Fancy trying your hand at playing an electric guitar or the drums? Or maybe you'd prefer to try and hold a tune with your singing voice. Well you can do this and much more at Studio Bell – National Music Centre.
Opened on 1st July 2016, this national cultural organisation is aimed at promoting a shared love and understanding of music. Its iconic exterior created by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture was inspired by musical instrument design and is an outstanding addition to the urban landscape of the East Village. At its heart is the King Edward Hotel, a legendary blues club in the 20th century.
There are five levels accessible to visitors. I went along with my (adult) daughter and we started at the top 'Best of Canada' level which is dedicated to celebrating Canadian musicians. As well as photographs, artefacts and 'talking head' videos, you can listen to songs by the various music-makers through head phones.
Level 4 was a favourite of ours. Here you can try out various instruments. It doesn't matter if you're an absolute beginner – expert guidance is on hand via video and audio. On the Bodyphonic stage we explored pitch and timbre through movement, which was great fun.
On Level 3 we had a hilarious time singing a duet in one of the vocal booths and then manipulating the pitch of our voices during play-back. There is also the marvellous Kimball Theatre Organ on this level which you can listen to at different times of the day.
The performance hall on Level 2 is a glorious space for concerts with its walnut clad walls and ceiling art piece. When you've exhausted everything there is to see you can go for some light refreshments at the Rosso Coffee Roasters on Level 1.
Even though we are not Canadian we both had a ball visiting Studio Bell, which is a great place to visit, especially on a rainy summer's day.