Can You Hear Me Now?

For most adults, being able to communicate is something we take for granted. We will call, write, text, tweet, Facebook, ’til our hearts contents or maybe now a days it has become more of an obsession.  I saw a stat somewhere online that said, 80% of individuals can’t remember the last time their phone was more than 25 feet from them. Every thought, for better or for worse, seems to be discussed or documented in some way.


Now imagine you had no physical voice. Even worse, imagine your texting/tweeting/social media fingers didn’t work and not only were all of your “amazing” thoughts, witty banter about your day trapped inside your own brain but you also didn’t have a way to express your emotions, or opinions.  For most if not all of us, it would be (to put it bluntly) living hell on earth.  But for some individuals it is their reality.


One of my goals and passion is to help create a voice for those individuals who don’t have one or who may not have the physical abilities to express themselves musically with traditional instruments.  Through the help of technology this is all possible with an “instrument” call The SoundBeam which turns physical movement of any size into sound/music.


During my internship at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, I was fortunate enough to work along side of amazing music therapists as well as state of the art technology.  I have first hand seen the benefits and possibilities The SoundBeam can have with clients and how we can turn the smallest movement into a symphony of sound.  This allows individuals who may not have a voice in any other area of their life a chance to express themselves in a way that not even traditional instruments can provide them.


Sounds like there’s a catch?  Well there is.  The SoundBeam costs between $8,000-10,000 and for a small business that is a lot of money to have squirrelled away just for one instrument or piece of equipment. However, one day an opportunity was presented to me and I had to jump.


If you have ever attended our Melodies & ABC’s classes you know that I finish each class with a musical story.  One of my favourite publishers is and has been Barefoot Books, I have been utilizing their stories since 2010.  I often receive comments from parents and educators about where I found these books as they too enjoyed them.


Prelude Music and TogetherTime Company have partnered up to create a Singalong Book Club Fundraiser.  All of the books will be from the Barefoot Books company; all are beautifully illustrated and have a lovely song that goes along with it.  The books come with a CD with multiple versions of the story on it (lyrics and instruments, just instruments etc.) and the CD can also go into your computer and play a digital interactive version of the story.

How does the fundraiser work?

Cost of the subscription? $18.99/month (Inscription + Taxes INCLUDED)

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What do I get for that price? Monthly you will get a personalized new story with CD


How does it help? A portion of the sales from each month will be given to Prelude Music to put towards the purchase of The SoundBeam

Am I signing up for a certain amount of time? No, subscriptions can start and stop at anytime you wish.  
How/when will I receive the books?  All of the books will be ready for monthly pick up at Prelude Music.  Michelle will notify everyone of business hours when they can come can grab story.

Do I have to be a Prelude Music customer to take part in the fundraiser?  No, this fundraiser is open to anyone in Winnipeg.  Due to the fact the customer is picking up the book it is limited to Winnipeg and surrounding areas.

How do I sign up?  If you are interested in being part of the fundraiser please go to


I’ve been wanting to start a blog for Prelude Music for well over a year.  I have a list of ideas for what I think is useful information for parents, students, teachers and therapists as we all travel through our musical journey together.  So what’s taken me so long to get this up and running?!?! Most people will say jump up and say, ‘lack of time’; while that is partially true, and I’m sure I will use that excuse later, that isn’t the full reason I haven’t started.


The real reason I haven’t started is that I couldn’t figure out what my first post should be about.  Starting off with tips and tricks for buying a piano, advice on practicing, benefits of music therapy or what a 6 month old really learns in music class just didn’t seem appropriate and almost too impersonal or cold.  Don’t worry I will write on those subjects later, but not for a first post.  I wanted to make it more personal and beneficial to all of our families, whether you are thinking about attending a class with us, part of Melodies & ABCs, music therapy, or private lessons.


So what changed? Why now?


Some of you may know that I and subsequently Prelude Music was nominated for Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the categories of Emerging Business and Excellence in Service.  Apparently, this year there were over 200 nominations, 29 finalists and 9 different categories.  I was honoured to be on the list of nominees, elated when my application package was accepted as one of the finalists and completely shocked when we won the Emerging Business category.


I know what you are thinking: “Great Michelle, you are using your first post to brag about yourself!” Actually it is quite the opposite.  I am using my first post to acknowledge that I didn’t do this alone.  Prelude Music is where it is today because of my amazing team of Specialists (Abigail, Brianna, Jackie, and Mike); they make me look good on a daily basis and I can’t thank them enough for that.  But also and somewhat more importantly we won this award because of YOU, our loyal and wonderful customers.


I’m not saying that just because you bring your pocket book every month.  More importantly, you trust us with one of your most prized possessions every week with the unwritten agreement that we are going to better your child’s life in some way.  You let us into your families, where we watch them walk for the first time, learn to make choices, play at their first recital, or prep for a music exam/festival to name a few. I think I can speak for all of us at Prelude Music when I say that being part of your family is why we show up every day. I really hope that you see and feel how much we care about each and everyone of you.


I personally also have to say a special thank you to whoever anonymously nominated me.  I would love to thank you in person and give you a big hug!


In closing, I would like to dedicate my first post and award to all the families who have supported Prelude Music past, present and future. I will leave you with what I can remember from my acceptance speech.WEYA photo

“I think that the word sole-preneur is a misleading and unfair word.  There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, I can attest first hand that it also takes a village to create a business.  While I stand up here alone, I didn’t do it alone.  A huge thank you to my family and friends who have put up with me and this endeavour over the past couple of years; there have been some long days/nights.  But also a HUGE thank you to my customers who have become my friends and family.  Thank you so very much!


Meet our Staff- Abigail Graff

Abigail Graff, BMT (MTA in process)
Teaches: Music Therapy, Melodies & ABCs, Piano, Voice, Guitar

Abigail PhotoAbigail Graff received her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Canadian Mennonite University. She completed a 1000 hour clinical internship at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. Skilled in voice, piano, and guitar, she provides a positive space where her clients can be motivated towards change and growth and discover the fullness of life through music!

Abigail’s passion for music began at the age of five with her first piano lesson. She grew up exploring various instruments, playing in a variety of ensembles, and teaching beginner piano lessons. When she witnessed music help children with special needs communicate and express themselves she was inspired to pursue music therapy. Abigail is passionate about helping her clients feel successful by focusing on their individual strengths, and contributing to the goals of her clients and their families.

Meet our Staff – Mike Swickis

Mike Swickis
Teaches: guitar, bass guitar

Mike has been playing guitar over 25 years and has decades of experience teaching and playing guitar.   Originally from Kenora Ontario, Mike began playing blues, rock and heavy metal tunes while studying classical guitar at the local high school.   After high school Mike headed East to study jazz guitar and composition earning his BA in Music from St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.   While living out East Mike played in cover bands, country bands and at the Atlantic Jazz festival in addition to recording as a sideman.

Mike headed down to London Ontario in 1999 and earned his Bachelor Education with a focus on music.  After earning his degree he traveled the world working as a show band musician for various cruise lines including the Queen Mary 2.

While in Winnipeg Mike has performed with Ron Paley, Janice Finlay, Rainbow Stage, Kathy Kennedy Blues Band, Walle Larsson,  and a variety of Rock, R and B and Jazz groups including his own trio.

Mike plays a wide variety of musical styles and has a solid background in theory, composition, recording and real life playing experience.