Instructors

Select from the list to the right to meet and learn a little bit about our instructors!

Allie Wright

Allie Wright

Beginner Piano (Dartmouth Studio) 

AllieW Allie is a grade eleven French Immersion student at Auburn Drive High School.  She has been playing for the piano for 9 years and enjoys classical, rock and pop music, but she also likes playing new pieces and exploring different genres.    She enjoys participating in the Kiwanis Music Festival each year.  Allie also plays the flute and this past summer she completed her Royal Conservatory Level 4 Flute Practical Examination.  Allie loves to see the progress her students make each week. 

Favourite Musicians: The Beatles, Billy Joel

Favourite Movies: Space Jam and The Lorax

Favourite Hobbies: Playing sports, reading, making crafts

 and getting outside to enjoy nature.

 Favourite Books: Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and anything by Sara Shepard. 

 

Alyson Boone

Alyson Boone 

Beginner Piano (Dartmouth Studio) 

AlysonBAlyson is a grade 11 student who has been taking lessons at Andrea's Music Studio for 6 years.   She is excited to continue teaching beginner piano students!  She likes going to church and learning new hymns. 

Favourite Composers: Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington
 
Favourite Bands: Linkin Park, The Offspring and The Beatles. 
 
Favourite Hobbies: Bowling, volleyball and tennis
 
Favourite Non-musical Things: doodling, animals and the outdoors 

Amanda Cunningham

Amanda Cunningham 

Violin, Fiddle, Beginner Piano (Dartmouth Studio) 

AmandaCsmallAmanda started taking lessons when she was 11 years old.  She loved the violin and creating harmony with her sister on the piano.  She was active in yearly competitions and recitals as well as playing often in her church.

Amanda holds a degree in Education and has worked with children for more than 10 years.  She moved from Ontario after college and has spent time teaching in schools, working at summer camps, and playing in her church. 

One of Amanda’s passions is fostering a love of music and learning in students.  She loves to see students enjoying the learning process and wanting to learn more.

Her favorite things to do are play music (on whatever instrument she can get her hands on), sing, read, and be active outside.

Amy MacDonald

 Amy MacDonald

Piano, Beginner Guitar, Ukulele & Voice (Hammonds Plains & Sackville Studios)
Hammonds Plains Studio Director

amymAmy has been playing piano for over 15 years, and was a student at Andrea’s Music Studio for 10 years. She completed her Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from Acadia University in 2015, and is an accredited music therapist with two years of experience working with children. Her degree included a concentration in classical piano studies through the instruction of Dr. John Hansen while completing her Grade 10 RCM. While at Acadia, she learned guitar from Jeff Tobert for 2 years. She was also a member of the Acadia Chorus for 2 years and the Acadia Vocal Ensemble for 1 year.

Favourite composers: Chopin, Debussy, Haydn.

 

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

Music Director & Owner


AndreaSNewAndrea is a graduate of the Early Childhood Education program from the Nova Scotia Teacher's College with 25 years experience teaching group and private piano lessons to students ranging in age from 4 years old to Seniors. 

Over the years Andrea came to realize that the musical programs available on the market for teaching the young piano learner were quite limited and more importantly, every one of them seemed to be missing something. So deciding to do something about it, she wrote her own.  This program, Prelude For Kids, has been highly successful and continues to be taught to this day by Andrea and others here at Andrea's Music Studio.  In addition, much care is taken to ensure quality and fun is present in all lessons: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Ukulele, and Drums.  Keeping lessons age appropriate (young, teen, and adult), educational, and fun. 

Andrea's Music Studios Music Makers program was custom designed by Andrea, for daycares, pre-schools, and drop-ins. 

 

Ben Buchanan

 Ben Buchanan

Drums, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele (Dartmouth Studio) 

benBBenjamin earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music focusing on Theory, Analysis, Arranging, Physics of Sound and Composition from Mount Allison University.  There, he also performed guitar duties in the pit band for “Evil Dead, The Musical” and was featured as a solo artist on the annual Conduct Becoming album, a musical project featuring talent from the University.

Ben briefly taught private students in the Greater Moncton Area before he moved to Halifax, where he worked at the Halifax Music Co-op teaching drums and writing arrangements for ensembles.  He also has experience performing, writing and recording with bands like Rocket Culture, where he played drums and percussion; and The Bedroom Session, playing bass and occasionally guitar and keyboards.

He is currently working on multiple music projects ranging from Hard Rock to Electronica, Country to chamber music. He is also looking forward to performing in his friends’ wedding.

 

Brent Karding

Brent Karding

Piano and Voice (Dartmouth Studio) 

BrentKBrent was born in Vancouver in 1983.  For a long time he didn’t want to learn how to play the piano, until he was 11.  Brent doesn't remember why he wanted to start, but is extremely glad that he did!   He can’t imagine not being able to play the piano! 

Brent completed his Grade 10 in the Royal Conservatory in 2002, and won the Star of the Festival award in his final year of participation the Brampton-Caledon Music Festival that same year.  Classical music is one of his favourite things to play, as well as arrangements of sacred music. 

Brent has taught piano professionally since 2003, from beginner to advanced piano students, from small children to adults, from classical music to improvisation.   He is sure you will have fun, whatever you want to learn!

 

 

Elizabeth Humphries

Elizabeth Humphries

Voice (All levels), Piano (Beginner to Intermediate) and Theatre Skills (Dartmouth Studio)

ElizabethHA Nova Scotia girl born and raised, Elizabeth graduated with a Bachelor of Voice Performance from the University of Manitoba.  She also has diplomas in Audio Engineering and Jazz Voice performance from Capilano University in Vancouver, BC.   She has recently moved back to Halifax after 15 years in western Canada to continue her performance and teaching career in the city she loves.  Her passion for performing stems from a childhood filled with the magic of the theatre, choral and solo performance and instrumental studies.  Elizabeth has performed across Canada in various operatic roles as well as orchestral concerts as a soprano soloist.  She has also trained and performed in musical theatre, jazz, and has been the vocalist for numerous performing bands. She has been teaching voice and piano to students of all ages for 10 years.




David Murray

David Murray 

Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Voice and Theatre Skills (Hammonds Plains and Sackville Studios)

DavidDavid has an extensive background in voice, piano, guitar, and theatre. David takes a student-centric approach to teaching, with an emphasis on fostering confidence and passion within students, as well as encouraging their creativity and the individual expression of their craft.  David places emphasis on exposure to and involvement in music at all ages, and is proficient in adapting materials and teaching style to match the interests, goals, and learning style of the student. David enjoys performing and teaching many different music genres, including classical,pop, rock, blues, jazz, and country.

 

David has RCM certification 6 in piano and 9 in voice.  David spent 7 years of intensive training in Bel Canto vocal technique, and was the winner of the 2003 Kiwanis Festival Rose Bowl (voice) and the 2001 Maritime Association of Teachers of Singing Scholarship Award.

 

David continues to appear in voice and guitar performances in local venues and appears in various roles in local musical theatre productions.

 

 

 

Erin Summers

Erin Summers

Piano (Beginner to Advanced)(Dartmouth Studio)

Studio General Manager 

ErinNevErin joined Andrea's Music Studio in 2003 after graduating from Acadia University with her Bachelor of Music Degree and completing her grade 10 RCM piano exam. Erin teaches piano to students of all ages, guitar to a few students and manages the day to day activities of the Studios.

Erin has helped organize and run the Summer Music Camps and also helped Andrea to organize the Baby's Music Makers program.

Favorite Composer: Beethoven

Favorite Movie: Mr. Holland's Opus, High Fidelity & Les Miserables

Hobbies: Painting (some of my paintings are in the studio), reading, running, knitting, going for walks with my dog Ruby
Favorite Memory from my teaching experience: Playing Spiderman on the guitar with my first guitar student!
Something most people don't know about me: I was born in Germany and went back there in June 2010 with my family on vacation. 

Fiona Ryan

Fiona Ryan 

Piano and Voice (Dartmouth & Hammonds Plains Studios) 

Fiona Ryan HeadshotFiona is a musician and composer from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fiona went to England and Ontario to complete graduate degrees in music composition, and is now back in Nova Scotia teaching music and working as a composer and performer.  Fiona studied composition at the University of Toronto and at Newcastle University, and studied music performance at Dalhousie University.  In addition to composition and performance studies at University, Fiona studied voice, piano, and organ privately.

Fiona loves many different styles of music, and she has performed with a wide variety of groups including choirs, improvisation ensembles, musicals, orchestras, folk music groups, and rock bands.  In addition to her studies in music, Fiona is also interested in developing her teaching skills and has attended teaching training workshops and conferences.  Fiona has worked as a music director for choirs of all ages and for musicals, and she has taught university classes in sight singing and ear training, introductory music theory, and composition. Before she started teaching music, Fiona used to work as a camp counsellor and swimming instructor, so when she is not making music she enjoys spending time outdoors.

Heather Cox-Harvie

Heather Cox-Harvie

Music Makers (Daycare and Drop In), Piano (Recreation), Pre-school Piano (Dartmouth Studio)

Heather is a full time Music Makers instructor and an Early Childhood Music Educator.  She instructs the Music Makers classes at daycares and preschools around HRM, as well as preschool piano classes and the Music Makers drop in programs.  Heather is a hockey Mom.  She has 3 sons and spends a lot of time at the rink!  She enjoys spending her summer at the cottage.

Favourite Movie: Pretty Woman

Background: Heather has her ECE and has worked for 11 years as a daycare teacher

Jeff MacAskill

Jeff MacAskill 

Guitar & Ukulele (All Levels) (Dartmouth & Sackville Studios) 

JeffMsmallJeff studied guitar at St. Francis Xavier University in the Jazz  Studies program under Tom Daniels. He has worked with Holland America as a show band guitar player and has played in local band and solo projects. A few of his influences on guitar include Pat Metheny, Ed Bickert and Joe Satriani. Some of his favorite albums of theirs include Pat's first effort Bright Size Life, a compilation recording of Ed's playing titled Guitar Mastery, and an early ninties disc from Satriani, The Extremist.  Studying the guitar has been a rewarding experience and Jeff is always excited to pass along the techniques and knowledge he has acquired to students.

 

Jessica Pearson

Jessica Pearson

Piano (All Levels) (Sackville Studio)

Sackville Studio Director

JessPJessica is currently working on completing her Grade 10 RCM examinations after taking a year off to complete the Basic  Musicianship Program at Douglas College in Vancouver.  She is very excited to be teaching at Andrea's Music Studio for another year. 

Favorite Composer: Danny Elfman, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Dario Marianelli.


Favorite Artist: Laura Smith, James Taylor.

Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice.


Hobbies: I like to hike, bake, knit, travel, and spend time with my family.


Favorite piece to play: 'Lotus Land' by Cyril Scott.

 

Juanita Keddy

Juanita Keddy

Guitar (Hammonds Plains Studio)

JuanitaJuanita Keddy (aka Juanita Rose) is not only a music instructor.  She played guitar professionally for many years and toured the country as a guitarist with her own music bands. 

Juanita was known for her double-neck Mosrite guitar and her showy guitar instrumentals.  When she was in her performing heyday a popular entertainment magazine wrote “Juanita has a vibrant style that equals many great guitar players”. 

Juanita also has her Competent Toastmasters designation and a Best Speaker of the Year award.

 In addition, she has studied the important role that “thought and mental attitude” play in achieving success.  She incorporates these techniques in her teaching. 

Juanita studied guitar and music theory at the Maritime Conservatory of Music and other private institutions.  She has a diploma in guitar studies.

In her spare time Juanita likes to read and write.  She is presently writing a book. 

Judi Beagan

Judi Beagan

Voice, Guitar and Piano (Dartmouth Studio) 

JudiBJudi grew up singing and playing guitar as part of a family trio. After high school she went on to study jazz voice at St. F. X. and then branched into classical / operatic studies in BC with Canadian Opera Singer Lyn Vernon. All this training led to a wide variety of performance experiences ranging from the Pacific Opera Chorus in Victoria to Production Lead Vocalist for the British entertainment company OpenWide International – a cruise ship gig – as well as smaller solo and duo/trio ensembles.

Judi developed and taught her first course (guitar) at age 16. Following university she spent a year teaching elementary school music in the Codroy Valley, Nfld. Judi has been teaching on and off ever since. Her favourite ‘classroom’ setting is one-on-one because of the opportunity to zero in on each student’s particular musical strengths and weaknesses.  She truly believes that music is an innate gift in each of us and she enjoys helping people discover and ‘unwrap’ this gift for themselves.

My philosophy: Judi rarely practices an instrument. Judi prefers to play her instrument… because that is the goal of studying it in the first place. When she wants to play something in particular, she ismore likely to want to work on the skill it requires… and then it’s not boring. Instead, it opens the door for her and makes things easy. 

Krystina Bowen

Krystina Bowen

 Music Makers & Voice (Dartmouth Studio) 

Bio coming soon! 

 

Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine

Beginner Piano (Dartmouth Studio)

LisaJ

Lisa is a Dartmouth High Student who has lived in Dartmouth her whole life.  She has been playing piano for 12 years.  Lisa plans to study Music in University and is getting ready for auditions in the spring.  In her free time she enjoys reading, skiing and canoeing.  She also enjoys travelling.  Her favourite places that she has visited are Hong Kong and France. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Ryan

 

Rebecca Ryan 

Beginner Piano (Hammonds Plains Studio) 

RebeccaRRebecca Ryan is a 17 year old grade 12 student at Charles P. Allen High School.  At just four years old, Rebecca started lessons through the Music for Young Children program complimented with private lessons.  While Rebecca enjoys playing all genres, Rebecca favors playing contemporary and show tunes.  In addition to piano, Rebecca has taken private violin and guitar lessons and she enjoys playing the ukulele.  Rebecca is also skilled on the Clarinet and Bass Clarinet and has performed with her Middle school and High school bands annually at the Kiwanis Music Festival.


Rebecca loves all fine arts! Rebecca is a professional actor with the Actra Performers Union.  She started acting in 2014 and she has taken classes at Neptune Theatre and was accepted into the Young Actors Company.  She has studied voice animation, acting, filmmaking and directing through group classes and private lessons.  This past year, Rebecca has worked on Mr. D, 
Polaroid, the Mist, several short independent films and assisted with NSCAD, and NSCC student films.

 


On the weekends, you will often find Rebecca playing Ultimate Disc on a variety of fields and gyms throughout Halifax.  She is the Spirit Captain of the NS Junior Ultimate Disc Team-Nova Scotia Blues.  In her spare-time, she loves to take pictures and has an eclectic taste in music and listens to a wide variety of music, from Jazz, Indie, Classical and Show tunes.

Ross Avey

Ross Avey

Guitar - All levels (Dartmouth Studio)

RossRoss is an NSCC Music Arts guitar major graduate.

He has been playing guitar since his early teens and has played in many rock bands for just as long. At NSCC he discovered and fell in love with genres like jazz, blues, funk, latin and surf rock.  Ross is currently playing guitar for many upcoming acts around the Halifax  area.  He has played at the ECMAs and The Jazz Festival. He is also involved with The Halifax Los Primos.

Genres: Rock, Blues, Jazz, Latin, Funk.

Favourite composers: Bela Bartok, Bill Evans

Favourite Movie: Almost Famous

Favourite songs to play: Scrapple from the Apple – Charlie Parker, Misirlou – Dick Dale, Spain – Chick Corea

Ryan White

 

Ryan White 

Guitar and Bass (Dartmouth Studio) 

RyanW

Ryan is a Dalhousie Bachelor of Music graduate, freelance performer, composer, and arranger.

He has been playing and performing on both guitar and electric bass for close to 10 years. He recently completed his Bachelor of Music at Dalhousie University, where he focused on guitar and electric bass performance along with music theory (tonal, post-tonal, & jazz), and arranging.  Ryan studied classical guitar with Doug Reach, jazz/modern guitar with Jeff Torbert, and electric bass with Scott MacMillan during his time at Dal.

Ryan also plays/has played in several local projects including Talea (Funk/Neo-Soul), Lindsay Misiner & The 7th Mystic (Soul/Psychedelic Rock), 2nd Line Parade (Rockabilly), The Rubber Band (Alternative Rock), Ryan Willigar (Singer-songwriter), & Eric Hamilton (Pop/Rock/Funk).

Genres: Classical, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Latin, Pop.

Favorite Composers: J.S Bach, C. Debussy, I. Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, Chick Corea & Jerry Hey.

Favorite Performers: Charlie Parker,Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Lenny Breau,Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Duane Allman, Jaco Pastorius, George Clinton, Ella Fitzgerald, Flea, Victor Wooten, & Guthrie Govan.

Favorite Books: The Old Man & The Sea - Ernest Hemmingway, The Lord Of The Rings – J.R.R Tolkien, Dune – Frank Herbert, ASOIAF series - George R. R. Martin, Where The Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein

Sara Carter

 

Sara Carter

Voice and Beginner Piano (Dartmouth & Sackville Studios) 

SaraC

Nova Scotia native Sara Carter completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Voice at Mount Allison University (2015) studying under Canadian Sopranos Sally Dibblee and Dr. Jennifer Farrell. She has been an active member in the teaching community having taught at the Halifax Music Co-op, Db Music Centre as well as privately since completing her education.

 

Most recently, Sara was a featured soloist in Opera Nova Scotia's most recent production of Henry Purcell's King Arthur, performing the role of Nereid. Other notable credits include performing the world premiere of the new Canadian Opera “Milk Bar” by Jim O’Leary in 2013 (Sackville, NB) and performing the Soprano solos in the Halifax Music Co-op's 2016 production of Handel's Messiah which toured to Yarmouth Nova Scotia this past Spring. Sara has also been active in the local Opera scene performing the role of “Mrs. Hayes” in Carlisle Floyd’s most notable opera “Susannah” with the Halifax Summer Opera festival this past season. Sara has also been an active chorister for the majority of her life working with Mount Allison University’s Choral Society and Melodia Chorus, Dartmouth All-City Choir and Jazz Choir.

 

With her time not spent teaching and singing, Sara enjoys watching Quentin Tarantino movies, cooking and going for walks with her Chocolate Lab.

 

 

Shannon MacDonald

Shannon MacDonald

Piano (Beginner to RCM 5), Guitar and Ukulele (Beginner)  (Dartmouth Studio)

shannonnew

Shannon has been teaching at Andrea’s Music Studio for 4 years. She teaches students of all ages. She specializes in Piano, but also enjoys teaching beginner guitar and ukulele.

Shannon enjoyed music from a young age; beginning lessons at age 7 and participating in church choirs throughout the years. She received a performing arts scholarship to attend King’s View Academy for High School graduated from with High Honors. She also ran the Saturday Choir for St.Theresa’s Parish Church in Ottawa for 2 years. Shannon has completed her grade 6 in Piano from the Royal Conservatory and is currently completing Grade 7/8.

In addition to her musical interests and education, Shannon has a Bachelor’s Degree and Honors certificate in Developmental Psychology from Saint Mary’s University. She has done research at the Master’s level through Carleton University in Developmental Psychology and worked for 3 years with The Portia Learning Centre Inc. (Ottawa) with Autistic and Globally delayed children. While working with The Portia Learning Centre Inc., Shannon spent time piloting music programs to help with skills acquisition and speech development. She also spent time teaching E.S.L. in South Korea to young children.

In her spare time Shannon enjoys reading, camping, hiking, playing video games and spending time with her family. She also has 2 cats and lots of plants.

Favorite Movie: How to Train your Dragon

Favorite Artists: John Butler, Jewel, Jack Johnson, Fleetwood Mac, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Who, …too many to list them all!

Favourite Food: Korean  

Tiffinie Laing

Tiffinie Laing

Piano (Beginner to RCM 4) (Dartmouth Studio)

TiffL

Tiffinie has been teaching at the Dartmouth Studio for over 15 years. She teaches piano to students of all ages, oversees promotion of studio events, and has developed curriculum for the Summer Music Camps.

Tiffinie has completed her grade 8 piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music, is a graduate of the Music Arts program at NSCC, is the Special Events Coordinator for Los Primos, as well as a freelance musician who has performed at the ECMA’s, TD Halifax Jazz Festival, and the Night of Discovery Gala in support of the QEII foundation.

Her favorite part of teaching is getting to know her students, watching their progression throughout the year, and having lots of fun along the way!

In her spare time, Tiffinie enjoys going to movies, plays and concerts. She loves performing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite Movie: Labyrinth

Favorite Artists: Rufus, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Frie, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, Snarky Puppy, Justin Timberlake, Glen Hansard and so many more!

Favorite Quote: "Live, Laugh, Love"

Tucker LaVoie

 

Tucker LaVoie 

Drums (Dartmouth Studio) 

tuckerLTucker LaVoie has been playing drums for 8 years. After loving music for most of his life he received the video game RockBand and he immediately wanted to learn drums. He has studied under Mike Gillespie for 4 years. He has taken part in Summer Rock program for 5 years where he studied under Al Resk where he learned to write and perform live music in a group setting.  Beginning drum lessons Tucker's main teacher was a funk and Latin drummer. After years of lessons, along with his own punk and hardcore influence, Tucker started a band in late 2015 under the name Bury Me At Sea. The band debuted in late 2016 and has released an EP in early 2017 with more music on the way. As well as playing drums Tucker is also learning bass guitar.

Favourite Hobbies: watching horror movies, listening to vinyls, writing and structuring music,playing video games, skateboarding and going to concerts

 

Influential ArtistsCounterparts, Terror, Converge, Architects(UK), Blink 182, Parkway Drive, The Contortionist, Cancer Bats, Alexisonfire

Favourite Genres to play: hardcore, punk, funk, metal, grunge and jazz

 

F

Tucker LaVoie has been playing drums for 8 years. After loving music for most of his life he received the video game RockBand. Immediately he wanted to learn drums. He has studied under Mike Gillespie(Acadia Music Graduate) for 4 years. He has taken part of Long and McQuade's Summer rock program for 5 years where he studied under Al Resk(ex-head of drumming at L&M). The program entails being grouped with musicians of similar skill level and age. After being grouped the members learn, write and perform live music. Beginning drum lessons Tucker's main teacher was a funk and Latin drummer. After years of lessons, along with his own punk and hardcore influence, Tucker started a band in late 2015 under the name Bury Me At Sea. The band debuted in late 2016 and has released an EP in early 2017 with more music on the way. As well as playing drums Tucker is also learning bass guitar.
His hobbies include watching horror movies, listening to vinyls, writing and structuring music,playing video games, skateboarding and going to concerts
A handful of some of his most influential artists are Counterparts, Terror, Converge, Architects(UK), Blink 182, Parkway Drive, The Contortionist, Cancer Bats, Alexisonfire
Tucker's favourite genres to play are hardcore, punk, funk, metal, grunge and jazz