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Our Teachers

Our teachers are trained members of the Suzuki Association, accredited with the Suzuki Association of Ontario, and are dedicated to the principles of the Suzuki Method of teaching.

Balancing a nurturing environment with high musical standards, our teachers challenge students to produce their best effort at their own pace.

If you would like to be contacted by one of our teachers, please email the OSA Registrar with the following information:

  • Your child’s age
  • Instrument desired
  • Current level or previous experience

You will be contacted within approximately three business days.

Did You Know?

You don’t need to own an instrument to take lessons through the OSA. In most cases, your teacher will help to ‘size’ your child for an instrument before they start playing. We can then refer you to The Sound Post for instrument rentals.


 

Silvija Abols: Piano

Silvija AbolsSilvija Abols has been a piano instructor for over three decades, teaching children, parents and other teachers at workshops and institutes across North America. She has degrees in music (Honours B.Mus.Ed.) and in education (B.Ed.) from the University of Western Ontario, as well as performing diplomas from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Silvija began her Suzuki studies with Dr. Haruko Kataoka (founder of the Suzuki Piano Method) in 1982, when Dr. Kataoka came to visit Canada for the very first time. After that Silvija did a two-year apprenticeship with Dorothy Jones (a well-known and respected Suzuki pioneer in Canada), and continued to study with Dr. Kataoka every summer, as well as with other fine Suzuki teachers such as Bruce Anderson, Doris Koppelman, Jeanne Luedke and others from across North America at summer institutes. In 1987, she decided to go to Japan to immerse herself in the Suzuki Method at its source. Silvija is one of only two Canadians to have graduated as a “Master Teacher” in piano from Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, where she studied for four years (1987-1991) with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Dr. Haruko Kataoka.

Silvija is noted for her serious silliness for which she makes no apologies and said she learnt from two very significant men in her life: her father and Dr. Suzuki. With a husband, a son, a dog and a full studio, she says it comes in very handy and keeps her happily sane or insane — whatever the day may bring.
 

 


Natalie Burton: Violin

Natalie has been teaching Suzuki violin for over 17 years. She has an Honours Bachelor of Music Education from Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied violin with Jerzy Kaplanek and Jeremy Bell, both members of the Penderecki String Quartet. As a youth she played in the Halton Youth Symphony, at university with the WLU Symphony Orchestra and later with the Oakville Symphony. She enjoys chamber music performs in quartets and trios for weddings and other special events.

Natalie has her Bachelor of Education from York University and her Honours Music Specialist from York University. She currently teaches K-6 Music with the Halton District School Board at an elementary school in Burlington.

She teaches Suzuki violin from beginner to the end of book 4.

Studio Location: Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre

 


Michelle Coon: Flute, Theory

Michelle Coon AndersonMichelle received her Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University in 1985 with a double major in Performance and Music History. She has studied with Donelda Gartshore and Camilla Watts
She has been teaching Flute and RCM theory and History (all levels) for over 25 years and has been part of the Oakville Suzuki Association for the past 15years.  Michelle received her Suzuki Teacher Training at the Great Lakes Institute in Hamilton, ON.

Many of Michelle’s students have received scholarships at local music festivals; many have been invited on to the Provincial level Music Festivals.  Several students have also been awarded the Silver Medal for their RCM flute practical exams. Michelle’s students have won school music awards, the Hollier and Young Artist awards through the Oakville Symphony Orchestra, and  have gone on to continue to study flute at University.

Michelle teaches all levels and ages of flute and is passionate about her teaching. She believes that music must be fun and serious all at the same time.
Michelle Started the Oakville Suzuki Flute Orchestra (OSFO) in 2004 for her senior students which adds in the larger and smallest members of the flute family, the piccolo, Alto and Bass flutes which gives the ensemble their beautiful and unique sound. The OSFO has played in many venues around Oakville including Oakville Place, Whole Foods, dinners, receptions and business openings. Michelle arranges and composes music for the group. The younger students wanted to have the opportunity to work with the larger and smaller flutes as well so Michelle started the Junior Orchestra several years later.

Michelle has a passion for teaching theory at all levels including all the RCM co- requisites (Rudiments, History, Harmony) She has written a book called “Music Theory in a  nutshell” for parents and enthusiasts to help them understand the basics of theory  and is working on a music reading booklet.

Michelle has done pit orchestra work but finds small chamber groups most rewarding. She currently plays in a Trio with Piano and Cello, and has performed in many places in and around Oakville.

Michelle is on the OSA executive and is the chair of the OSA Music Committee. She has two children and her daughter took Suzuki Cello so she has also been a Suzuki parent and knows both sides of the equation. An animal lover, she has two friendly dogs and a cat.

 


Catherine Adèle Balmer: Suzuki Piano

Please contact the registrar for teacher biography and experience.
 


Jesse Dietschi: Bass

Jesse DietschiToronto bassist Jesse Dietschi (B.Mus, M.Mus) is a versatile musician and composer with a wide variety of skills and experiences at his disposal. He has studied double bass with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Assistant Principal bassist Stan Label and Juno-award winning bassist Andrew Downing, and has earned Masters degrees in Jazz Performance and Composition from the University of Toronto and Brandon University. In addition to serving as the former bass instructor at Brandon University and the International Music Camp, Jesse is an Artistic Producer with the Toronto’s Spectrum Music concert series, and is the Principal Double Bassist with Markham’s Kindred Spirits Orchestra. He has performed with such artists as the Gryphon Trio’s Jamie Parker, Robi Botos, The Canadian Tenors’ Ken Lavigne, Chicago free jazz artist Ernest Dawkins, Tapestry New Opera, Nick “Brownman” Ali, and Mexico’s Northern Lights chamber music festival.

 

 


Kate Einarson: Violin, Early Childhood Music

Kate has been teaching music to children of all ages for over a decade. Before moving to Ontario in 2009, she taught private and group violin lessons for the University of Manitoba Suzuki Program, and had her own private studio in Winnipeg. In addition to teacher training from the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Kate has training in early-childhood music and in the Orff-Schulwerk method, and she specializes in teaching young beginners. Kate is currently a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), the Early Childhood Music Association of Ontario (ECMA), and the International Society for Music Education (ISME). Kate is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of Ontario (SAO) as the representative for the '905 West' region.
In addition to teaching in Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville, Kate is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at McMaster University, working as a research scientist at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. She studies the development of musical knowledge in infants and children, and the effects of music training on children's abilities.

 


Joseph Fazakas: Guitar, Piano

Joseph Fazakas has been enjoying making music for over 35 years. Piano studies began at an early age and include studying piano performance at Wilfrid Laurier University, McMaster University, and the RCM. His teachers included Lillian Bedford, Garth Beckett, Valerie Tryon and Antonin Kubalek.

Joseph taught himself guitar at 10 and has sought teachers in a variety of styles; former teachers include Doug Murphy, Jeffrey McFadden, William Beauvais and Wendell Ferguson. Joseph performed in many bands and ensembles throughout his teens and early twenties, followed by 5 years of studying guitar at the RCM in Toronto, where he was a multiple silver medal winner. Joseph has participated in many Suzuki guitar and piano workshops, where he has studied with guitarist and Suzuki guitar co-founder William Kossler. While Joseph continues to take studies and is certified in the Yamaha method as well, he enjoys making Suzuki the foundation of his students’ habits while augmenting their musical education with a variety of contemporary techniques. In addition to 2 decades as an organist and church music director, Joseph maintains an active studio in Oakville and Hamilton, performs as a collaborative pianist and adjudicator. In addition to an active schedule Joseph strives to continually improve his knowledge and teaching methods. He is currently studying jazz piano with jazz pianist and educator David Story.

Studying Guitar:
Like any instrument, we want to enjoy the process of making music. However, there is definitely labour behind the art. While I attempt to make my lessons, and the learning process, as fun as possible, music making unquestionably becomes much more agreeable and entertaining when everyone knows what duties are laid out before them. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have, especially in terms of the guitar, but the following lists will give you and your child a framework in which to begin the music making process. Just remember, everyone involved should have fun, but it’s positively weighted in the student’s favour!

 

 


Pierre Yves Gagnon: Violin, Viola

Pierre Yves Gagnon is native to Montreal, Quebec, and fluent in French and English. He has long experience as a viola and violin teacher in the Oakville area. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Viola Performance from the University of McGill, where he studied viola under the direction of Steve Kondaks. He further pursued his study of the viola with Ralph Aldrich at the University of Western Ontario where he received a Masters degree in Viola performance and Literature. Mr. Gagnon was a member of L’Orchestre des Jeunes du Quebec and the National Youth Orchestra. He was also principal violist of the Canadian Chamber Orchestra in Banff. He is currently a member of the Niagara Symphony and is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators’ Association.
 
He was introduced to the Suzuki method while studying at McGill University and took his first unit at theGuelph Suzuki Institute in 1983. Since, he has completed all ten violin teaching units and has attended several institutes and conferences across Canada, United States and Japan, including two workshops with Dr. Shinishi Suzuki.
 
He is a regular teacher at the Oakville Performing Arts Day Camp where he teaches violin, viola, recorder and chamber music and is invited at different Suzuki Institutes and music festivals in Canada and the United States.  
 

 


Amber Ghent: Cello

Amber Ghent photoB.Mus, M.Mus performance
Training:  Suzuki Units 1-10, Group Class Techniques, Suzuki Principles in Action

Having over a decade of teaching experience, Amber has enjoyed working with young artists ages 4-18 as faculty with the Cleveland Music School Settlement, KW Cello Suzuki, the Suzuki String School in Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier String Academy. Having completed training in all Suzuki units, Amber is currently training to become a licensed Andover Educator in order to help musicians avoid injury and play with ease.  Amber has taught in the summers at Valhalla and Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institutes, as well as Lakeside Music, the Oakville Performing Art Camp, and the Kincardine Chamber Music Program.

A versatile chamber and orchestral musician, Ms. Ghent has been cellist with the Madawaska String Quartet since 2007, performing and recording a wide range of repertoire and appearing at major venues throughout Canada including the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Toronto Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall, the Elora Festival, and the Indian River Festival in P.E.I.  She has also performed with the KW Symphony, Orchestra London, served as assistant principal for two seasons with the Erie Philharmonic.

Amber earned a Bachelor’s in Music Performance at Wilfrid Laurier University, went on to study in San Francisco and completed her Masters in Performance studying with members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

 


Bethany Goluboff: Violin

Bethany has traveled a circuitous route from California to Finland to Quebec to Ontario.   Born into a musical family, Bethany has been playing the violin since the age of four, studied with Manuel Compinsky, renowned violinist of the Compinsky Trio, Toscanini's NBC Orchestra, and master teacher of many prominent violinists.     She studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki for two years before returning to North America and pursued studies at Laval University in Quebec City.    Bethany holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, a Master of Music in Violin Performance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, all from Laval University in Quebec City, where in addition she played with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra. Bethany also completed the Orchestral Training Progam at the Conservatory of Music of Quebec.

Before coming to Oakville, she spent three years in Sudbury as Concert Master of the Sudbury Symphony, member of the Sudbury Symphony String Quartet, and the principal teacher with the Sudbury Symphony School of Music.  Bethany has completed Suzuki training in Books 1 through 7.
 


Jean Grieve: Violin, Cello, Early Childhood Music

Prior to moving to Canada in 1954, Jean earned a B.A Honours in Russian Language and Literature from the University of London, School of Slavonic Studies, and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for three years. She has been teaching in Oakville for over 40 years, and is a pioneer of the Suzuki method of string teaching in Ontario. She holds an ARCM diploma in cello from the Royal College of Music, is a founding member of the Oakville Symphony, and has taken many courses in Suzuki Violin and Cello. She is also a member of the Early Childhood Music Association of Ontario, has graduated from their intensive summer course, and attends their workshops regularly. Besides enjoying working with 1-4 year old children in the ECM classes, she teaches violin up to Book 3 and Cello to Book 6.
 

 


Hana Gurtlerova: Piano, Theory

After a successful career as a pedagogue, soloist, and collaborative artist in the former Czechoslovakia, Hana Gurtlerova continues to share her expertise with her Oakville music studio. Having taught at the Pardubice Conservatory and the Specialized Music School in Czech Republic, Hana held a teaching position at the Franz Liszt Conservatory of the Remenyi House of Music upon moving to Canada. While in the Czech Republic, she was also Assistant Conductor of the University Arts Choir, with which she toured Italy, Spain, Russia, Germany, and Denmark. Many of the choir's performances, in which Hana was featured as the choir's pianist, were broadcast on public radio. In Canada, Hana has also had 15 years of experience as an organist and music director in numerous churches in the Mississauga area. Since 1998, she has been on the faculty of the Oakville Performing Arts Camp, a summer day camp for young children and teens.
 
Hana's students have achieved prizes in the National Finals of the Canadian Music Competition, Silver Medals with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and First Class Honours with Distinction in the RCM Examinations. Many of Hana's students have reached the ARCT level and have decided to pursue a degree in music. Her students have also participated in the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute. She continues to further her expertise by attending master classes and professional devlopment teaching courses such as "Every Child Can" and Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists in the UK. After moving to Oakville in 1997, she joined the Suzuki Association of Oakville and studied with Doris Koppelman at the SAA's Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute in Waterloo and with Gail Lange. Her family shares two common interests: music and fitness. Hana, her husband, and her daughter all have their black belts in taekwondo. Hana's daughter, whom she home-schooled from Grade 3 to the end of high school, is a graduate of the University of Toronto's music performance program and is now pursuing a graduate degree at SUNY Stony Brook.
 

 


Janet Pasila (B.A., B.Ed.): Violin, Viola

Janet has taught violin for twenty years.  She teaches all levels of the Suzuki repertoire and also prepares violin and viola students for RCM exams.  Every year her students win awards in music competitions.  Some have won Silver Medals for obtaining the highest RCM mark in their grade in Ontario.  Also, some have been accepted into the prestigious SAA orchestra which is an honour only a few Canadians enjoy.

Every year Janet spends five or six weeks in New York working with renowned violin pedagogue and author Burton Kaplan.  During her time in New York, Janet attends daily masterclasses and lessons.  She exchanges ideas with other performers and teachers from Canada, the United States, and abroad.  She enjoys the opportunity to rehearse and perform solo repertoire with a world class pianist who toured with Midori.  After every session Janet returns home with new insights and ideas for her students.  She is constantly expanding her pedagogical knowledge in areas such as practice strategies, psychological issues, interpretation and artistry, and technical aspects of playing the violin or viola.
Janet has performed with various orchestras and chamber groups in southern Ontario, Kingston, and Newfoundland.  She also toured in Europe as part of an orchestra associated with the Sessione Senese per la Musica e l'Arte.

Currently Janet is also kept very busy with her two young children, both violinists of course!

 


Gunilla Westerholm:  Violin, Early Childhood Music

Gunilla earned her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Malmo, Sweden.  She then worked as a violin teacher and Music Director in an Evangelical Lutheran church there.  Gunilla has been a member of the Oakville Symphony Orchestra and presently the Choir Director at the Faith Baptist Church in Oakville.  A certified Suzuki Teacher for 16 years, she teaches students from Beginner to Book 4.  She is also an experienced Suzuki Parent. Several of her students have won first place in Music Festivals.
Gunilla recently completed her Early Childhood Education training and is a certified ECE teacher in music.

 

 

 




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