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Our Team
Our Music Instructors

Get to know our music instructors. We are all passionate about making a difference in the lives of the youth who step through our doors by providing a well-rounded arts education.

 

  • Linda Shirley Piano teacher and head of The Arts Connection

    Linda Shirley
    Private Piano Teacher, Head of School

    Linda Shirley
    Private Piano Teacher, Head of School

    For 45 years, Linda Shirley, our CEO and Head of School, has worked tirelessly to establish herself as an outstanding teacher who specializes in laying down the fundamentals necessary to make her students successful in their future studies. Linda believes that teaching music is like building a house! If you don’t lay down a firm foundation before building the walls, eventually the walls will crack and the house will lack integrity. She believes that if a strong foundation is built right from the very first lesson, students will become confident and informed young musicians who can then take that strong sight-reading and ear training skills with them into the higher and more challenging repertoire. As the current publisher of the renowned “Kelly Kirby Piano Method”, which was originally developed and published by the Royal Conservatory of Music, Linda’s students consistently receive outstanding marks in examinations and festivals but more importantly, she values the opportunity to help her students through their struggles and achievements, both personally and musically, so that they feel supported on their journey and discover the warmth and satisfaction that music can bring to their lives.

    • Publisher of Kelly Kirby program
    • Kelly Kirby Certified Teacher
    • RCM Level 10
  • Angela Cavadas Violin teacher

    Angela Cavadas
    Private Violin Teacher, Private Piano Teacher

    Angela Cavadas
    Private Violin Teacher, Private Piano Teacher

    From a young age Angela was the recipient of many major music awards, most notably winning First Prize in the CBC Young Artists Competition at the age of nineteen. Renowned violinists Steven Staryk and Ruggiero Ricci were major mentors in her musical training and over the course of her diverse and distinguished career, she has performed in numerous concerts and has worked with many world-famous instrumentalists and conductors. During the 2017-18 music season Angela held the position of Acting Concertmaster with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. In addition to her work with that organization she performs regularly with the Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Choir, and Chilliwack Symphony, and she will celebrate her 27th year with West Coast Chamber Music this year. Angela’s main piano instructor was May German and she was also coached by Lloyd Powell and Derek Bampton. While violin is her primary performance instrument, she teaches both violin and piano and has frequently acted as piano accompanist for her students in recitals and exams.

    Angela has taught at Douglas College, The Vancouver Academy of Music, The Arts Conservatory and through her private studio.

    • 1st Prize in the CBC Young Artists Competition
    • Acting Concertmaster with the VOO
  • Erika Private piano, private theory and private voice teacher

    Erika Galinskaya
    Private Piano Teacher, Private Theory Teacher, Private Voice Teacher

    Erika Galinskaya
    Private Piano Teacher, Private Theory Teacher, Private Voice Teacher

    Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Ms. Erika Galinskaya studied piano for 17 years. She graduated from a musical college in Murmansk, Russia and from University in Vinnitsa, Ukraine with Master’s degrees in four different musical specialties – solo piano performance, group performance, piano accompaniment and piano pedagogy. Before coming to Canada in 1977, she was employed by the comedy theatre “Goldoni” in Rome, Italy as a music director, pianist and stage producer. She has worked with American actors on popular classical musicals and children’s plays which attracted large audiences, both old and young. Since coming to Canada, Erika has enjoyed a very successful music career, with her talent as a performer and teacher becoming quickly acknowledged and praised. Erika has also collaborated with many singers, instrumental musicians, ensembles, community choirs, and public school music productions. She remains deeply involved in Vancouver’s artistic scene, bringing her artistry to her students and her community. As a pianist who is classically trained in the old Russian tradition, Erika enjoys playing and teaching jazz and folk music. She is proud to have taught generations of Vancouver musicians for more than three decades. As a member of the Piano Teachers Federation and the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers Association, her reputation as a professional and experienced teacher has earned her outstanding recognition in British Columbia, across Canada, and even in the United States.

  • Brenda Lam Piano teacher

    Brenda Lam
    Private Piano Teacher

    Brenda Lam
    Private Piano Teacher

    Miss Brenda has been immersed in music since she was born. Her formal music education started at the ripe age of three with the Kelly Kirby program. She has been teaching and mentoring students of all ages for 18 years, specializing in teaching children ages 3 to 6. She has performed extensively as the co-lead of Sincere Lam’s Guzheng Ensemble at venues including Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Centennial Theatre, Sun Yat-Sen Garden, and Vancouver Television. Miss Brenda holds a BA in Japanese and Chinese Language and Literature double major as well as a Japanese and Chinese translation certificate from University of Alberta and has now been accepted into the Student-Teacher Auxiliary of the Registered Music Teacher’s Association. She is currently studying under Dr. Raul Velasco and Dr. Nikolai Maloff to receive her ARCT in Piano Pedagogy and RMT designation. An advocate in continual growth, Miss Brenda has taken the Music Together Teacher’s Course in 2016 and attends almost all workshops available including RCM, Faber, and Hal Leonard.

  • Private Piano Teacher

    Edmundo Gonzalez
    Private Piano Teacher

    Edmundo Gonzalez
    Private Piano Teacher

    Hailing from Mexico City, pianist Edmundo González is invested both as a solo and chamber musician. In recent years, he has had success performing concerti with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Querétaro Symphony, and the Coyoacán Symphony. Mr. Gonzalez also won acclaim for performing a wide range of repertoire in his solo and chamber recitals in Mexico, USA, Canada, Italy, Austria, and Cuba. Mr. González is an award winner of numerous competitions. Most notably, he was a prizewinner at the 2012 Angélica Morales-Yamaha National Piano Competition in Mexico, and consecutively received first prize at the Conservatory of Mexico Piano Competition in 2005 and 2006. His extensive list of scholarships and grants includes the Mexican National Fund for Science and Technology Scholarship, the Meadows Artistic Merit Scholarship, and the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts Grant. Currently, Mr. González is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of British Columbia, where he studied with professors Sara Davis Buechner and Jane Coop. He received his Artist Diploma in Piano Performance and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas. At this school, he had the privilege of working under renowned artists Joaquín Achúcarro and Alessio Bax. He earned his Bachelor’s degree and graduated with top honours at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico. Mr. González gained his teaching experience while running various classes as a teaching assistant at the University of British Columbia and the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts. Mr. González is an avid reader and a film enthusiast.

    • Prizewinner at the 2012 Angélica Morales-Yamaha National Piano Competition in Mexico
    • First prize at the Conservatory of Mexico Piano Competition in 2005 and 2006
    • Awarded the Mexican National Fund for Science and Technology Scholarship
    • Awarded the Meadows Artistic Merit Scholarship
    • Awarded the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts Grant
  • Holly Duff Private Piano Teacher

    Holly Duff
    Private Piano Teacher

    Holly Duff
    Private Piano Teacher

    Holly received her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Western Ontario, and an Associate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music in Piano Pedagogy. Her most inspiring musical mentors have been Dr. Robin Wood of Victoria and Robert Rogers of UBC. Holly is a founding director and pianist with West Coast Chamber Music, a popular Vancouver concert series since 1993. She has also had a lifelong passion for storytelling which she has combined with music in original children’s concerts. With over 30 years teaching experience, Holly is a sought after piano and Orff teacher and adjudicator, and teaches students of all levels at a variety of musical institutions in the area. Her students regularly do well at exams and festivals. In teaching people to play piano at all ages and stages, her youngest beginners have been age 4, with her oldest beginner, age 86! She always brings joy and energy to the lesson, with particular strengths in nurturing a relaxed natural piano technique and tapping into each individual’s creativity. When she’s not playing the piano, you might find her writing, knitting or hanging out in her garden or with her family.

  • Shayda Taheri
    Private Piano Teacher

    Shayda Taheri
    Private Piano Teacher

    Shayda’s introduction to music began when she started taking piano lessons with Linda Shirley at the age of four. She studied with Ms. Shirley until she reached RCM level 4 piano; she continued her intermediate and senior music studies with other instructors and is currently studying under Dr. Nikolai Maloff while working towards her ARCT RCM exams. Over the years, she has won numerous awards at notable piano competitions such as Vancouver Kiwanis and Festival on the Lake, and has also received multiple awards and music scholarships from the Kelly Kirby Music Organization. Shayda has also achieved her Kelly Kirby Teacher certification and enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill levels, using Kelly Kirby, Faber, RCM, and other various methods to fit the student’s needs and goals. She aims to teach her students to both play well and enjoy music, as she has through all her years as both a music student and instructor.

    • Winner of awards at Kiwanis Festival and Festival on the Lake
    • Winner of past Kelly Kirby Scholarships given to students who receive the highest RCM Exam marks in the province
  • Soo Min Piano teacher

    Soo Min Kim
    Private Piano Teacher

    Soo Min Kim
    Private Piano Teacher

    Soo Min started her musical journey at the age of 5. After receiving her ARCT performance diploma, she went on to complete her Bachelor of Music at the University of Victoria. During this time, as she was teaching private lessons, her passion for teaching piano drove her to receive training in piano pedagogy, resulting in an AVCM teaching diploma. Soo Min continued her studies and completed her Masters in Piano Performance at the University of Ottawa. Soo Min has had inspiring piano teachers including Edward Parker, Kenneth Broadway, Ralph Markham, Eva Solar- Kinderman and Andrew Tunis. Her goal as a teacher is to assist in developing an appreciation for the art of music-making at any age. She strongly believes that music-making should be enjoyable, and when the enjoyment of music is combined with consistent practice, students not only learn to play the piano but develop important qualities like patience, perseverance, creativity, confidence and discipline. Soo Min helps her students to become their own music teachers as she strives to motivate and encourage analytical thinking and a musical ear. Having had experience with teaching students of all ages, she finds enjoyment in tailoring each lesson according to the student’s learning style.

  • Drums teacher

    Stephen Coley
    Private Drum Teacher

    Stephen Coley
    Private Drum Teacher

    Stephen has been playing the drums for over a decade, through which he developed a general love of music and passion for various world-wide percussion styles. In addition to his drum instruction, Stephen plays as the drummer in a band who regularly plays local shows around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, and has also taught children as a skating instructor and camp counsellor for several years. Music and education are two great passions of his, and he is always excited to share his musical appreciation and drum abilities with all of his students, working to best fit their specific needs and goals through their lessons.

  • Tessa Private voice teacher

    Tessa Waddell
    Private Voice Teacher, Group Music Teacher

    Tessa Waddell
    Private Voice Teacher, Group Music Teacher

     Miss Tessa has been involved in music for as long as she can remember! Starting piano lessons at a young age, and beginning professional singing lessons at the age of 11, some of her fondest musical memories are from her early years. With a strong foundation in musical theatre, choir, drama, theory, and dance, her early passion for music set the stage for a lifelong adventure of exploration and education. Recently completing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of British Columbia, Miss Tessa specialized in opera performance and was heavily involved both on and off the stage. She was honored to sing roles in operas such as Carmen, Il Tabarro, and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), but most notably, she was honored to sing the role of ‘Krystina’ in the Canadian premiere of Pasażerka (The Passenger). Miss Tessa was the recipient of the Madame Rosa Bok-Falkson Centennial Scholars Major Entrance Award in Opera, and the Dr. Peter M. Brown Choral Award, and has performed across North America and Europe. Her highlights include being the soloist for John Corigliano’s Artist in Residence performance of ‘Fern Hill’, and touring with the National Youth Choir of Canada. Miss Tessa has been instructing for 6 years, and loves being a part of The Arts Conservatory!

    • Madame Rosa Bok-Falkson Centennial Scholars Major Entrance Award in Opera
    • Dr. Peter M. Brown Choral Award
  • Timothea Lee Private Piano

    Timothea Lee
    Private Piano Teacher

    Timothea Lee
    Private Piano Teacher

    Timothea’s love for music began in elementary school when she first heard her French teacher play the organ in church. Thus, her music lessons began and her teacher, recognizing that Timothea was serious about piano, introduced her to another teacher that would take her through the journey of the Royal Conservatory of Music Program. During high school, Timothea voluntarily joined the Jazz and Concert band and loved the way that music magically blended together from so many instruments. Timothea was a yearly participant in the Prince George Music Festival, at which she annually won various awards. During her last two years of Royal Conservatory of Music education, Timothea studied under Edward Parker and successfully continued her music lessons through to the completion of RCM Level 10. As a certified Kelly Kirby instructor, Timothea continues to spread her love of music and hopes that her students will also learn to enjoy the magic that music holds.

    • Various Awards at the Prince George Music Festival
  • Vance Hoy
    Private Piano Teacher

    Vance Hoy
    Private Piano Teacher

    Mr. Hoy, a native of Vancouver, includes as his mentors in the study of piano, Dale Reubart and Robert Silverman of Canada, and Reginald Stewart and John Perry of the United States. A former professor of piano at the University of Calgary, Mr. Hoy has performed extensively throughout Western Canada in radio broadcasts and solo recitals, and has appeared as guest soloist with several orchestras across Canada, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Currently a barrister and solicitor by vocation, Mr. Hoy divides his time between his law practice and teaching piano students at various institutions throughout Vancouver.

  • Sheila Lee Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Sheila Lee
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Sheila Lee
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Sheila has been passionate about music and the arts all her life. She has training in piano, guitar, violin, voice, and dance. Her passion for helping others led her to complete her BA in Psychology from UBC, Bachelor of Music Therapy from Capilano University, and MA in Counselling Psychology from UVic. Her love of learning inspired her to obtain her Early Childhood Education license, and study various music education approaches including Orff, Kodály, and Music Together®. Her specializations are working with people with special needs and unique learning styles, and with children and families. Sheila truly believes in the power of music to connect and bring together people of all ages and abilities.

    • Music Therapy Students’ Association Conference Scholarship
    • Carolyn Kenny Music Therapy Scholarship
  • Rachel Bergen
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Rachel Bergen
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Born and raised in Victoria, BC, Rachel comes from a musical family and has been singing since before she could talk. She has been a member of many choirs, performed in musicals and operas, and experimented with jazz, bluegrass, and even ska. After completing a Humanities degree at the University of Victoria, she attended the Victoria Conservatory of Music to study classical voice. She moved to Vancouver in 2014 to attend Capilano University and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Therapy. She also completed the Music Together teacher training developed by the Center for Music and Young Children, Princeton, New Jersey.

    In her spare time, she likes to make up songs about her family dog, Java. Rachel loves seeing children explore their world, and is excited to share the joy of music with families in Music Together.

  • Music Therapy and Adapted Music instructor

    Mary Cobham
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Mary Cobham
    Music Therapy, Adapted Music

    Mary grew up in a musical family and participated in singing lessons and choir throughout her life. While studying International Development Studies at Dalhousie University she taught herself to play drums and guitar and began to write songs. For 10 years she wrote music, recorded albums, performed live, and toured with many pop/rock ensembles from Halifax and Toronto, before moving to Vancouver. In Vancouver, she studied classical guitar and music theory at Capilano University, then earned her degree in music therapy, after deciding she wanted to work with children and teenagers. She now works as a music therapist and teacher at the Arts Conservatory and runs her own business (Mary Music Therapy) out of Vancouver and Salt Spring Island.

    • Billy Rhodda Memorial Music Therapy Scholarship (x2)
  • Guitar and Ukulele teacher

    Gabriel Diaz
    Private Guitar Teacher, Private Ukulele Teacher

    Gabriel Diaz
    Private Guitar Teacher, Private Ukulele Teacher

    Gabriel Diaz is a guitarist born in Vancouver, BC. He owes his appreciation of music greatly to his father, who inspired him with the music from the ’60s and ’70s, specifically the Beatles and music of Latin America. Gabriel has completed a Music Diploma at Douglas College with a focus on Jazz studies. Currently, Gabriel is in his 3rd year of the BA program at Vancouver Community College, majoring in Classical guitar and minoring in Composition. In 2019, Gabriel completed a summer at the prestigious Domaine Forget in Quebec, a two-week intensive program studying Classical guitar with masters from all over the world. 

    In addition to his studies in Jazz and love of Classical guitar, Gabriel also thrives in the local musician community where he writes for several local popular music bands, playing various venues across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Gabriel enjoys teaching and looks forward to challenging himself and his students while sharing his passion for music. At the Arts Conservatory, Gabriel teaches both the guitar and the ukulele.

  • Sarah Wong
    Private Piano Teacher

    Sarah Wong
    Private Piano Teacher

    Sarah Y.X. Wong has devoted herself to pursue arts since she was young. At the age of 6, she started learning piano, perpetually mastering her studies and striving to perfect the art. To broaden her musicality, she has also learned violin, flute, clarinet, drums, guitar, and ukulele, all of which contribute to her composition abilities.

    At the age of 12, she hosted her first concert, “The Melody of Love” where all proceeds went forth to an Anti-Cancer Rehabilitation Society. She has contributed to countless local organizations through her art, including the Richmond Children Hospital, Canadian Red Cross, and Canadian Cancer Society. She has performed on various stages across Vancouver, at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Michael J. Fox Theatre, River Rock Casino Theatre, and many alike.

    In 2020, she received a silver award in the “Steinway Youth Piano Competition”. Sarah recently completed the Royal Conservatory of Music ARCT in piano performance after studying piano for 10 years. She was offered admission by Berklee College of Music, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University, to further her studies as a musician. She hopes to bring her utmost determination, passion, and creativity, to inspire many youths to pursue their dream.

  • Andrew Ty Private Violin teacher

    Andrew Ty
    Private Violin Teacher

    Andrew Ty
    Private Violin Teacher

    Andrew graduated from the Vancouver Academy of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and has been teaching for over 18 years. As a highly recommended and dedicated teacher, Andrew encourages his students to balance foundational techniques, accuracy, and musicality in everyday playing. He believes that teaching helps students find their appreciation and self-expression through different genres, and develop their self-confidence. He is well-versed in RCM violin preparation and Suzuki method, and has taught a full range of levels from beginner to ARCT. He is passionate about teaching students of all ages with a variety of abilities and goals. Through his passion for teaching, Andrew is famous for his sense of humour and ability to connect with his students. As a result, he brings a fun yet inspiring atmosphere into the lessons.

  • Private piano teacher Angela Larsen

    Angela Larsen
    Private Piano Teacher

    Angela Larsen
    Private Piano Teacher

    Angela Larsen is a freelance Vancouver musician who brings her diverse professional experience and a love for supporting others to her teaching. Angela has studied piano with Edward Parker, Henri-Paul Sicsic, Miranda Wilkins-Wong, Eugene Skovorodnikov and Corey Hamm. She has participated in masterclass with Jean-Paul Saulnier at the Orford Arts Center and also studied song interpretation with Rena Sharon and chamber music with Terrance Dawson. After earning a Bachelors in Music in piano and voice at UBC, Angela studied organ with Terrance Fullerton at St. John’s Shaughnessy. Thereafter, she held the position of music director at St. Timothy’s Anglican and St. John’s Richmond Anglican. Angela remained active in solo piano, chamber music and vocal collaboration at St. John’s Shaughnessy, at the St. Francis in the Wood Recital Series and at the Silk Purse Arts Center. She also enjoyed several years playing for voice students in the studio of Heather Thompson Price at UBC and has accompanied choirs under Dr. Mel Unger (NABC Choristers) and Bruce Pullan (Vancouver Bach Youth Choir Sarabande). She currently studies voice with Marisa Gaetanne.
    Angela has had many years teaching experience at the West Point Grey Academy and the Delta Community Music School. She strives to bring the best music education to each of her students, ranging from beginners through to late RCM levels, and prides herself in her ability to match her lessons to her student’s needs. She lives in Tsawwassen with her husband and two children where she maintains a private studio. She loves the out-of-doors and enjoys exploring the B.C. wilderness with her family.

Our Partners

  • “My daughter started her piano journey at 4 years old with Mrs. Linda, who is such an awesome teacher and is always encouraging my daughter into becoming more confident and to enjoy playing piano. Right now piano has become part of her life. I feel very lucky to have her in this piano class.”

    Jaclyn D., Music Parent