Jim Blair - Guitar (Beginner to Advanced) * In-Person or Virtual Lessons*

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.

-Kali Fawdry

Paul Cimolini - Guitar (Beginner to Intermediate) *In-Person Lessons Only*
paul_cimoliniPaul 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.
Alan Medcalf - Guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Ukulele, Electric Bass, Lap Steel (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*
alan_medcalfA 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) Ukulele (Beginner) *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!

Andrew Stevens – Guitar, Bass, Ukulele (Beginner to Advanced) Piano (Beginner) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*

Hi! I’m Andrew. I am a 29 year old silly father of two daughters (with hard to pronounce names) under the age of 3. When I’m not playing music, I’m usually outside, trying to help my wife with the garden, collecting eggs from our hens, or pretending to know how to fix things around my house. I was born and raised in Delta, BC, before moving to the island in 2015. I often try to make people around me laugh, and would gauge that I have about a fifty percent success rate. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

When I am teaching someone how to play music, regardless of what that instrument is, my goal is to make them feel comfortable with themselves and the sounds they are creating. We are our own hardest critic, and I find that I enjoy playing music when that critical voice in my head is as quiet as possible. Sure, we need to listen to that voice sometimes, but not all the time. I believe in understanding the technical side of playing an instrument, as well as music theory. But an aspect that is often overlooked is improvisation and creative expression. To me, a great musician is someone who can just pick up an instrument and play whatever comes to their mind at that moment. In every lesson, I make sure to put in time working on improvising, jamming, and just making stuff up.

As a performer, I go by the name “Regular John”. I use a device called a “looping station”, where I can record sounds live, (drums, guitar, vocals), and loop them back as I’m playing. My favourite musicians to cover are Bill Withers, Neil Young, The Beatles, and more modern groups like the White Stripes, Gorillaz, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Music has given my life so much fulfillment, and I hope I can do that for other people, while enjoying the process of learning and growing.

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.
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.

Daniel Fortier – Vocals, Guitar, Songwriting (Beginner to Advanced) * In-Person or Virtual Lessons*

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.

Meeghan Shillington - Vocals (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person or Virtual Lessons*

Meeghan Shillington is a classically trained international singer who performs a wide array of multi-genre music. UK performance highlights include Amnesty International Women’s Day in the Roman Baths; the Queen’s Jubilee concert in the Bath Abbey; charity fundraiser hosted by film and TV director Paul Weiland; and in concert with London West End music theatre singers Steven Carlisle and Cassidy Janson. She has also performed internationally in the UK and Europe, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. In addition, she has three self-produced CDs.

Meeghan is an experienced voice teacher and has also created, produced, and taught her own voice workshop series both in Canada and abroad. Meeghan’s training includes a 4-year Performance Diploma in Classical Singing (Hons BMus equivalent) from the Glenn Gould School @ the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, Ontario) and acting training from various drama schools in Canada and abroad, including from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London, UK). She is currently completing a Performance Diploma in Jazz Studies from Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo, BC).

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.
Gerry Barnum - Guitar, Harmonica, Song Writting (Beginner to Advance) *In-Person Lessons Only*

Singer/ Songwriter, Bluesman:

Often described as a musician’s musician, Gerry is a seasoned and soulful artist. His songs range from tender to foot stomping and his guitar technique and harmonica playing is excellent. He performs solo and with his band.

Musical highlights include sharing the stage with some of the best in the business including Lyle Lovett, John Mayall and John Hammond. Gerry also has done many recording sessions including sessions with Michelle Wright, K.D. Lang and David Gogo.

Since 2017 Gerry has been making inroads into Europe with recordings and touring in Germany and Czech Republic.

In 2019 Gerry released 2 CDs: his Canadian release in March, The Long Ride as well as Good Time Comin’ which was released in June in Germany on the Blind Lemon Records label which included a tour of Germany and the Czech Republic in June, July.

Gerry also performs kids music, hosts music  workshops on Harmonica, Guitar and Song writing as well as providing music therapies to seniors and individuals with physical and mental disabilities.

Here’s what some people have been saying:

“This guy is really good! … just knocked me out!”
John Hammond

“An excellent songwriter with a world class CD”
Jeff Weaver, CBC Radio

“Warm evocative voice, tasty guitar and even more exciting harmonica. Clever well shaped originals.”
Joseph Blake, Victoria Times Colonist

“A Grande quality as a composer; emotions that resonate with every verse”. *****Our highest rating!”
Blues & Company Magazine, France

Gerry is a seasoned performer with 7 critically acclaimed CDs to his credit:

  • Pickin’ Up The Pieces 1998
  • Harmony 2003
  • Stand By Me 2007
  • Live at the Blues Underground 2009
  • Step on In. 2011
  • The Long Ride 2019
  • Good Time Comin’ 2019