Axis Music aims to promote equal access to music education, collaboration and performance. We envision a world where all young people have equal access to the arts. We encourage personal excellence, and believe participants can develop their potential when provided access to resources, held to high standards, and supported by professional artists and an engaged community.

The Inception

Founded in 2010, Axis Music is a tuition-free music program providing violin, cello and piano workshops for children and youth living in Toronto Community Housing.

Workshops are held at the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities – The Hub Mid-Scaborough, and Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre. Both centres are located in the Eglinton East-Kennedy Park neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario.

Eglinton East-Kennedy Park is designated a “Neighbourhood Improvement Area” (formerly known as a “Priority Neighbourhood”) by the City of Toronto as needing improved key socio-economic services. In response to this, Axis Music has introduced and made music education accessible as a step towards advancing community services.

Axis = Access = Tuition-free

In order to promote access to musical learning, Axis Music provides workshops and instruments to participants free of charge. Participants maintain enrolment in the program through a dedicated work ethic, punctuality, and attendance.

Instruments are loaned free-of-charge

The Royal Conservatory, George Heinl & Co. Ltd., and Remenyi House of Music have generously donated and loaned instruments and supplies to the program. Additional instruments and supplies have also been purchased with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

Weekly 30-minute ‘One-on-One’ Lesson


Participants are enrolled in a weekly lesson with lead artists Tanya Charles (violin), Judith Manger (cello), or Janice Lindskoog (piano). Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend lessons, and are loaned a full-size instrument to play during the lesson. This gives parents/guardians an understanding of what their child is learning and can be helpful with their musical progress.

Weekly 1-hour Group Workshops

Activities include ensemble playing, instrumental technique, musicianship and music theory.

Weekly Practice Log: Developing Excellence

Participants are encouraged to develop a diligent work ethic and are required to practice five days a week. The Online Participant Centre, hosted on the Edmodo website (www.edmodo.com), provides participants with photos and videos from lessons to aid with practice at home. We believe that emphasizing dedication and a strong work ethic will be beneficial to participants in any area of study they pursue in the future.

Guest Artist Workshops

Guest artists from various art forms and genres are invited to facilitate workshops to expand participants’ knowledge of art and music. These workshops further develop their understanding of cross genre artistic disciplines and help expand artistic collaborations and relationships. Guest artists include:

Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk (Violist and Métis Fiddler), 2019, 2022 & 2023
Walter Maclean (Percussionist), 2015, 2022 & 2023
charles c. smith (Poet, University of Toronto Scarborough), 2015 & 2022
Shad Kabango (Rapper), 2021
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (Playwright), 2020
Kevin Lau (Composer), 2020
Alan Shane Lewis (Actor/Improvisor), 2020
Andrew Kwan (Artist Manager), 2019
VC2 Cello Duo, 2019
Adam Campbell (Percussionist and Composer, TorQ Percussion Quartet), 2017 & 2018
Kevin Ormsby (Dancer, KasheDance), 2017 & 2018
Kousha Nakhaei (Violinist, Kamanche player – Iranian spiked fiddle), 2016 & 2017
Zeesy Powers (Interdisciplinary Artist & Music Video Director), 2016
Adrian Anantawan (Violinist), 2016
Lydia Ainsworth (Singer, Composer, Producer), 2015 & 2016
Afiara String Quartet, 2014
Christos Hatzis (Composer and Professor, University of Toronto), 2014
Matt Haimovitz (Internationally Renowned Cellist, McGill University), 2013
Hilario Duran (Juno award winning Cuban Pianist and Composer), 2013
Kevin Lau (Toronto Symphony Orchestra Affiliate Composer), 2011 & 2012
Jonathan Crow (Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster), 2012
Alex Samaras (Jazz Vocal Instructor, University of Toronto), 2012
Robin Dann (Singer-Songwriter), 2012
Colin Maier (Fiddler), 2012
Ben Lichty (Cinematographer), 2011
Lydia Ainsworth (Film Score Composer), 2011
Mireya Escalante (Cuban Singer) & Mario del Monte (Cuban Percussionist), 2011

Hear Me Play!

Participants frequently perform in the Eglinton East-Kennedy Park community and throughout Toronto. Past performance venues include the Academy Concert Series at Eastminster United Church, The Hub mid-Scarborough, Gordonridge Community Centre, Lawrence Heights, Baycrest Park, George Brown College, and the Gordonridge Community Centre.
Concert Trips in the Greater Toronto Community

To expand artistic experiences and relationships, participants attend concerts throughout Toronto. Tickets have been generously donated by Anton Kuerti and the Mooredale Music & Truffles Concert Series, I Furiosi, the Academy Concert Series, The Royal Conservatory, Canadian Children’s Opera Company, the Toronto Summer Music Festival and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Practice Mentor Program

To develop participants’ leadership abilities and practicing skills, advanced participants mentor newer participants with practicing.

Program Development

2019 – 2020
– Launched a full-year Axis Preludes Violin & Piano program, for new participants
– Launched Musicianship Workshops for all Axis Preludes participants

2018 – 2019
– Launched a full-year Axis Preludes Violin program, for new participants

2017 – 2018
– Inaugural Axis Preludes program, for new participants ages 5-6
– Held a Fall Practice Challenge, and Spring Practice Challenge
– 18 participants ages 5-18 and a growing waitlist

2016 – 2017
– Pilot Music & Movement program, for new participants ages 5-6
– 18 participants ages 6-17 and a growing waitlist

2015 – 2016
– Registered as a charitable organization
– 18 participants ages 6-16 and a growing waitlist
– Inaugural spring playing examinations
– Inaugural summer program

2014 – 2015
– Launched partnership with The Hub Mid-Scarborough, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
– 18 participants ages 6-15 and a growing waitlist

2013 – 2014
– Incorporated as a nonprofit organization
– Formed a Board of Directors
– Held a Fall Practice Competition and Summer Practice Challenge
– Launched a Practice Mentor Program
– 18 participants ages 6-14 and a growing waitlist

– Developed a parent/guardian committee
– Launched a performance partnership with the Academy Concert Series
– Expanded enrolment to 18 participants

– Expanded enrolment to 15 participants
– Launched our Online Participant Centre

– TRIO416 formed the Axis Music artist collective
– Partnered with Toronto Community Housing
– Launched arts project at Gordonridge
– Enrolled 9 participants