Piano Teacher Biographies
Our teachers are among the most talented in the industry. It would be our pleasure to put our extensive experience to workfor you and your family!
Emily Bridle - BFA
Emily has been studying music in one form or another all her life. Starting with piano, she received her grade 8 piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music at the age of 13. She then went on to study voice post-secondary at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and guitar and songwriting at Seneca College’s Independent Songwriting and Music Production programs in Toronto.
She began her teaching career with HUB Productions, up in her hometown of Bracebridge. There, she was director and choreographer for their summer drama camps, as well as teaching private voice and piano lessons.
While in Toronto, Emily has worked for Annex Children's Theatre in Education, choreographing and musical directing one of their annual musical productions, as well as teaching weekly dance classes. She has also had some time in the spotlight, performing for children in Solar Stage's musicals, ”The New Adventures of Jack and the Beanstalk" and ''The Adventures of Jillian Jiggs". Along with teaching, she is currently recording her debut EP as an independent folk-rock artist!
Lina Hatem - MMus
Growing up in Damascus in a family of performers and classical music lovers, Lina started playing the piano at the age of 5.
At age of 23, she graduated with a BM from the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus where she also studies Harpsichord and Pipe Organ.
In 2004, Lina received a full scholarship to the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music in Colorado where she completed her Master’s in piano performance with professors Alice Rybak and Theodore Lichtman.
Lina has participated in numerous solo recitals, performed with the Syrian National Orchestra, the Lamont Orchestra, in addition to many chamber ensembles, concerts and vocalist’s accompaniment.
She has made Toronto her home since 2007 where she enjoys performing for friends and family and continues to share her passion for music with her students of various ages and backgrounds.
Nicole Percifield - BMus, MMus, Artist Diploma
Nicole Percifield recently graduated from Yale School of Music with a diploma in Opera Performance. While at Yale, Nicole taught voice lessons for Yale College and for Yale Glee Club. Her students won numerous auditions, resulting in leads in numerous main-stage school productions, a-cappella groups, and summer stock. Nicole teaches voice, beginner piano, and theory, encompassing a wide variety of musical genres, and loves working with all age groups. Nicole’s lessons are always tailored to her student’s needs, while incorporating basic theory, ear training, musicality, and expression. She brings all of her performance energy to each lesson, creating an engaged, focused environment, and nurtures a love and passion for music in all of her students.
Nicole has sung a variety of operatic and concert work, performing in Canada, the United States, Belgium, Poland and Germany. Highlights include the Wielkanocny Festiwal Ludwiga Van Beethovena in Poland; Handel’s Messiah with the New Haven Symphony, Siébel in Faust with Minnesota Opera; Jo March in the European premiere of Marc Adamo’s Little Women in Bruges, Belgium; and Debussy’s Chansons Baudelaire at Carnegie Hall with Yale in New York.
Nicole received her Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and her Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory, both in Vocal Performance.
Piano, Voice, Theory
Ann Blennerhassett is a soprano at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Born to musical parents, Ann has been playing, singing and performing onstage since childhood. She was won numerous awards from festivals and competitions such as NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), Kiwanis Toronto, Peel, Newmarket and Burlington Music Festivals. She has performed in opera productions and in concert in Canada, the United States and Germany and has been featured on Toronto`s Classical 96.3 FM and Buffalo`s Classical WNED 94.5 FM.
Aside from performing, Ann loves teaching students of all ages and levels, and seeing young musicians reach their potential. Her biggest goal as a teacher is to inspire her students to want to achieve more on their own volition and to see them aspiring not just to play or sing, but to become well-rounded musicians. And though she maintains that being a musician is hard work which requires discipline, it should also be enjoyable and rewarding. She believes that classical technique and theory are essential building blocks for any style of playing or singing.
Felix Arifin - MMUS
Classical piano, improvisation, composition
Felix Arifin is a seasoned pianist with a Master's Degree in Composition for Film and Television from the University of Bristol. His music has been celebrated as energetic, memorable but still refined and complex, through award-winning short films such as The Snow Spirit or through the 2011 Amadeus Christmas Choral Writing piece, Filius Deo Dormit. Since then, his works have been featured in numerous independent video game releases and films, such as Super Mega Neo Pug and Housekeeping.
As such, his piano teaching style speaks to his interests and musical characteristics with over three years of experience. Fun, energetic, but also professional and musically adept, he strives to bring out the musicality that is within each student, and show them the beauty and excitement there is to be found in performing and practicing. He incorporates improvisation, terrible jokes, and a sense of excitement in his lessons.
Tracey Soman – BMA
Born and raised in Toronto in a musical family, Tracey
graduated in 2013 from The University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of
Musical Arts, specializing in Classical Voice. She has also recently completed
a two-year intensive Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College, London,
Ontario. She is currently working towards a career path focusing in
Performance, Music Production, and Artist Management. In addition, Tracey
holds her Grade 9 RCM Piano certificate.
Her proficiency in music expands to many various musical instruments,
including but not limited to the Piano, Drums, and Steel Pan.
Tracey assists at her home church located in Toronto – Hope
Lutheran Church – with service accompaniment, Sunday-School choir, conducting
the adult choir, and playing in the resident Steel Orchestra. A part from
her sacred influences and experiences,
Tracey has been singing her whole life: at home, in church, her high school’s
Chamber and Jazz choir, public and private held events, and was an active
member of the Bach Children’s Chorus for ten years. She also performs on
Steel Pan, Piano and Vocals for weddings and corporate events.
Tracey is very excited to join Featherstone Music’s team of
musicians in the upcoming school year. In addition, since age 16, she has been
assisting with her mother's piano music studio and is very familiar with the
many various piano book series and the RCM repertoire levels. Now, she is
very comfortable teaching Piano, Voice, and Theory both within a private and group
context and has since then developed and improved her methodologies and
approaches to learning music in a fun and comfortable way; allowing and
encouraging students of all ages to enhance their musical skill sets with a
gratifying and meaningful understanding.
Michael Hodgson BMus
Michael Hodgson has been teaching privately for over 12 years and has performed for audiences across Canada, the United States, Sweden and Germany in the operatic, oratorio, art song, choral and contemporary genres.
His teaching method emphasizes technique, confidence and an over all aim towards providing consistent progress and a sound foundation. While educating his students on necessary genres of music for steady progression, Michael also includes music that pertains to his student's personal interest to keep their motivation and interests in mind.
Michael received his Bachelor of Music from Queen's University, studying voice under Canadian baritone Bruce Kelly. He is comfortable teaching students of all ages, in all styles of music. He believes that being a well rounded musician is a much needed asset and because of this he makes himself as fluent as possible in all genres of music to be able to cater to any students needs.
Having the privilege of working with a wide variety of skilled musicians in the past has allowed Michael to study numerous teaching methods and philosophies. It is through these means that he has solidified his own methods and feels that he can provide a unique, friendly and effective learning environment for students of all ages. Above all else, music is his undying passion and he feels that being able to pass on and teach what he has learned over the years is a treasure all in its self. Having had teachers who love their craft and love to teach has inspired him and he practices that mentality in his teaching.
Madison Arsenault - MMus, BMus
Madison has recently graduated with a Masters of Music in Voice Performance and Literature. She also holds her grade 9 RCM certificate in both piano and voice. Madison has had many experiences working with, and teaching children of all ages: through running events at day camps, working in a daycare as a teaching assistant, and private voice and piano teaching at Long & Macquade in London. She is also an avid performer of opera, and has been featured in multiple productions through UWOpera, and various programs around North and South America and in Europe. Madison is also very familiar with performing in music festivals like Kiwanis, Sunderland voice festival, Ontario Vocal Festival, and more.
Gigi Inara - BFA
Gigi Inara is a graduate of the
York music program, BFA Mus. 2008, and has also completed her Grade 8 in both
Voice and Piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. A teacher with 10
year’s experience Gigi has taught both in studios and independently and has
developed her own unique style and structure. Initially trained in Jazz, Gigi
has studied and performed in a wide variety of styles including Classical,
Gospel, Musical Theatre and more. Her teaching philosophy is that there is no
such thing as right and wrong music, or even better or worse music, only the
goal of creating a joyful noise and working hard to get there.
Gigi has been seen in an eclectic
set of appearances in recent years including playing handbells with Pavlov's
Dogs and performing in an original Canadian musical Behind Closed Doors at the
2014 Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals. Behind the scenes, Gigi has also
partnered with Jay Clipperton as co-musical director for East of the Sun, West
of the Moon (2013). Gigi can next be seen onstage as Helena in a Midsummer
Night’s Dream with Convergence Theatre in December 2014.
Jessika Monea –BFA Mus, Music Diploma
Jessika Monea began post-secondary music education at Red Deer College in Alberta. After earning a music diploma in voice she transferred to York University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours degree, specializing in classical voice. In University, Jessika earned the Sterling Beck with Scholarship for her exceptional promise and ability in performance and superior musicianship. She has won many awards at festivals such as NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Kiwanis, and Newmarket Voice Festival. She is RCM trained in piano/theory/voice and has also received training from opera programs including Summer Opera Lyric Theatre and Canadian Operatic Arts Academy. At these opera programs she sang the role of the Countess in The Marriageo f Figaro, the Princess in L’enfantet les sortilege, and Frasquita in Carmen.
She began her training in both piano and voice at a young age where she played/sang mainly popular music and then at a later age trained primarily classically. Having both popular and classical training assists her in teaching a wide range of students. Jessika has experience teaching piano, voice and theory to all age groups and strives to tailor lessons to each student’s needs and musical goals. She also has experience in preparing students for auditions and RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) exams. She currently has students who have been accepted to music schools such as Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts. Making lessons educational, fun and exciting allow her students to progress skillfully throughout the year.
Emily Ding - MMus, BMus
Canadian soprano Emily Ding has earned a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from McGill University in 2009, and Bachelor of Music from University of Toronto in 2007.
She has excelled and won several competitions, such as NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), Kiwanis Toronto, and first place at CMC 2008 (Canadian Music Competition). In Toronto Ms. Ding has been on the concert stages of Glen Gould Studio, George Western Recital Hall, and Richmond Centre for the Arts. In opera, she sang in the chorus of McGill Opera's production of Thesee by Lully, as Donna Elvira at Toronto's Summer Operatic Lyric Theatre in Mozart's Don Giovanni, as Rosine in Canadian premier of Millaud's La Mere Coupable, as Frou Frou in Toronto Operetta Theatre productionof The Merry Widow, and as recently as Rosario, inOpera Five's production of Goyescas by Granados in May 2013. She currently sings as a soloist and choir member in Toronto's Cantabile Chamber Singers, and serves as a vocal coach at Toronto Chinese Choir.
Ms. Ding's musical journey started with her love for the piano, which she studied for years before majoring in voice performance in university. She enjoys teaching piano from beginner and intermediate levels, and is busy giving singing lessons to pupil of all age and levels
Agatha is currently a student at the University of Toronto enrolled in an honors Bachelor of Arts and Science with a combination major in human biology and a minor in music culture and history (2016). She has completed her grade 9 RCM piano certificate with honors and is currently preparing for her grade 10 RCM piano certificate -- expected completion Summer 2014.
She has been playing since the age of 6 and ever since then she has enjoyed playing piano and music theory. Her approach to teaching is theory based as she finds it imperative that students understand what they are playing in order to truly enjoy playing piano/guitar. In high school Agatha joined St.Paschal Baylon’s Youth Group and is currently their piano accompanist and choir director. There, she enjoys teaching choir songs and harmonies that would be sung for Sunday mass.
In addition, she has gained experience in teaching piano and music theory to some of the choir members. At school she also picked up guitar and got a perfect score in her class and since then she loved to play guitar and “jam” with the youth group after practice. Agatha has been a sub with Featherstone Music in the past and is excited to meet and start teaching her new students!