Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre

Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Explore five floors of exhibitions that tell the story of music in Canada, celebrate music icons at the Canadian Halls of Fame, rock out with our interactive instrument installations and experiment in Soundbox– a music workshop! Everyone is welcome to Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles373 reviews
Excellent
252
Very good
98
Average
12
Poor
5
Terrible
6

cpurdye
Toronto, Canada80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
Wow! Fabulous history of Canadian music, including Québécois, in a stunning setting at a very reasonable pay-what-you-can price of $15. There was a Buffy Sainte Marie exhibition with many artifacts covering the many aspects of her career. The permanent exhibits included historical recordings and fun interactive stations. When was I ever going to have the opportunity to play a theramin?
Written 1 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Wow! Thank you for the fabulous review! Québécois music is a huge part of the Canadian musical landscape and we are thrilled to be home of the ADISQ Hall of Fame. It is certainly rare to come across a Theremin but we are so glad you had a chance to play it! If you enjoyed the museum we definitely recommend you take a peak at our What's On page to see our upcoming museum programming and live shows Thank you, Visitor Experience
Written 4 August 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

B411
London, Canada41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
This is an amazing museum, not just an amazing Calgary museum. Studio Bell is one of the best designed and most interactive museums I have been to anywhere, Canada or otherwise. And it isn't just about Canadian music history. There are tons of hands-on exhibits that teach you about the science and history of musical instruments. The placards are easy to read and understand and the exhibits are designed to appeal to all ages from kids to senior citizens, music aficionados to the average person who listens to the radio once in a while. I will definitely be back and put studio Bell on my list of Calgary to-dos for friends and family who come to visit.
Written 11 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SB01
Sonning Common, UK868 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
The museum is almost worth a visit for the stunning architecture, let alone the exhibits. Great, dizzying view down the stairwell from the 5th floor. Each floor is themed. The Canadian Hall of Fame on the 5th will surprise you with the breadth and depth of the acts, but if I'm ultra picky I'd like to see more info and detail about some of the icons, such as Neil Young. The 4th allows you to play some instruments and there is a great collection of electronic instruments and some collectors items, like one of Neil Peart's kits. There are also some fun interactive elements, daily performances and an auditorium. Personally I thought it was not far off the museum in Seattle.
There are excellent amenities and a small, nice cafe.
Written 17 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi SB01, We thank you in turn for the superb review! We will never tire of the beautiful architecture at Studio Bell! Did you know that Studio Bell's architecture is inspired by the Canadian landscape as well as acoustic instruments? In fact our amazing architecture allows our building to be its own instrument of light and sound! There is so much amazing talent in Canada and our goal with our exhibits is to reflect the vast and everchanging story of music in Canada. We hope by your next visit you will see more Canadian artists that you love and enjoy! In the meantime, check out our What's On page to see what performances we have coming up next! All the best, Meaghan
Written 29 July 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Charles B
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Went on family day with our 2 kids, we were all excited for the acoustic experience and getting to interact with instruments, how disappointed we were. Each exhibition room was a plain space with mostly visual information (and not greatly displayed), not great for a music center. The audio experiences are mostly limited to "put some headphones on", we could get more interesting and exciting information on youtube. There was a couple of instruments you could touch and interact with but not worth the hype. The organ demonstration was fun, but that's about it. Overall, it feels like a 1980s exhibits in a warehouse with a lot of small rooms, I'm not sure why such a big pretentious building for such a poor audio experience.
Written 26 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael M
11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Was a return visit and it holds up as my favorite music museum. International superstars are interspersed with Canadian stars this American isn’t familiar with. Very interactive; I could have spent all day learning guitar from Randy Bachmann video and playing with other instruments. Nice performance space for shows. A real gem
Written 27 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sherek X
Drumheller, Canada92 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Family
Excellent history in music history, lots of hands on exhibits and interactive displays. Just a tad disappointing that a Crash Test Dummies, Our Lady Peace, Moist, Edwin, I Mother Earth, Tom Cochrane or The Tea Party display is nowhere to be found or at least that I could see. Hopefully, one day!
Written 27 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Sheldonh887, Thank you so much taking the time to leave us a review! The story of music in Canada is vast and constantly changing- just like our programming and exhibits. We hope as we expand our collection, we can tell your favourite part of the growing story of music in Canada. Best, Visitor Experience
Written 13 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Country_Wife
Calgary, Canada28,779 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The Cantos Music Foundation is many things. One part of it is the vigorously-growing seed of a music museum, the Cantos collection of musical instruments. It is currently accessible only by guided tour, but there are three scheduled public tours a week (on Thursdays and Sundays) as well as private group tours.
I recently visited Cantos for the first time as part of a tour during Historic Calgary Week. I didn’t know very much about it before my trip.
Cantos shares a building in Calgary’s Beltline area (downtown area south of the 9th Avenue railroad tracks) with the Cohos Evamy architectural firm. The building itself is of some historical interest. It was built in 1912 to serve as the Customs Examining Warehouse serving the warehouse district (another name for this part of the Beltline area).
Before the tour began, we waited in a large performance space on the second floor while one of our tour guides played the piano at the front of the room. (Although this is an old building, it has a modern elevator.) Our two tour guides were Bob Pearson and Chris Nevile, who took us up to the third floor to see the collection.
The first area that we entered was a combined storage space and display space. Sturdy shelving held disassembled pianos, piano legs, accordions, and various unidentifiable bits, while the floor space was given over to a variety of keyboard instruments. Like all smart museums, Cantos has chosen to focus its collection in one area; a focussed collection means better representation for the various aspects of that focus. Cantos’ current focus on keyboard instruments has already led to some great donations of unique musical instruments.
Although the first instrument we saw when we came in was a very lovely organ, the tour started with a small and quite easily-missed instrument, a clavichord. Pearson played it for us and explained its role as one of the forerunners of the modern piano. Then he played a harpsichord and an 1808 piano (see video) to demonstrate what makes each instrument unique and how they played a role in the development of the piano. I had never heard a clavichord or a live harpsichord before. The Janissary pedals on the 1808 piano were surprising – I’m sure they are a hit with kids!
The next highlight was the Kimball theatre organ, which is bound to be very popular with all ages. With this huge musical instrument, a skilled organist can supply not just the music track, but also some of the sound effects for silent movies (see video). In the days of the silent movies, only the keyboard was visible to the audience, but visitors to Cantos can see just how large and complex this instrument is.
After the Kimball organ, the space is more museum-like, and the open storage racks were not seen again. Some particularly rare instruments, such as a 1560 virginal, are kept in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage room; however, the tour guides demonstrated many of the instruments on display, such as the famous Elton John songwriting piano, a player piano, and the Hammond B3 organ and Leslie speaker (see video). The tour took a little over an hour, and was entertaining and educational. There were some opportunities for visitors to play particluar musical instruments, such as the theremin. I’d jump at the chance to go again, and would recommend it to anyone, whether they play a keyboard or just enjoy music.
Written 12 August 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ConnoisseurGal
Calgary, Canada183 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Had a great tour led by a very knowledgeable PhD student. This place contains hundreds of period music instruments from old hurry-gurdies, harpsichords, clavichords, pianos, organs to a theremin, which we were allowed to play. The guide gave us histories, highlights, and we appreciated the evolution of electronic instruments from solid state to MOOG synthesizers. Excellent tour and what a collection! The woman who answers the phone (November 2012) is very haughty and discourages people from attending. Otherwise a superbly curated and displayed collection. Must see.
Written 27 December 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Luke J
Calgary, Canada23 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
really what type of music place has a cafe? Other than that its a pretty good place I like how you can try some of the instruments
Written 12 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thanks for the review lukej858, the interactive exhibits and playable instruments are definitely a crowd favorite. A good option if you didn't like the vibe of the cafe is to check out the King Eddy restaurant, bar and live music venue. They have a rocking menu, and they're conveniently located right across the street from our main entrance doors. Check them out next time you're in the area visiting! Happy Holidays, Alexa from Visitor Experiences
Written 20 December 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Professional-Pilgrim
Alberta, Canada1,349 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2012 • Couples
This is, without a doubt, one of the world's greatest collections of its kind. What is really enjoyable is being guided around by one of the very knowledgeable docents. Anyone who enjoys piano or harpsichord music should pay a visit.
Written 26 November 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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STUDIO BELL, HOME OF THE NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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