It’s a Friday afternoon in Hay River and the Purple Pick Studio is filled with music students who have the afternoon off school.
Linda Duford, who opened the studio last November, is practising the fiddle with Iga Olesinska.
In the corner, another student practises piano while he waits for one-on-one time with the teacher.
Duford says it was her dream to open up her own studio. After her family sold the Back Eddy restaurant last fall she had the time to make it happen.
“It’s a studio for everyone to come in and learn some instruments,” she said, explaining she currently offers fiddling, guitar, keyboard, and singing lessons.
She’ll also be starting to offer ukelele lessons to students ages six to 10 soon.
“I started giving music lessons about 10 years ago when I joined the Kole Crook Fiddling Association,” said Duford.
“Over the years, I branched out into teaching guitar and a little bit of keyboard too.
“We’ve been open three months now … things are going great.”
She attributes the popularity of the lessons to the lack of music instruction in schools.
“There was a real need for it, and I’m glad to be able to offer it,” she explained.
Eight-year-old Olivia Bolt is one of the students taking piano lessons from Duford.
“It’s really fun to learn a whole bunch of different songs because then you’ll know a lot and you can teach other people,” she said.
Duford already has plans for expansion.
She’d like to bring in guest musicians to teach instruments she doesn’t play – starting with electric guitar and drums.
She’s still working a few shifts at the Back Eddy to ease the transition for the new owners but, she said, “It’s really nice having more time for music.”