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Striving for the best approaches in musical education, Rod has spent the better part of his life devoted to helping students unlock the depths of music.  His expertise is communicating ways for students to understand musical principals.  Special attention is given to all students regardless of their individual level of ability.  Rod has developed an approach that teaches each student at their own rate of learning.  You may be wondering what style of music Rod enjoys the most or why he has dedicated his musical direction towards teaching.  Enjoy the interview section below, most of your answers may be found there!

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Question:  How long has your music academy been operating?

Originally when I moved here my business was called “Rod Wolfe’s Guitar Studio”.  That is the name I used when I started in Winkler back around the year 2000.  For several years I used that name.  As the business continued to grow I decided that I wanted to create a dedicated music academy.  So, I changed the name to Winkler Music Academy.  All total the music instruction that I have been giving for the southern Manitoba region is going on well over 25 years.

What is the average age of W.M.A. students?

Well, we see students of all ages coming here.  Students as young as six years old to students that are seniors.  The majority of the students are between eleven and twenty-two years old. 

Question:  How long have you been playing guitar?

The first time I picked up a guitar I was around eleven years old.  At an early age I sought out ways to explore understanding not only the instrument but also how music functioned.  The first school of music that I attended was called “The Lenny Breau School Of Music”.  Being so young and learning from the son of one of Canada’s most famous jazz musician was awe inspiring.  Chet’s father, Lenny Breau was one of the worlds most accomplished jazz guitarists and being a part of that learning experience really gave me a heads up early on in my pursuit of becoming an accomplished guitarist.  From the association of that school of music I wanted to expand in every possible way that I could.  I actually started teaching guitar and taking on students when I was nineteen years old.  All I basically did was study, practice and teach.  A typical practice day for me would average between ten to fifteen hours.  It’s funny when I tell my academy students that because they find it hard to imagine actually practicing such long periods at one time.  But, that was me.   I love the guitar and I loved composition just as equally.  The science of music is amazing!

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Question:  What kind of teachers have you learned from?

I have learned from so many incredible teachers, really great teachers that I respect.  Before I started playing the guitar I studied piano for several years.  I was quite young at the time.  I learnt two really important things from that experience.  First, piano wasn’t the instrument that I was meant to pursue.  Second, the fascination with  harmony really intrigued me.  So, there I was, kind of stuck.  It became a frustrating process because the method of instruction was so extremely one dimensional.  I was interested in composition and the only thing that I was being taught was whatever the page was in the boring  grade book.  When I picked up the guitar everything just clicked.  The guitar was the instrument meant for me.  After attending the Chet Breau School Of Music I searched out for the same teachers that professional musicians would go to.

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Meeting Frank Gambale for the first time was incredible.  He has been the greatest influence on my playing.  His compositional and technical level amazed me.  I knew that he attended the famous Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles and that told me that I had to experience M.I. for myself.  There were so many musicians to learn from, to many to list in fact. I later continued to learn from great musicians and I attended the Los Angeles Music Academy.  Everybody called it LAMA.  At LAMA the guitar department was exclusively run by Frank Gambale.  I wanted to learn everything there was to learn about composition and LAMA put everything in perspective for me.

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I began to study all forms of jazz and fusion.  After that I was fortunate to also be able to spend time in New York where I studied with Tal Farlow as well as jazz methods from Adam Raferty and Steven Rochinski.  I have also studied privately orchestration techniques for symphony.  That is another one of my loves.  I remember working on my first orchestration piece when I was around seventeen years old.  I was taking private lessons with one of the top conductors for the Canadian military.  He was the coolest guy.  I think he thought I was a little nuts though... being so young and convincing him that I was serious took quite a bit.  There’s more to that story but I’ll end this question here.

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Question:  Why are you here in Winkler when you could be traveling the world playing music?

I get this question just about every time a new student enrols at the academy.  There is always a possibility that I could go in that direction if I chose too.  But, fame and fortune has never been a big part of the reason as to why I do what I do.  If the right musicians came along I could possible be persuaded but, I would never do anything that would hinder my students attending the academy.  Simply put, I love to teach.  I love to share musical perspectives and help other work towards understanding and applying music in their individual unique ways.  It just seems that this is what I was meant to do with my life.  Until that feeling of purpose changes I will continue to devote my time and energy educating students with the best possible knowledge that I can provide them.

Question:  What do you see for the future of Winkler Music Academy?

Well, I like that question because I am optimistic about W.M.A. becoming the most serious musical place that anyone can learn from for the entire southern Manitoba region.  I want this place to be a musical beacon for people that want to achieve there absolute best musically.  I don’t believe in limiting educational boundaries.  The sky is literally the limit.  I want W.M.A. to become known for it’s serious and uniquely dedicated approach to modern twentieth century education.  We are using the latest in technologies which brings amazing possibilities for attending students.  I want W.M.A. to be the center of musical inspiration.  I want parents to know that they can send their children to a highly professional learning environment and see them accomplish amazing musical goals.  We have students as young as eleven years old that because of their devotedness to learning are performing weekly on stage in front of audiences.  That’s amazing.  I want the southern Manitoba area to be filled with educated and technically proficient players who will develop into true musicians.  I desire to leave a legacy behind which could be summed up as simply as me just loving music so much that all I want to do is be a part of the sharing process.  The future of W.M.A. is all about the student and equipping them all with the knowledge which will allow their musical dreams to come true.

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Rod Wolfe uses his state-of-the-art education / recording studio which helps his students take full advantage of the most advanced musical technology today!  Every student has the opportunity to learn what it takes to make a professional recording to share with the world!  A fully multimedia capable studio also including professional videography for the serious student wanting to pursue a professional music career.  What a incredible advantage for the Winkler Music Academy student!

Question:  What can W.M.A. students hope to learn from your educational approaches?

For the most part the atypical student begins by learning how to understand the logic behind how the guitar fretboard works in the way that it does.  I have had players with over ten years experience that are still completely unaware as to how the fretboard functions musically.  Now, in alot of cases it isn’t completely their fault.  There can be alot of confusion associated with how a guitarist understands the fretboard or doesn’t understand it.  So, this the the first step that the W.M.A. student will take.  Within a very short space of time (between 2-4 weeks) the student will be knowing every point on the fretboard.  This knowledge grants them their start at developing a very effective musical vocabulary. 

The current W.M.A. songs library contains will over 100,000 songs in it’s database.  All W.M.A. students begin working on building their song repertoire as soon as they are understanding the guitar fretboard.  I like to have the student reach the “One Song A Day” practice rule.  What this means is that for each weekday the student works on a new song.  That works out to five songs, one for each day of the week.  The students are told to treat their day before their lesson as a general review day which would then include playing through all five songs prior to arriving at W.M.A. for their lesson.  Each student must master each song while playing along with backing tracks.  Each song is learnt in two playing styles, first melody/single note and then second style as rhythm.  In a very short period of time the student is able to play from a huge selection of completed songs.  Of course, each student works at his/her own pace so ultimately the student decides what’s comfortable for them.

Another huge advantage the W.M.A. student experiences is having the opportunity to learn all levels of theory, composition and technique.  There are several dedicated courses which dive deep into these subjects.  Of course, not all students desire a career in music.  Most students want to be able to build confidence on the guitar and understand basic musical principals.  If they desire to learn how to understand professional level knowledge in these areas it is completely open for them.  Also, if the student desires to be well rounded without getting into all the professional level details that works too.  W.M.A. is flexible and accommodates each individual student at the levels that they wish to achieve.

The students have the opportunity to record themselves in the W.M.A. recording studio.  The students are making professional level demos of their own musical compositions.  It is exciting to see the student learn how music works and begin creating their own songs.  We have even had students prepare demos for entrance requirements to get into world class music schools.  W.M.A. offers the student amazing opportunities which typically you would only find at higher level education facilities.  The cost for a student to attend these types of schools is in the upwards of 30-50 thousand a year.  At W.M.A. the student gets to do it all at a very affordable cost.  I am proud to make that happen for them!

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Question:  Any last words or thought that you would like to share?

Well, I truly consider myself to be a musician first.  My entire life has been devoted to education.  I would like to say something to anyone that may be thinking about learning music.  Everyone is accepted here at W.M.A.  If you have a love for music then you belong at W.M.A.  Sometimes the process of trying to learn on your own can be extremely frustrating.  I take that frustration problem away.  We are here to help you get to your true musical potential.  Regardless of whether you want to be a touring professional or somebody who wants to play around a campfire.  The learning experience is equal to all regardless of ability.  That is what we do here.  That is what we share here.  That is what we want you to be able to become a part of.  Call the academy and enrol.

This web site is programmed by Winkler Music Academy owner Rod Wolfe (c)copyright 2007 - Forever All Rights Reserved.
Questions and comments can be e-mailed to Rod by clicking the above button at the top of this page.
"Thanks for visiting"