IMG_4050Upon graduation from University I was gifted with a trip for a workshop on vocal improvisation with Rhiannon on Vancouver’s Cortez Island. It was a wonderfully encouraging experience with a very talented teacher. When I returned to Toronto I began regular study with Rita DeGhent -another brilliant Jazz musician.

Not long after these lessons began I was fortunate enough to supplement a performance career with a teaching opportunity at Taddle Creek Montessori School in downtown Toronto. This has allowed me to facilitate children from ages 2.5-12 on their own musical journeys. It’s hard work but I consider it a privilege. In this capacity I have arranged and produced many Cantatas including “Where The Wild Things Are”, “On the Day You Were Born” and musical histories illustrating the subjects of “Jazz” and “Canada”.

Since relocating in Guelph I have been bringing things full circle providing vocal improvisation work shops which draw upon Rhiannon’s book “Vocal River” and also incorporate Orff techniques and devices. These workshops have taken place at Silence in Guelph and as part of Arts Explosion, Guelph Youth Dance’s bi-annual camp.


Music in Early Childhood -RCM
Orff Level I -RCM
Orff Level II -RCM
Music From 5 Continents -Doug Goodkin
Montessori Assistant Training

This experience has led me to gather the following manifesto:

1. “If you can speak, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance.” -Ghanaian Proverb
2. Music is a language, language is a music.
3. “Play is the child’s work.” -Piaget
4. Experimentation and repetition leads to comprehension.
5. “Work from concrete to abstract.” -Maria Montessori
6. “Art is the act of putting things together.” -Corita Kent
7. As artists we practice trying to close the gap between what we imagine, and what is.
8. Never ask your students to do something you wouldn’t do.
9. “Commitment is nine tenths of the truth.” -Michael Johnson
10. “Remember that it’s not all your fault, but plan as if it is.” -Doug Goodkin
11. The music room is a place where we reflect our experiences from the world. The world is a place to which we bring music.
12. A sense of humour is non-negotiable.
13. I may have more experience than you, but sometimes that’s a detriment, not a virtue.
14. Be gentle with children by asking them to be gentle with you.

Many thanks to the teachers who came before me; they provided so many of the above tenements.