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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Private Drum Teacher
Johneil’s journey to becoming the drummer he is today came from different facets of musical experiences. His first exposure to the real world of music was in 2012 when he passed the audition for a choir. This choir competed in the prestigious chorale competition in Arezzo, Italy and Debrecen, Hungary with his main role of playing bamboo percussion and a Bass II singer in the group. Returning home from the choir’s European tours and competition, he decided to study music seriously and went to Perth Western Australia after finishing his Broadcasting degree in 2015. While studying full-time, He managed to record and play with outfits such as punk, RnB, rock, folk, alternative and lots more on various occasions. Apart from his gigs, he was hired as a part-time drum instructor at Sound Centre in Morley.
In August 2019, he was then hired as a full-time drum teacher at a school in Brunei Darussalam. Here he got the chance to hone his skills in teaching and helped students pass their exams with merit and distinction marks, as well as turn non-players into drummers. While teaching, he was able to do remote sessions for 2 artists in Perth Western Australia and one for a choir in the Philippines.
His recent drumming achievement was his selection as one of five 1st Prize winners of the 2022 Hudson Music’s Steve Gadd “Gaddiments” Contest in the US which Dr. Steve Gadd himself personally reviewed. Currently, he’s completing his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Music majoring in Drums at Vancouver Community College Broadway Campus.
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
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.
Private Piano Teacher
Ganbujin Adiyasuren started playing piano at the age of seven. After 11 years of continuous study, Ms. Adiyasuren graduated from the School of Music and Dance in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and received her Piano Accompanist/Music School Teacher Diploma. After graduation, she worked as a piano teacher at Hobby Secondary School in Mongolia. During that time, she acquired extensive knowledge in working with students of different ages and abilities. In 2008, Ms. Adiyasuren obtained the Bachelor in Music degree from the Music and Dance College of Mongolia.
Before moving to Canada, Ms. Adiyasuren worked as a private piano teacher in Mongolia, and gave individual piano lessons to students of various ages following the Russian tradition in piano. She also arranged performance opportunities for students, such as recitals for friends and relatives.Ms. Adiyasuren have been working as a piano teacher at Ava Music since December 2014. She also had an intensive Orff training under Heather Deris and currently she is Orff certified instructor and a Kelly Kirby trained teacher. She enjoys working with students of all ages and uses her experience as a parent and teacher to provide her clients with a strong musical education.
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
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.
Private Guitar, Ukulele and Drum Teacher
Luis DeJesus is a teacher who finds joy in carving out the best way to meet the needs of each unique student. He is passionate about all kinds of music, studying everything from Jazz to Rock, to Classical to Gamelan. He has lifelong experience with guitar, ukulele, and drums, and has been performing and teaching while completing his Music Degree at VCC. Luis understands that no two people are the same, and in teaching he strives to match the challenge and excitement that come with that kind of limitless variety. He is a naturally curious person and brings a relatable student experience to the classroom. Outside of music, Luis also really really likes Star Wars and has seen the Holiday Special more times than any person should (once).
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.
Music Group and Private Violin Teacher
Following Susan’s studies with violin pedagogue, David Zafer at the University of Toronto, she began a freelance career performing with ensembles such as The Canadian Opera Company and The Kitchener Waterloo Symphony. Returning to her native home of Vancouver, Susan has performed with the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Regional Symphonies and has recorded for film and several international artists’ . As well as traditional violin instruction, Susan is a certified Suzuki teacher: teaching preparatory group classes and individual lessons for all levels. Among some of her favourite performing opportunities were the North American Tour as the violinist for “Fiddler On The Roof”, The Mantovani Touring Orchestra’s tours in China, and five seasons playing with the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra. Susan has taught at Douglas College, the Semiahmoo Academy and through her private studio.
Theory and Private Piano Teacher, Flute Teacher
Ruth Cornish holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia and is a longtime member of the British Columbia Registered Music Teacher’s Association. She has been welcoming flute, piano, and theory students of all ages and abilities for over 30 years. While her students consistently perform well in recitals, festivals, and exams, she is happy to help students reach their goals, whether they want to learn music for fun and enjoyment, improve their school band playing, or pursue more intensive studies in music. She has enjoyed an active career performing as a soloist and free-lance musician in a variety of settings including chamber ensembles and community-based orchestras.
“I enjoy getting to know my students and learning what inspires them. Each student is an individual with their own interests and learning styles. I love the challenge of finding new ways to help them learn and succeed. My aim is to create a safe environment where students feel supported and free to challenge themselves with whatever their musical goals may be. Being part of their musical journey is exciting to me.”
Private Piano Teacher
Crystal was first introduced to the world of music through her dad’s passion and engagement with classical music and bands. Inspired by this, she began to take on lessons for a variety of instruments including piano, flute, and guitar. Through her piano lessons, she completed the Kelly Kirby Program and finished RCM Examinations up to Level 8, including an award of the Annual Kelly Kirby Scholarship for highest RCM Exam mark. In relation to her passion for music and teaching youth, she has an interest in social work in the realm of family services. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology alongside an ECE certificate at UBC and plans to complete a Bachelor of Social Work. Crystal’s childhood experiences in learning piano are some of her favourite memories, and she hopes to share the same joy to others through teaching and introducing them to the possibilities of music.
Private Voice Teacher
Kendra is a motivated individual who has been trained in both classical voice and musical theatre. Growing up she competed at festivals such as Vancouver Kiwanis, Festival on the Lake, and CDMF where in 2020 she was a BC provincial representative for Intermediate Musical Theatre. Her vocal talents were encouraged and guided by Jonathan Lee at The Arts Conservatory prior to her post-secondary education, and she now collaborates with Hungarian-Canadian opera singer Krisztina Szabó to fine tune her vocal technique.
Kendra currently is attending The University of British Columbia in her fourth year studying classical music and majoring in Opera Performance. She has been a proud member of The UBC Opera Ensemble, performing in multiple operas such as Hansel and Gretel, Il Cappello di Paglia di Firenze, Tosca, and The Gondoliers. She has performed at the Chan Centre as a member of Choral Union and at Bard on the Beach singing a variety of popular opera repertoire.
Through her training experience, Kendra’s main objective is to provide strong support and music education to her students while using healthy vocal techniques and building a positive student-teacher relationship.
Dr. Martin Wilson
Private Voice Teacher, Private Theory Teacher, Acting Coach
Dr. Martin Wilson holds a Doctorate in Music degree from Indiana University in vocal performance. He has professionally sung and taught classical, musical theatre, popular, and jazz music in the US, Canada, and Europe for more than 20 years. Dr. Wilson also teaches music theory as an RCM registered teacher, and acts as a full union member of ACTRA. He enjoys bringing his experience into teaching students the foundations of singing and how to apply that to their songs and their stories, be it through singing, acting, or a combination of both. He aims to help students confidently burst into song with both learned and practiced techniques, and to help them find their voice.
What families say about our music teachers
“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., Parent