Tracey Steele Music Academy (TSMA) in Roxboro consistently brings home medals from the Royal Conservatory exams in Toronto each year. However, this year 17 year old student, Cyril Nader, took away a gold medal along with the highest score in Quebec after only four years of piano study.
“I practice two hours a day in the weeks before exams,” Dollard resident Nader told The Suburban in an interview, “I go into the Academy to practice with other students so it a passes fast.”
TSMA’s founder Tracey Steele says it is important to pair the students up with students of the same level or higher for practicing. When the students see their peers getting medals they realize they can do the same.
With 25 years of piano teaching under her belt, Steele decided three years ago to open up her own school.
“I wanted the freedom to explore my teaching philosophy. I believe in teaching through community. The students practice for exams together. The older students help with the younger students.”
Each student taking an exam at Koerner Hall in Toronto has to play three pieces from each of the historical eras. Baroque era, Classical era and the twentieth century. They have to play in front of the examiner as well as complete technical requirements.
According to Steele, one of the school’s initiatives is called Share the Joy, where students go out into the community to play music for seniors.
“I try to teach the students that they can use their talent to touch the community. The students venture out together to play music at seniors residents.” Steele explained,” When you are dealing with teenagers there has to be a greater purpose to keep them interested, Share the Joy also forms a bond between them when they go out and help others together.”
The Academy opened it’s doors in Roxboro 3 years ago and currently teaches more than 110 students each week mostly after school and on weekends. Students range from all ages including university students and adults. The school also offers guitar lessons.