U-Rock Music School: Rocking and Teaching 25 Years Later – Stittsville Central


U-Rock Music School – which started in 1997 with owner Cathy Hallessey teaching music in her Stittsville home to neighborhood children – will celebrate 25 years in the business over the next year. At its peak in 2019, the school had 150 students. Now to 100 students (both due to the pandemic and to make things more manageable for teachers), U-Rock Music School has won numerous awards that show how amazing the company and its teachers are. Most recently, the school was named the Ottawa School of Music of Choice in 2021. Cathy thinks it’s “unusual for such a small company” to have received such a prestigious honor, but she believes that the close relationships teachers have with students’ families helps to really differentiate their music school.

Cathy is proud of the fact that her company stands out from other music schools for several reasons. First of all, rather than being based in a “brick and mortar” store, U-Rock Music School is run out of the house Cathy shares with husband Brian Brodersen. Cathy and Brian are co-owners of the school, but both continue to teach music in addition to running their businesses. In addition, Cathy and Brian hire their own alumni as teachers. Cathy thinks this is a “really unique way of running a music school, because it’s maintain the family environment“of U-Rock Music School.

(U-Rock students – The Crushers after their performance at a pre-Covid U-Rock Music School concert.)

Cathy’s love for music began when she was 7 and got her first guitar for Christmas. She soon performed for the public – charging her neighbors a dime to watch her play music and lip-sync with the recordings in her basement. “I’m probably the person who invented lip sync,” cathy jokes. She started taking guitar lessons at the age of 11, taught her friend in college, and soon she was teaching others what she had learned. Throughout high school, Cathy taught her classmates to play the guitar.

(Kate Forsyth, U-Rock student)

Cathy soon met her equally obsessed music-obsessed husband Brian. He joined Cathy in teaching music: “Honestly, I couldn’t have grown the school without Brian”, Cathy said. She and Brian always had other jobs as they taught music. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that school became the couple’s full-fledged source of income. Cathy is happy to continue to introduce children to music and to nurture their love for her, admitting that the business is “A labor of love. It’s a lot of work but totally worth it!

Usually, U-Rock Music School gives six performances per year, where students can show their growing talents and rock for a live audience. Over the past year, these performances have been presented virtually. Cathy feels a little sad about it, but reminds her students that they always perform for the public, as their performances can be found online.

When asked how they plan to celebrate their 25 years in business, Cathy replied: “If we have exceeded all the restrictions, we want to do something big!” “ They plan to celebrate the New Year after officially 25 years. Cathy states that they would probably do something that focuses on the community. This is not surprising, as the U-Rock School of Music is very community driven overall. Each year, the company gives prizes to local schools and sponsors one or two children in the community with medical needs. “I would rather help someone and be remembered, and I encourage my students to do the same. Cathy is proud to have instilled a sense of community in her students, saying “You don’t just teach music to these kids, you teach them to be good people and to give back to their community. “

In closing, Cathy has a few words for our readers. “Thank you to the community for adopting us! We love to be part of Stittsville! ” Congratulations to Cathy, Brian and everyone U-Rock Music School for such an incredible achievement!


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