Zach Zanardo

Guitar Instructor

  • Instrument

    Guitar

  • Education

    Bachelor of Music, Humber College

Biography Zach Zanardo

We continue to spotlight our amazing Instructors. This week, guitarist, Zach Zanardo!

Zach Zanardo is an experienced guitar teacher, songwriter, and performer. Having taught private guitar lessons and student rock bands for over five years, Zach has also has been active in the Toronto music scene for nearly twice that. As a student in the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College, Zach was able to improve his versatility as a guitarist through studying with some of Canada’s top musicians, as well as gain a wealth of experience in the recording studio. Currently, Zach has producer credits on two commercial musical releases, with a third slated for release in October. With his years of experience, Zach brings a patient, well-rounded, passionate approach to educating his students. He currently plays in the band, Ginger Ale and the Monowhales.

How did you first hear about Arcadia?

A friend of mine in high school was taking guitar lessons at Arcadia. I always passed by the Arcadia on Yonge St. When I first applied for a teaching job, I went there. Joanne told me that they weren’t looking for guitar teacher at the moment, but Newmarket had just called her looking for guitar teachers. So I drove up to Newmarket and met Darryl Hillock. He set up an interview for the following week, and I got the job.

Do you teach other instruments besides your main instrument?

I teach bass, ukulele, and a bit of piano as well.

Why did you decide to become an Instructor?

I wanted to share my passion of music with other people. I also wanted to work in an environment where I could network with other musicians.

How long have you been teaching with Arcadia and how has your experience been with Arcadia so far?

I’ve been teaching at Arcadia for almost 5 years now. It has been a great experience so far. It is a really great community of musicians. I have also learned quite a bit about my instrument and music in general through teaching music. I have also been opened up to different genres. I guess I’ve developed a greater appreciation for mainstream Pop music too. I have some students from when I first started teaching and it’s so great to see a young musician grow from the ground up. I’m very happy for my students.

What advice would you give to our young students that are trying to get a band started?

I would just tell them to get together and make it a weekly thing. Just being together is the most important thing, even if you’re not playing music all the time. I would also tell them to be open minded about other people’s musical tastes and to have an open line of communication with their friends in the band. Things can get messy in a band when band members don’t communicate how they feel. So most importantly, go make music together, have fun, and book shows with other local bands. When I was in high school bands we used to play at any possible event in school that we could. Different assemblies, school barbecues, etc. We would also play all-ages shows in Toronto at some of the same venues I still play in today. There are plenty of performance opportunities and the sooner you start, the better you will get. Most importantly though: go have fun!

You are an instructor for the Arcadia Band Program. Tell us about the experience and what our young students can expect if they participate in the band program for the first time.

The Arcadia Band Program is an excellent way for students to network with other students and start a band. Most of my students don’t have many friends who also share their interest in music, so it’s a great opportunity for them. They get to network with other musicians in their age group. They get to learn from experienced teachers. It is very helpful to have a professional musician guide you through the process. When I first started playing in bands, we had to learn everything ourselves. We could have skipped a few steps along the way with guidance from professionals. Students also get opened to different styles of music in the band program. One of the best parts for me as a teacher, is getting the band to write a song. The creative aspect is one of the most important to me. That’s when the students really start working together as a team. Performing at Dave and Busters is really cool too. It’s good for the students to play in front of a crowd and see their peers perform. That is a huge learning experience. The recording session aspect of the band program is also fantastic. If I were a young student, that would be the main selling point for me. How cool is that?! Recording your own song with your band at an actual recording studio!

What can you tell us about your current projects, and are there any upcoming events?

My band Ginger Ale & The Monowhales played at Pride Toronto, and our first EP was released at the Garrison to a sold out crowd. In October, Exclaim! Magazine exclusively released our first music video. “Looking Simple” is a guitar driven pop anthem. The video release party sold out the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. We’re just finishing our second album, and will continue to write new material.

Tell us about Ginger Ale and the Monowhales and what your role in the band is.

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales is a hard-hitting Thrash-Pop band. The main focus is catchy hooks and intense high-energy live shows. We all met through the music program at Humber College, although Sally and Jordan (vocalist and drummer) have known each other since high school. Naturally, I am the guitarist in the band. When the band first started, Sally and I wrote all of the songs together. Over time, songwriting has become a more collaborative effort within the band. Jordan and I have also been producing the upcoming Monowhales record. Aside from the music, I have been involved with various business responsibilities such as booking shows for the band, reaching out to press, collecting royalties, and managing the band’s finances. Everyone in the band has non-music responsibilities.

How has it been balancing your professional music career and your teaching career?

Arcadia has been very flexible. When ever I have a gig or a recording session I am able to reschedule my students. Darryl (Newmarket Franchise Operator) and Diana (Richmond Hill Franchise Operator) are very supportive of their instructors.

If you had to recommend to a student a great song (any genre), what would it be?

That’s a tough question! I can’t really answer that. I’ve shown my students songs that I think are great. Real classic songs too. Sometimes I get very unenthusiastic responses, haha! “That sounds old.” I understand that, and I think I would’ve felt the same way at one point. I try to get students to figure out what they think is great. I want them to figure out what they’re passionate about. Now I try to show them music that is more relatable to what they already like.

What advice would you give to young musicians who want to attend/audition at a college/university music program?

Go for it! Understand the audition requirements for the particular schools that you are applying to and make sure you study with an experienced instructor, especially one who has already been through the process. Music programs are very competitive. Don’t be lazy about it. Try to book lessons with teachers from the university or colleges you are applying to. This is very helpful and allows you to start developing a relationship with the faculty before you even get into the school. The teachers in music programs are all mostly professional musicians too, and tend to be really cool people. Go on a tour of the school you want to go to. Practice real hard! Don’t be discouraged if your friends or family aren’t that supportive of a music career. Most people don’t really understand the music industry. Do your best to educate them too. If you are a hard worker with a passion, you can make it!

Are you working on anything new? Any plans for travelling, education, album recordings?

Right now I’m just finishing up my Bachelors of Music at Humber College. I’m finishing up the Monowhales records. Right now I’m also teaching myself how to use sampling in recorded music. It’s pretty interesting. I’ve also been playing analog synthesizers for the past year. That has been pretty educational for me too.

Thank you, Zach!

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