Previously we have discussed what kind of mental dedication and budget one needs to start a guqin curriculum in Toronto, but what about where do we get started? While the issue of lessons has an obvious solution (you ARE reading the qin society’s website, now!), procuring the instrument and supplies locally, is a different issue.
In Toronto, two famous stores that carry world musical instruments carry the qin – and both are located along Spadina Avenue.
Musideum is an elegant space where one can leisurely browse in the cozy-lighted, refined shop/performance space of Donald Quan, music composer and renowned musician. From hurdy-gurdy’s to clavichords to theremin, you can find it all here. Needless to say, they have some qins for sale, as well as various handbooks for it, including the Standards of the Guqin. You can also find metal-nylon strings on sale here.
The other place is Kensington Melody, located on Baldwin Street, just steps past Augusta Avenue after getting off of the streetcar stop for Kensington Market. Owned and operated by an energetic old Chinese man who co-authored a Romanian translation of Lao Tzu’s Daode Jing and an avid collector of Tibetan and Uighur instruments, furniture, and paraphernalia. Aside from a sizable stock of qins at a reasonable price range (just ask – they’re in the back), do spend time to examine the various trinkets, religious symbols, drums, and electric instruments that spill over into the cramped walkways. Metal-nylon and silk strings are available on sale here, as well as some qin scores and the Standards book. However, do bear with the somewhat dusty and cramped environment – bring a wiping rag if you want to try the qins out, just in case.