CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Pinnacle Music School ready to welcome students back

By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council

Whether you think of music as “the strongest form of magic” (Marilyn Manson), an antidote to pain (Bob Marley), the “soundtrack of your life” (Dick Clark) or the means to wash “away from the soul the dust of everyday life” (Berthold Auerbach), it undeniably has the power to life spirits, heal hearts, change minds and inspire dreams.

Can you imagine navigating the pandemic, let alone everyday life, without music?

If listening to music is this good for the soul, consider the benefits of a music education; countless studies have shown that learning to play an instrument leads to better memory recall, cognition and attention in children, adults and seniors.

If you’ve got a kid with some rock n’ roll dreams, or perhaps it’s been over a decade since you last tickled the ivories, look no further than downtown Belleville for the best in musical instruction.

Pinnacle Music School, one of the largest music schools in Eastern Ontario and the biggest in Quinte Region, has been operating in downtown Belleville for over two decades.

It began as part of Pinnacle Music Studios, started in 1997 by Janet and Ken Harnden at 214 Pinnacle Street, before moving to 261 Front Street in 2001.

The main floor housed the retail department that sold sheet music, musical instruments, accessories and, in particular, pianos and keyboards; in fact, Pinnacle Music was the only authorized dealer of Yamaha Pianos in eastern Ontario.

The second floor was home to a teaching studio with 10 individual teaching rooms and a large waiting area.

Despite the closing of the retail department of Pinnacle Music Studios in summer 2020, the teachers at the newly rebranded Pinnacle Music School kept teaching.

“Because the main floor storefront has been closed for a year, we notice that many people in Belleville think that the teaching studio has also closed,” says Pinnacle teacher Duncan Cooper. “So we’re keen to get the word out to dispel that notion.”

He adds: “While the teachers at Pinnacle have had success at effectively teaching many of our students using online conferencing platforms, some of our students and parents have decided to wait out the pandemic… So as we come out of the pandemic restrictions, we look forward to rebuilding our client numbers.”

Pinnacle offers a wide range of experienced and highly skilled teachers, including: Joe Kennedy (guitar), Ed Conley (drums, guitar, bass guitar), Pat Ross (piano, RCM exams, RCM theory), Janice Fast (piano, RCM exams, RCM theory), Duncan Cooper (piano, pop & jazz piano, pop & jazz theory, RCM theory), Veronique Kwakkernaat (flute), Amber Walton-Amar (cello), and Derek Morris (violin).

Students range in age from six to adult, including some in their 70s and 80s, and proficiency from beginner to experienced and every level in between. Looking forward, Pinnacle Music School will be moving to 360 Pinnacle Street in October.