When you explore Greek Town on the Danforth in Toronto, you might hear the vibrant, bitter-sweet sounds of the Greek bouzouki, Turkish saz, or the Turkish/Arabic oud. This diverse community is the home of not only Greeks, but also Turks, Arabs, and Albanians, all of whom share a deep cultural affinity with these instruments. It here that you will find Elite Music Academy, a school at the forefront of an exciting type of fusion representative of all the cultures that make up this diverse community. If you should walk into Elite Music, where these instruments are sold, you can also book a free consultation to see how you too, could become adept at playing one (or maybe all) of these instruments.
Some traditional instruments have such a distinctive sound that it forms part of the very fabric of a culture. The Turkish saz is a good example of that. It is an incredibly ancient plucked string instrument with movable frets. This instrument, which derives from classical Ottoman lutes, is also native to Azerbaijan, parts of Syria, Iraq, Kurdish territories, and even in the Balkans. If you traveled to Turkey and you heard that distinctive ‘Eastern’ music on the radio, chances are you’ve listened to one of these instruments. The saz is a member of the baglama family, and the terms are used somewhat interchangeably. Baglamas are long-necked, bowled, lute-like plucked instruments in wide use in the near East.
What else might your ear pick up in the streets of Istanbul, Damascus, or Baghdad, or Toronto? The Arabic and Turkish Oud is another ancient (but still extremely popular) lute-like plucked string instrument – but in this case with a short neck, no frets, and many more strings. Although these two ouds get lumped together as one instrument, the Arabic oud, for instance, is tuned and played differently and it has a bigger bowl than the Turkish instrument, so a smaller person may have trouble playing it; this is just one of the issues that will be taken into consideration during a free consultation at our school.
Probably best known to Westerners is the Greek bouzouki. As is so often the case, a famous Hollywood movie from 1964 starring Anthony Quinn had something to do with that (“Zorba the Greek”). The metallic, mandolin-like sound of the bouzouki, which comes in a three and four stringed version, defines Greek culture in so many ways. The Greek bouzouki evolved from the Turkish saz after the Ottoman empire and was westernized with fixed, equal tempered frets and a sound hole under the strings. In the 1920s, it was considered an underground instrument played in dark, smokey bars but by the 1950s it was popularized and has since become the iconic instrument of Greek music.
Elite Music Academy has specialized in Greek bouzouki sales, repairs, and lessons since 2001. You are invited to partake of the heart and soul of the Danforth community and help to ensure that the sounds of these ancient instruments will still be around for centuries to come.
Elite Music offers:
Quality lessons with experienced instructors. We have experience with all ages and experience levels. Our instructors are accredited, and have plenty of teaching and performing experience.
Flexible lesson schedules. Elite Music offers lessons seven days a week, so you can schedule us whenever is best for your busy schedule. Bouzouki, saz, and oud lessons are offered in ½ hour and one hour appointments – long enough to learn new things every week while your attention is sharp.
FREE consultation. We want to know what you hope to get out of learning the bouzouki, bagalama, or oud and help you set up a plan to make it happen. During a free consultation, we’ll be happy to answer all your questions so that you can find the perfect instructor. There is no obligation to sign up.
FREE rentals for new students for two months. Buying a bouzouki, saz, or oud is expensive. That’s why we offer a free, no-obligation, two month rental to help get you started.
Opportunities to record music. Our professional sound engineer, Emilio Guim, can help you record music in our studio so you can share your music with friends & family. Learning bouzouki should be fun and rewarding!
Opportunities to perform at local venues. Playing the bouzouki is a skill that should be shared! There are several performance opportunities at local cafes, theatres, and clubs throughout the year. Elite Music loves to see students sharing music with their family, friends, and community because performing and collaboration is such a huge aspect of music.
Convenient Location. We are located in East Toronto at 822 Danforth Ave, just east of Pape subway station.
Affordable. We offer competitive lesson rates and policies.
We also offer bouzouki, saz, and oud lessons over Skype. Click for more info.