Our Big Move & The School Improvement Project

After a solid 20-year run at our W 7th location, we welcomed the opportunity to relocate the School to our present space near the intersection of Quebec St & E 7th Ave (Q7). The timing was right – but it sure was tight! Our aim was to cause as little disruption as possible to piano and theory lessons, even in the summer. Thus, lessons were to continue at W 7th through mid-August and we would reopen with the first week of school in September at Q7. Looking back, it is hard to believe we actually managed to move within this time!

Our big move involved working with building managers and contractors to renovate the space. This process, which began in early summer, included replacing old carpet with a beautiful wood-laminate floor; sound-testing each room and installing soundproof materials inside the walls; repainting walls and doors from a faded pink to the current white-and-black; adding security features to all doors; and installing Wi-Fi (of course!) for the convenience of our students and parents. With the new location ready to go, we called in the movers. Our extensive music library, paperwork and furniture took 8 hours to transfer; our dozen instruents took 5 hours. Then came the long process of settling in. We worked with a young furniture designer and local craftsman for the built-in wood cabinets in each classroom. We curated series of sheet music from our decommissioned music archive and other memorabilia to adorn the walls. Although it is a new location, our goal was to imbue our space with meaningful reflections of our 50-year history while updating our overall feel and look.

How many men does it take to move a piano?
(Left) Packing up the Knabe Grand. (Right) Hauling the instrument up the main stairwell at Q7

At our new Q7 location, we are joining what is fast becoming a vibrant artistic hub: downstairs from us is Arts Umbrella’s Q7 facility for their dance programs; across the street is the Sarah Mclachlan School of Music and a block away is the renowned Goh Ballet Academy, which many of our students also attend. While children have their lessons, parents can take younger siblings to a nearby community park, grab coffee at any number of trendy spots along Main Street, or shop at Whole Foods, Canadian Tire, Best Buy and Home Depot just a few blocks away – all open until 10pm. As more young families are moving into the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, Cambie Corridor and Olympic Village complexes, we envision ourselves thriving in this dynamic and energetic environment. And we hope you will, too!

To raise the necessary funds to create a comfortable and creative learning environment for our students, parents and teachers, and to help with the renovation and moving expenses, we are launching THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, which will involve students, parents, teachers and alumni. We welcome your fundraising ideas and contributions to make our School space the best that it can be, to make it the most conducive to our educational and musical goals. Stay tuned!

(Left) Susan Wong Lim and Angela Barbour supervise six heavyweight piano movers as they move the Steinway Grand into the performance room. (Right) Jessie Kumagai, Angela Barbour and Kristin Lim unwrap stereo equipment.