Music Conservatory offers everything from ‘accordion to xylophone’

Convenient location for U of W students to take music lessons

The Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts (MCMA), located in Bryce Hall at the University of Winnipeg (U of W), has many opportunities for university students and staff to pursue music education. While the U of W does not offer music degrees, majors or minors, the MCMA is enriching artistic life on campus.

This institution offers private music lessons, as well as various other programs, courses, workshops and ensembles.

Haeln Gebre, a U of W theatre and psychology student, has been taking voice lessons at the MCMA for a year and finds they help her university studies, especially her theatre courses.

She says that her teachers Sydney Clarke and Jacqueline Harding make her “think about what the song is actually about and not just sing pretty.”

The MCMA, previously located in the Exchange District, moved to its current location in July 2014.

Norine Harty, executive director of the MCMA, discusses the move, saying “it was very important that we stayed central.”

“The great thing about being on campus is being part of a vibrant community and being part of a centre for advanced learning,” she says.

“It’s great to have them on campus, only a five-minute walk from my classes,” Gebre says.

In addition to offering individual classes, group appreciation courses, workshops and ensembles, the MCMA provides studio space to university students to practice for free.

“That has been extremely popular,” Harty says. According to her, 70 per cent of practice time at the conservatory is used by U of W and Collegiate students.

Harty says that while people perceive music conservatories as being strictly classical institutions, the MCMA teaches “accordion to xylophone and anything in between.”

“We have everything from bluegrass, jazz, classical, musical theatre and so many other options,” she says, noting that one of their more popular classes is for the ukulele.

Harty encourages university students to enroll in the MCMA, saying “students are welcome.”

“If there’s a class that people would like us to hold, let us know,” she says. “We are happy to have any feedback from anyone.”

Gebre says that while juggling her university courses and music lessons can be difficult, her music teachers are very flexible.

“If I’m really stressed or busy some week, my vocal teachers are very understanding and allow me to reschedule lessons accordingly,” she says.

Adult programs offered in the winter session include Continuing Fiddleworks, Chamber Music Ensemble, Vocal Expressions, Introduction to Music Theory, Noon-Hour Vocal Point, Beginning the Ukulele and Continuing the Ukulele.

Upcoming workshops include Vocal Diction for Beginners on Nov. 16, The Merry MCMA Carolers on Dec. 14 and Energy Healing for Musicians on Jan. 25.

For more information on the programs offered by the MCMA, visit

Published in Volume 74, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 7, 2019)

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