Instructor Feature: Brad McGoey

Next in our new bi-weekly Instructor Feature series: simultaneous multi-instrumentalist and facilitator extraordinaire, Brad McGoey!

My Origin Story

I didn’t come from a family of musicians. There’s no long lineage of performers or anything like that, but music was always playing at our house, usually my dad playing rock and roll albums. In grade 7 I got a guitar, and I kinda played it without really “getting it” for a few years. Then in high school a group of us were inspired to start a punk band, and that’s where it clicked. Punk gave us the freedom to just mess around until we found something that felt good to us, and with that band we wrote songs, put on shows, and recorded. None of it was skillfully executed, but that didn’t matter. We gained a lot of experience and had a ton of fun. This was the little sprout that grew into the many-branched tree that my music career has become.

Past Projects: Musical Cycle Tours

In the Summer of 2017 I loaded my musical gear into a homemade bike trailer and biked from Sarnia to Tobermory along Lake Huron in Ontario, about 400 km. I camped along the way and played music for people, did some booked gigs and workshops, and played many small impromptu shows. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had this idea that a combination of slow travel and busking could make for more meaningful musical engagements with audiences.

There was an underlying environmentalist message as well, involving low carbon travel and creative repurposing, that I was hoping to get across in a showing-versus-telling sort of way. It was a very challenging and spiritually uplifting tour, and it worked well enough that I took the things I learned and did it again in 2019, travelling an 800 km loop from Halifax to Yarmouth and back. That tour was bigger and better in almost every way, and the random musical engagements with people along the way were more of a focus. In 2021 I did a masters degree in Community Music, examining the tours I had done through the lens of eco-activism, music in the commons, and spiritual re-wilding. 

Current Projects

The last few years have been a restful period in my career, as I adjust to fatherhood and re-evaluate my musical objectives. I’m continuing my practice as a simultaneous multi-instrumentalist, and have recently started playing music at farmers markets again, which is a great feeling and a nice mix of several of my interests. I’ve also been running music groups for babies and toddlers, and that has been so much fun. When little kids enjoy something they really feel it. It can be such a chaotic, positive energy, and it reminds me of the energy that I loved so much about punk music. 

My Teaching Style

I’m really inspired by the quote “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” That pretty much encapsulates my feelings about music, and informs how I approach teaching it. I want to help my students gain the skills and confidence to express their unique musical styles. This often involves a lot of “play”, and creating a space where we can feel safe taking musical risks and trying things out. I’m also interested in “cross-training”, or having students play around with instruments other than the one they are focusing on, as I feel it can be helpful for reinforcing some musical concepts. Over time, as I connect with the student, we can start charting out a path for them to follow, usually following the things that bring the most joy, to get to the goals we’ve co-created.

The feeling of making music with others is one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced, and all I want to do is get better at sharing that feeling with people, and help them learn how to create it, with the hope that they then share it, and we can make these ripples of joy that reverberate through the world. 

Also, making enough money that I can pay rent so that I can continue gardening!

I am very happy to be on the team at Ekko, and look forward to facilitating more community music experiences!

Brad currently teaches guitar lessons (and ukulele, drums, bass, etc.) with Ekko Studio on Saturdays, and facilitates the Ekko Kinders music exploration groups for babies and toddlers ages 0-4.

You can read Brad’s shortform biography and also book lessons online via his page: