bigger than me, I’m just a conduit. I hope others will eventually take this to a higher level.”