Jim Blair - Guitar (Beginner to Advanced) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Jim has been a professional music teacher for over 25 years. Specializing in electric and acoustic guitar, he covers a variety of styles, including classic rock, metal, blues, and folk. Previously located in the Vancouver area, he has taught guitar in Nanaimo since 1996. In addition to basic and advanced guitar skills, Jim covers a wide range of relevant topics during lessons, including music history, songwriting techniques, guitar maintenance, and studio recording. A former Malaspina University/College student, he is also a producer and mix engineer, specializing in albums and demos for local artists. Jim also prepares students for entrance in music college.
I’ve been taking lessons with Jim Blair for 13 years. I started when I was 7 years old.
I love music and I love playing my guitar. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the things I have done without Jim, because he doesn’t just teach you how to play the notes on your guitar. He teaches you how to be a musician. He’s taught me how to take care of my guitar; change the strings, fix the intonation, etc. He taught me how to prepare for recording sessions, what questions to ask, and what to expect when you are in the studio.
Something I found to be unexpected and unique was that he would be thinking about his students outside of his teaching hours. Every now and then he would bring in a video, a song, an album, or anything music related he thought might interest me. There hasn’t been one lesson with Jim where I haven’t learned something new.
I’ve played with 2 different bands now, “Systematic Dream” and “Mr. Goshness”, which have played many shows, and have each recorded an EP, thanks to Jim and his musical wisdom. These projects wouldn’t have happened without him.
Paul Cimolini - Guitar (Beginner to Intermediate) *In-Person Lessons Only*
Paul began lessons at age 12, studying under Jim Blair. He has been playing guitar professionally for 15 years and has been teaching since 2004. Paul enjoys teaching young beginners, specializing in classic and modern rock. He plays in the bands “Atlas Collapses” & “The Eggmen”. Paul has opened live shows for Alanis Morrissette, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Trews, and The Cowboy Junkies. He also teaches ukulele, bass & songwriting.
Edward Lee - Guitar, Ukulele (Beginner to Intermediate) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Edward Lee is a very talented guitar player/instructor and is the audio engineer/producer and owner of Broken Spiral Studios in Nanaimo. Ed teaches a very wide range of styles on both guitar and ukulele including metal, fingerstyle/slap guitar, rock, blues and pop. With extensive training in Jazz Studies at Mallaspina College, Ed also enjoys teaching jazz theory, improvisation and reading notation.
We are very happy to welcome Ed to our wonderful teaching crew!
Alan Medcalf - Guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Ukulele, Electric Bass, Lap Steel (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*
A professional musician for his entire life, Alan has performed on stage, TV, radio and recordings. During the last 15 years he has also focused on teaching privately and for seminars and classrooms. Styles taught by Alan include classic rock, jazz, roots, country and classical, plus music history and advanced theory for all genres. Al has sat on many music industry boards & committees and has an extensive background as a production manager, adjudicator, audio engineer and artist manager.
Performance credits include country artists Patricia Conroy & Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Canadian folk icon Valdy and drummer John Densmore (Doors). Al has also recently played for several productions of the stage show “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”. During this last summer he was the production manager for various concerts featuring Steve Miller, Bad Company, Chilliwack, The Odds & Doucette.
Michael Anderson - Guitar, Piano, Bass (Beginner to Intermediate) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*
Michael Anderson is an active multi-instrumentalist, composer, and accompanist. He studied piano, composition, and improvisation for five years at Wilfried Laurier University, and has been mentored by some of Canada’s most recognized musicians, such as Don Ross and Adrean Farrugia. Michael casts his net wide, having worked most deeply in Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar, Jazz, Classical, and Electronic Music.
As a teacher, Michael adapts the curriculum to the needs of the student. He places a strong emphasis on good practice habits and understanding through play. Theory and ear training don’t have to be boring!
Anita Clarke - Piano (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person Lessons Only*
She started learning the piano at the age of 6. She is actively involved in BC Music Education for over 30+ years, enjoys all ages + levels of learning. Her primary focus is piano but has taught other instruments within her career in Musical Education. She has taught at Arbutus for the past 4 years.
Rob Wilkinson - Piano (Beginner to Advanced), Ukulele (Beginner to Intermediate) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Rob Wilkinson has been in one band or another starting from around the time he was in middle school. Since then, he has done several years of study with the Royal Conservatory of Music and completed his second year of Jazz studies at VIU. He currently performs regularly with the Erika Phillips jazz quartet, the hard rock band The Body Politic, and pop-rock group Ah, Venice. In addition to the hours of practice and performance time on the piano, Rob also fronted the pop-rock group Sound and Science, and he plays the guitar and sings in his spare time. Whether it’s following the Royal Conservatory methods of learning, improvising over chord progressions, or even just learning your favorite song; Rob’s wide variety of playing experience allows him the means to help you become a better player, using whatever genre or method is best for you and incorporating all-around musicianship in the process.
Brett Attig - Drums (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person Lessons Only*
Brett has been playing since 2000 and is enthusiastic about sharing his craft. Whether it’s rock, metal, funk, playing along to your favorite songs, stick control, limb independence, or double bass, Brett can help you master these skills. He enjoys teaching all levels from beginner to advanced.
Graham Villette - Drums (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*
Graham has been studying the drums for over a decade and playing music professionally since the age of 15.With over 7 years of teaching experience Graham has taught drummers from ages 5 to 45 and can help any level of musician from beginner to advanced develop their skills. Graham teaches any style of music from Rock, Pop, Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, to Ska and Reggae and reinforces fundamentals like reading music, notating music and ear training.
Most recently Graham has earned a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Toronto and before that completed a BA in Jazz Studies at Vancouver Island University in 2017. Having grownup on Vancouver Island Graham has become an active member of the music community as both a freelance musician and band leader.Over the years Graham has had the great fortune to perform with some of the best musicians around including Tony Genge, Ryan Oliver, John Lee, Rick Kilburn, Ashley Wey, Susannah Adams,and Kinga Hemming.He has been lucky enough to work in local bands like the NMA Big Band, under the direction of Bryan Stovell, the NOLA Nighthawks, under the direction of Andrew Homzy, and the John Lee Trio. Other groups include Boomshack, Dope Soda, and his own project the Graham Villette Quartet.
Teighan Couch - Vocals (Beginner to Intermediate) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Teighan Couch is finishing her last year as a vocal major in Vancouver Island University’s jazz studies program. Her interest in music began at an early age when she began studying classical violin at the age of six. She has since developed a love for singing. She discovered her passion for singing six years ago and has continued her studies at university under Rosemary Lindsay and Davin Youngs. Teighan has taken a keen interest in jazz music, vocal improvisation and technique and she is excited to share her ardent knowledge of music and voice with her students.
Daniel Fortier - Vocals (Beginner to Advanced) Guitar (Beginner to Advanced) Songwriting *Virtual Lessons Only*
Professional musician (guitar,vocals) and songwriter. Has numerous top 20 hits on Canadian country radio as a songwriter and performer and won numerous SCMA Awards as a founding member of the band WYATT. He recently branched off on his own to explore his roots/blues side and has been covertly corrupting audiences with his guitar-driven, soulful blues/rock inspired sound by a diverse collection of artists like The Black Keys, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Prince and Stevie Wonder!
In between writing, performing, touring and raising his young family Daniel has been inspiring students of all ages to explore their musical talents for over 10+ years, tailoring lessons to individual student goals and tastes.
Hilary Whelton - Vocals, Piano (Beginner to Advanced) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Hilary holds both a Bachelor of Music Diploma (Classical) and an Associate in Music Diploma (Jazz). She is the Vocal Director for the Bard to Broadway Theatre Society and is the Administrator and Instructor for Bard to Broadway’s Performing Arts Education Series.
Hilary has appeared as mezzo-soprano/alto soloist for Handel’s “Messiah”, Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria”. She has also appeared as the aging courtesan, Aunt Alicia, in “Gigi”, and as one of the ensemble cast of “A My Name is Still Alice”.
Hilary teaches in Nanaimo at Arbutus Music and also in Qualicum.
Vivian Woodward - Violin/Fiddle (Beginner to Advanced) *Virtual Lessons Only*
Vivian has been studying violin for 15 years and has been classically trained through RCM. She also enjoys playing folk and contemporary music and can teach any genre. She has years of experience playing in bands and performance groups.
Oldrich Zitek (OZ) - Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Theory (Beginner to Intermediate) *Virtual Lessons Only*
OZ has been an active musician for over 30 years. Originally from Vancouver, OZ moved to Nanaimo 11 years ago and has enjoyed the slower pace of family life, yet keeping strong ties with the Vancouver music community. A graduate of UBC (1993) with a Bachelor of Music, OZ continues to pass on the wealth of knowledge from the days of music academia, along with years of practical application in the various performance groups. His dedication to furthering the understanding of music outside of the mainstream, particularly world music and improvised music, keeps ideas fresh and exciting.