By Michael Lima
Harry Ogden. A Canadian rock artist, band lead, guitar teacher, and music lover, is on a mission. Born and raised in Brampton, in a rough neighbourhood, Harry's family financially struggled throughout his youth. "The first guitar I got was from the junkyard with my dad". This, along with a self-proclaimed "obsession" with creating sound, explains why he extends a helping hand today. In March 2021, He'd heard of a few mothers who had chosen to not continue their children's weekend guitar lessons with a fellow instructor. Harry would not be having this. Later that year, he closed his private studio on the weekends so he could provide free lessons for families who are in a tight financial situation. "I know it means the world to them," Harry said.
Music is something that unites us all. Without a doubt, music is present at a point throughout your day. It is on such a level of importance in today's world that Harry believes parents and guardians should look to have their children involved in some form of musical art form. "Keeps them engaged, ignites a passion... it's the purest form of expressing yourself."
However, it is not the most accessible extracurricular out there. For the standard working class home in Canada, sacrifices have to be made, hence the reason Harry's students weren't able to continue classes. Their families could not accommodate. Inflation plays a big part in this, as the ability to make ends meet for most families has dwindled over the last few years. It is a depressing subject to touch on, but it is the harsh reality.
Harry is on a mission to make a grand difference for the local music community in Brampton, and hopefully, even further outside of it. A non-profit organization is in the works to provide families with some form of financial aid to get their kids as many lessons as possible. "I could see the passion, the drive, the love these kids have for music. It reminds me of myself." Harry could not provide any details of the passion project, as it is still in its early development.
From someone with humble beginnings, he knows this project will take heaps of time, effort, and funding. Harry understood that he wasn't forced into make a difference, but he feels he'd be doing himself a disservice if he refused to take a leap of faith. As mentioned by Harry, music can aid in brain development. Many facets that are crucial to the growth of a young mind can be found within the artform. In a piece by Harvard Health Publishing, it is revealed that music isn't just good for brain development amongst youth, but also for adults. A smaller sample sized survey, regardless, the results are clear as day. Music activates just about every functioning portion of the mind, essentially creating rhythmic thought & function. Pretty cool, right?
Harry's goal is also something that profound artists of the past generation, and current, have tapped into. Dave Grohl, the founder of the iconic American band, the Foo Fighters, was self taught. However, his teachings were never offered to the public in general. This didn't stop a wave of his fans from perfecting their own form of his sound and offering free lessons & tutorials on youtube. DrumsTheWord on Youtube is a person who has constantly provided his own teachings of Dave's unique drum work completely free of charge. Plenty other wonderful people can be made an example of this. Youtubers such as Marty Music, The Paradigm Music School with lessons and tutorials from famed guitarist, Joe Satriani, and many more.
A massive industry with seemingly no open space for newcomers or those unable to enter has certainly had a culture shift. Instead of pushing away the younger generation, it is being embraced and lent a helping hand. Music is something that unites us all, no matter the genre, era, artist, etc... Harry Ogden felt this resonated with his morals, and ran with it. He is now preparing for an upcoming show at a venue in Toronto with his indie rock/grunge band, The Cosmonauts.