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.

-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 Lessons Only*

Hi! I’m Andrew. I am a mid 30’s aged silly father of two young daughters (with hard to pronounce names). 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.

I received a Diploma in Music at Douglas College focussing on Classical guitar. That was a very disciplined and critical time, which served me well. But nowadays, 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 (or use their voice) 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. The style of performance I do for my original music ranges from what I call “Psychedelic Electro Rock” to “Dark Folk with a Hint of Sweetness”.

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. My styles of music I enjoy playing are Rock, Metal, Blues, Folk, Hip Hop, and even dabbling in Jazz.

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 myself as a musician.

Rohann van Rensburg – Acoustic Guitar (Beginner), Electric Guitar (Beginner to Intermediate), Ukulele (Beginner) *In-Person Lessons Only*

I started playing guitar at the age of 12, only to put it down a year later after feeling discouraged about a lack of progress and joy with the instrument. Overwhelmed with a need for exercising musical creativity I picked it up again in my 20s, and have been making up for lost time ever since. Having to re-learn the guitar as an adult with much less time than my 12 year old self, along with my background in athletic performance, meant that I zeroed in on the most efficient ways to improve skills and overcome common frustrating hurdles as quickly as possible. I strive to make learning music as intuitive and enjoyable as possible, and to avoid it feeling like a chore, which dissuaded me from learning when I was younger.

I primarily live and play electric guitar in the world of metal and other heavier and melodic styles of music, but I spend as much time listening to classical, jazz, experimental, folk, and various scores. I equally enjoy composing for orchestral ensembles, and mixing live sound.

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.

Josh Falk - Drums (Beginner to Intermediate) Acoustic/Electric Guitar (Beginner) Electric Bass (Beginner) *In-Person Only*

Josh began playing the drums at age 4 and the guitar at age 10, he continues to study music, music production and songwriting. He has played in bands such as “Red Bicycle” in the early 2010’s and “Antler”, while gigging consistently around Nanaimo and Victoria and recording solo albums between.

Josh enjoys teaching beginner students with a passion for classic rock, pop and punk rock.

Meeghan Shillington - Vocals (Beginner to Advanced) Piano (Beginner) *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).

Lauren Murray - Vocals (Beginner to Intermediate) Piano (Beginner to Advanced) Ukulele (Beginner) Guitar (Beginner) *In-Person Only*

Music and sound have always been staples in Lauren’s life. She began to play the keyboard starting around age two and worked up to other instruments, including guitar, ukulele, and bass. At ten, she started working with a piano teacher and then took various musical classes in her schooling. Eventually, she found her way to the local Nanaimo music scene, where she has performed solo as well as contributed her instrumental and vocal accompaniment to fellow artists.

Through teaching, Lauren finds a lot of joy in sharing with others her love, attunement, and skills for singing, piano, guitar, and ukulele. She sees it as being very important to accommodate each and every one of her students’ different and unique approaches to learning. As well, she realizes the usefulness and practicality of being able to pick up a song by ear, and actively aims to share this skill via ear training with others. Most importantly, though, she aims to share the curiosity to always seek knowledge, and the bravery to take risks in music.

Quin Etheridge-Pedden - Violin/Fiddle (Beginner to Advanced), Folk Guitar (Beginner), Funk/Jazz, Electric Bass (Beginner to Advanced) *In-Person Lessons Only*

Quin Etheridge-Pedden is a multi-instrumentalist who started his journey with the fiddle at age 6. Studying under Trish Horrocks, Quin learned the technique of a classical violinist but explored the genre of fiddle music including Irish, Scottish, Canadian old-time, and new-age/contemporary styles. Quin also picked up the guitar so that he could accompany his fellow fiddle-playing friends. It allowed him to become proficient in folk guitar accompaniment in standard tuning, DADGAD, and drop D. With his diploma in Jazz studies at VIU, Quin also has a deep understanding of Jazz music theory that he incorporates into his playing to create a unique merging of genres. Most recently Quin has started playing the fretless electric bass which is informed by his knowledge of theory and technical facility on guitar and violin. Although his roots on the guitar and fiddle lie in the folk realm, his bass playing is most inspired by funk/fusion as played by Jaco Pastorius.

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.