Band Chops Program

What is Band Chops?

Band ChopsCoaching by top studio musicians
Industry-leading technology integration
The very best rehearsal and performance facilities
Unmatched, real-life playing opportunities



The Band Chops Program is made up of three streams: Band Chops Pro, Lite, and Plus. Our Band Chops students range in age from 10 to 60, with skill levels from beginner to professional. All three streams run 10 months in length annually, and focused on delivering completely unique and unparalleled experiences with:

Program Goals:

  • Provide the most advanced, professional facilities for all aspects of the learning experience – pro recording, stadium lights, sound, stages, coaching rooms
  • Work with recognized industry professionals, who can bring real-life experience from the recording and touring worlds
  • Create the most opportunities for students of all ages to use and musically interact with their acquired skills in  – we call this “conversational music”.
  • Connect with large, recognized festivals and other events to provide students with credible, real-life performance opportunities

Who is the program for?

The Band Chops Pro stream is intense, immersive music education at its best. For 1 – 1.5 hours per week, students become an integral part of a functioning band, with full-time hands-on coaching from Canada’s leading studio musicians. The best coaches, the best facilities, and the best performance chances are reserved for our Pro stream, the only program of its kind in Canada.

Important Facts & FAQ’s

  • 1 Session / Week
  • You do NOT need to be a Pro to join
  • Ideal for someone serious about increasing their personal AND band/ensemble skills
  • A perfect way to learn about today’s leading musical technologies
  • Come away from each year with tons of learned songs that you’ll never forget
  • Our highest commitment level – regular attendance is critical to everyone’s shared success.

What Makes Band-Chops Different

Merriam School of Music delivers a completely unique experience to its Band Chops students, and is one of only a few schools in all of North America to be equipped with the level of facilities and technology normally found in pro recording studios and television studios.

As many educators would agree, engaging a student – of any age – is the key to long term success, and every element of the Band Chops program is designed to do just that.



Recording Studio

Studio B

Recoring Studio Piano

Piano Room

Jam & Coaching Rooms

Performances at Canada’s Largest Ribfest

Studio A – Performance Setup

Studio A

There is no comparison in Canada. This multi-purpose recording, performance, and broadcast room is a modern marvel of engineering and technology, and is absolutely one of the most exciting places to perform or listen to music. And most exciting, it plays host to numerous Band Chops events throughout the year. The room was designed by Martin Pilchner and Associates from the ground up, and features:

  • Acoustically treated walls, ceiling, and floor
  • Fully computerized DMX lighting system by Martin
  • 32 Track Digital Mixing Console with full stage monitoring and stadium-style front of house speakers
  • 2 Sub bins
  • Grand Piano
  • Seating for 90, standing for 110

Studio B

As Martin Pilchner said, Merriam now has the “sport” version of some of North America’s most lavish and sophisticated music studios.  Positioned in our lower level, Studio B houses our Piano / small ensemble room, the control room, and our Isolation booth. It’s fully outfitted with the latest Protools rig, with an industry-standard mic collection, an $80,000 piano.  Members of the Band Chops program (depending on steam) will have instructional time in the studio, plus massive discounts on its use when their ready to cut their first track or album

  • Full video and audio link to Studio A above it
  • 24 hour use
  • Complete professional recording suite, including Protools console
  • 7′ Hand-Made Piano for tracking solo or band
  • Dedicated professional engineer

Jam / Coaching Rooms

Our coaching rooms on the lower level of Oakville’s main campus are equipped with industry-standard backline equipment, sound proofing, and P.A. They are entirely setup to handle rehearsing in any format, and any level.

AV Suite / Video Logs

One of the most unique features of being a student at Merriam is that every moment of performance is captured in HD video.  Which means each time you and your band are thrashing on stage, we’re busy cataloging it for your use at the end of the year.  For members of our Band Chops Pro stream, this has very real benefits in terms of promotional potential.


The ProTron, though a part of Studio A, is so unique that it deserves mention all on its own.  A custom built, HD video display occupies the ENTIRE back wall of the Studio A Stage. With commercial-grade in house graphics capabilities, this screen instantly becomes a wall of eye-popping graphics ready to enhance any performance or presentation.


Merriam Music is incredibly blessed to have some of Canada’s most acclaimed studio musicians as coaches and collaborators, such as Rich Brown, Mike Ferfolia, Calvin Beale, Mike Siracusa, Morgan Childs, Ross MacIntyre and more.  To have just one of these people would be special – to be able to offer our students such a rich array of talent is truly unprecedented.

What difference does great coaching make to our ‘school of rock’? It comes in the form of inspiration, leadership, and instruction. A great role model is always an inspirational force when it comes to learning, and it doesn’t get any better than this: Juno awards, decades behind a mixing board, and millions of fans played to. The leadership comes from having our coaches intimately connected with the latest music industry trends, so we can stay relevant to our students, regardless of age and focus. And who better to improve the technical playing on your instrument, than those who are at a complete virtuosic level?


Merriam School of Music, through its national reputation for producing musicianship at the highest levels, has partnerships with several of our areas most visible cultural festivals. For example, the Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival, and Canada’s Largest Ribfest.

Through events such as these, Merriam is able to give our musicians one of the most meaningful experiences imaginable: an entirely authentic, real-life performance opportunities. After all, the point of learning any language, including the language of music, is to communicate, and when the end goal is so perfectly aligned with the skill-build, the results are magical.

Band Chops

Instrument:Piano, Bass, Drums, Vocal, Guitar, Saxophone, Other
Length:60 Minutes +
RCM Exam Compatible:No
Locations:Oakville, Vaughan
Start Date:Throughout the year
Term:40 Lessons/Year
Admission:By audition only
Genre: Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Metal

Featured Band Chops Program Teachers

All merriam school of music programs

MERRIAM School of Music Locations

MERRIAM School of Music

(905) 829-2020
 Monday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Tuesday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Wednesday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Thursday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Friday - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
 Saturday - 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
 Sunday - 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

MERRIAM School of Music

(905) 660-9503
 Monday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Tuesday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Wednesday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Thursday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Friday - 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 Saturday - 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
 Sunday - 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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