Author Archive for Lippert Music

Don’t Call it Hair Metal: Art in the Excess of ’80s Rock – new book by Sean Kelly

Former Lippert Music Centre guitar teacher Sean Kelly, performer and music authority has a new book out, chronicling the rise and fall of what is affectionately called 1980s “hair metal.” Karen Pace, an uber-fan who used to work as a journalist, publicist and tour manager in the music industry, in addition to being a Lippert Music Centre adult bass student, gives us a review of what to expect. Sean currently teaches music with the Toronto Catholic District School Board and tours with Lee Aaron, Coney Hatch and others.  He can be seen throughout May in the Toronto production of the ‘80s musical homage Rock of Ages at the Elgin Theatre.


Written by Sean Kelly; Review by Karen Pace

Canadian guitarist, music teacher and author Sean Kelly has a second book out, focusing on his indignity at “hair metal” being used as an overarching term for the style of music that dominated radio airwaves in the 1980s. A product of the ‘80s school of rock, Kelly writes 302 pages arguing why that era of bands should be hailed with more respect and not referred to using a cartoonish moniker that dismisses them as kitschy.

Kelly’s prowess as a musician means that he is able to be minutely technical when dissecting the sound of this particular ten-year block of music-making. His professional knowledge of guitar-playing terminology (“two-finger tapping,” “classically-inspired arpeggiated guitar,” “in and out in eight bars” to name but a few) is dizzying for a non-guitar player reader, but it certainly makes one respect his authority on the subject. Being a guitarist, Kelly bases his theories about how hair metal evolved into the lump-sum name that most listeners now use for it, by focusing on the guitar sound of the bands he hails as cornerstones of ‘80s rock.

The timeline of influences that came before the evolution of hair metal and what happened in the ‘90s after it are deftly laid out.  With the help of key players from the ‘80s whom he interviewed for the book, Kelly alludes to the history of music as changing regularly in ten-year cycles, dependent on the zeitgeist of the youth at the time. He posits that the tall, super-sprayed, dyed hair of the epoch — hence the misnomer, or maybe the perfect nomer? — was a natural evolution following punk, disco and soft-rock of the ‘70s. North American bands, as well as Swedish, Danish and German offerings, followed on the heels of what Kelly terms the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the late ‘70s, to incorporate more outrageous wardrobes, more make-up, more hair, more sex and more drugs. Maybe it should have been coined “more metal” instead of just defining it by one of those features, the hair?

He presents an excellent case that technology had a big hand in the big-hair bands’ success, as groups embraced higher amp gain and started customizing guitars. He also explains for the casual music fan how crucial certain producers like Bob Rock, Bruce Fairbairn and John Kalodner were in creating the monster hits that ended up being called all kinds of metal over the years, not just hair metal. Kelly’s knowledge of band members, family tree timelines of players moving between groups, and the back-story of how albums were recorded, is encyclopedic and just plain impressive. This reads more like an excellent history of this era in music, than a strong case for or against the use of the term “hair” when describing it.

It’s rather fitting that, shortly after writing this book about his passion for ‘80s hair metal pop rock — no need to pick one when you can use all of them! —  he landed a role as one of the two guitarists in the house band for the latest Toronto run of the show Rock of Ages, which pays homage to 23 of what the show refers to as glam metal bands. Ah, there’s another one to insert in the moniker above!

Rock of Ages is called a “jukebox musical,” with the story or book being written by weaving it around, through and about popular songs. That means that hair metal was so popular and ubiquitous (it still is!) that a musical was created to satiate a wide audience, who remember it nostalgically from their younger days in the ‘80s. Whatever you want to call it, this specific style of music not only holds a very special place in Sean Kelly’s heart and personal history, but judging by the success of 18 years of a musical celebrating 30 songs from “the excess of ‘80s rock” touring all over the world, fans are happy to continue listening to it 4 decades on. 

Purchase the Book: ECWPress.com | Amazon.ca

Lippert Music Centre receives 2021 Readers’ Choice Award

Lippert Music Centre is honoured to announce that we have received the “Best Music Instruction” from the Scarborough Mirror’s Reader’s Choice Awards for 2021. Our music school prides itself in offering high quality music education, and we are incredibly grateful to have been selected by our students and their parents who have experienced the impact of our values.

This year we are celebrating our 65th Anniversary in business. Our music school, began as an in-home music lesson service in 1957 by Joseph Lippert Jr.  Then, the music school changed to an in-school experience and tens of thousands of students have felt the impact of our dedication to fostering excellence in music education. We have not moved the main office since inception and continue to teach in the Lippert family home, at 970 Pape Avenue, built in 1944, by Joseph Lippert Sr.

Needless to say, the world has changed dramatically since 1957. Technology has been one of the major forces that has had ripple effects in music, music education, and teaching. We have 65 years of experience in staying up-to-date and adapting to the times to ensure we are using all the best qualities technology has to offer our students. From vinyl records to Spotify, acoustic to electronic instruments, and in-person to online learning, adapting to change has been a huge part of our story! In fact, for us, adapting to change is essential to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality music education for our students. 

In particular, 2021 was an incredibly unpredictable year for many. For us, the shift to online learning, which we set up the previous year in 2020, became our exclusive offering as we navigated lockdown restrictions in the winter, spring, and summer. Then, we navigated back to a hybrid in-person/online learning model again in September. Throughout all this, our teachers and students were incredible in adapting to the given lesson set-up as was necessary. In fact, many of our students and teachers told us that being able to rely on weekly lessons was incredibly helpful in a time that was unpredictable. Basing our music school around the values of fostering music excellence and adapting to change kept us focused through turbulent times.

We could not have received this award without our truly expert and incredible teachers here at Lippert. We have 30 of the best music teachers in the city of Toronto and this award would not have been possible without their hard work and alignment with our values in music education. We want to thank our students and their parents as well – thank you for trusting us and supporting our music school throughout the year. It truly means the world to have you study with us!

Thank you so much as well to the Scarborough Mirror, those who voted for us, and those who left kind wishes about our award on our social media pages. We look forward to 2022 being another great year of learning and making music!

COVID-19 Protocols for music lessons – Safety First!

COVID 19 protocols for music lessons

Safety is our top priority as we return to in-person learning this September!

That means each lesson room will be equipped with an air purifier, all of teachers are fully vaccinated, routine sanitization of lesson rooms, and more.

Please see below a complete list of the health and safety measures we will be taking. If you have any questions do not hesitate to call or email our offices!

Thank you for taking lessons with Lippert Music. 

Lesson Procedure

  • Masks required.  If no mask, you will not be allowed entry.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you enter.  We will have some, however, you are encouraged to bring your own.
  • Remove shoes upon entry and place in a bag you have brought with you.  We encourage you to bring indoor shoes.
  • Students will bring their belongings into the classroom with them, including coats.
  • Students, especially younger ones, must be aware that they are to handle/touch their own things.  Please ask permission before using/touching  any Lippert equipment.
  • There is no waiting room.  Parents will drop off their children and pick up from the designated door.  Special arrangements with the office must be made if a parent has to attend.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to check their lesson reminder to know where their classroom is.
  • Vaccination status required for in-person lessons.  If you do not wish to share, lessons will be online.  Thank you for your cooperation in keeping us safe.   Please submit through the questionnaire
  • For More School Policies:  Click Here

Health and Safety

  • All of our teachers and staff are double vaccinated.
  • If you have travelled outside the country, kindly follow government protocol
  • If you are ill, do not attend your lesson.  Switch to online lessons or schedule a make-up.
  • Lippert’s has purchased equipment and established new cleaning protocols to increase safety for our teachers, staff and students.  This includes plexiglass, barriers and air purifiers.  There are windows in every classroom at Pape.  Please note we were “Clean before clean was cool”.  Pianos, touch points and bathrooms were always disinfected at least once daily, along with vacuuming and other chores.  Mrs. Lippert taught us well!


  • No food or drink allowed in the school.
  • Bathroom is for staff use only.  Speak to our office staff if needed.
  • Students must provide their own instrument, with the exception of piano. 
  • Bring your own books/accessories.  Accessories for instruments other than piano include: microphones, drum sticks, picks, patch chords.  Please ensure your name is on your equipment.  Visit https://www.lippertmusic.ca/collections/all for items you will need for your lessons. 

Discounted Restringing Services in East Toronto

Periodic restringing is essential for your instrument to function well – Call or Email Lippert’s today!

When did you change your strings last?  Did you know, for active musicians, it is recommended that you restring your instrument at least every three to six months?  Some pros have new strings for each performance! For students, it’s crucial to change the strings every year. Lippert’s Music Centre offers restringing services in East Toronto!

Let’s start the year fresh, have a re-string of your guitar, ukulele, violin, viola or cello and start making beautiful music again.  It’s a great way to take care of your instrument and help increase the lifespan. 

Your stringed instrument should be restrung periodically for optimum performance
All string instruments need to be restrung occasionally for optimal performance

How do strings degrade?

Each time you pluck a note or strum a chord, your strings vibrate and bend to produce sound. With consistent play these string movements cause wear and tear to the strings themselves. In addition, dirt and oil from a musician’s hands (yes, even if you wash them) can also contribute to strings losing their strength and quality. The decline in string quality results in strings that sound dull or muted; are difficult to keep in tune; and can break easily.  Why put in hours practicing on an instrument that is not in its best shape and may cause you to develop negative habits in accommodating decreased string quality?

Guitar strings degrade over time and need to be restrung

Benefits of our restringing services

There are definite benefits to restringing that a musician will be able to feel and hear. A newly restrung instrument has excellent sound quality, ability to hold tuning, and is easier to play. Give yourself every opportunity to succeed by doing the maintenance necessary to keep your instrument in the shape needed to help you improve.

At Lippert’s, we provide restringing services in East Toronto to ensure students have their instruments in the best shape possible to learn and excel. Right now, we are offering 20% off restringing from July 19-30th, 2021, while supplies last.  Let our experts help you choose the right set of strings for you!

Restringing services East Toronto - restringing an acoustic guitar

Call or email Lippert’s and set up a drop off time for our restringing services in East Toronto.

You will surely hear and feel the difference. 


  • 20% off restringing July 19-30, 2021. 
  • Appointment needed for drop off.
  • Ensure your name, email address and phone number are visible on your case.