Piano is an excellent instrument to choose if you are unsure what you want to play. It is not only an amazing instrument but is also a great foundation instrument to learn in preparation for any other musical study.
Beginner piano students normally start with private 30 minute lessons and use an introductory method book that teaches them basic concepts and music reading skills. Teachers guide students through these books as well as supplement development with appropriate technical exercises, theory and musical knowledge. After learning the basics, students may branch out to classical, pop, jazz, improv, etc. Many choose to participate in the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) examinations and/or Ottawa Music Festival competitions.
We normally accept piano students as young as five years old, but three or four year olds who can focus long enough can have 15 minute private lessons or participate in 30 minute group lessons. We also accept adult students. As our students progress, their lessons may lengthen to 45 and 60 minutes.
The best type of instrument for piano students is an acoustic piano (either upright or grand) because it helps to develop finger strength as well as provides the foundation for healthy technique. However, many of our students begin their studies on an electronic keyboard because keyboards are more compact, less expensive and they can be played with headphones. Electronic keyboards are adequate for young students to learn their way around the keyboard and how to read music. Keyboards with touch sensitivity (must have 88 keys) are best to learn on.
School DirectorA musician from a very artistic family, Lisa Bing enjoys being instrumental in bringing music into the lives of our students. She is passionate about getting students to think about the roles music, lessons, and practice play in our everyday lives.
A philosophy degree in aesthetics [BA ‘99] gave Lisa the opportunity to explore projects such as What is Art, Aesthetic Experience in the Natural World, How Music Came from Nature, and Are Concert Conventions Necessary? Her music degrees in Piano Performance [BMus ‘02] [MMus ‘04] allowed her to transfer these ideas about art into activities that she enjoys sharing with her own students in both private and group workshop settings.
Lisa worked as a private piano teacher up until 2012 when she founded Musical Thought Studios, a specialized piano and guitar school that brought music and art to the public as well as encouraged students to think “outside the box” of regular music lessons. Music in the Community (MIC) and Creative Workshop were two programs that were a result of these goals. Since her acquisition of Manotick School of Music in 2014, specialized programs inspired by Lisa’s original school have become a part of the school’s new Musical Thought Musicianship Program (MTMP).
Lisa has spent time at the Banff Center and the Orford Arts Center in the classes of pianists Robin Wood, Kevin Fitzgerald and Richard Raymond. While studying at the University of Alberta and the University of Ottawa, her piano teachers included Stephane Lemelin, Ayako Tsuruta, Jean-Paul Sevilla and Andrew Tunis. Since graduating, she has continued studying as needed with Jean Desmarais.
Mairéad is passionate about bringing music to young people, and insists that it should be “fun, rewarding and shared with others!” For over 8 years she has taught group and private music lessons, including the Music for Young Children program. She earned a B.A. in Music from the University of Ottawa and has her grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music certificate for piano performance. Mairéad has two young children of her own to keep her on her toes outside of her teaching schedule.
Christopher Kornienko (MMus, BMus), discovered the piano by chance. Lifting a whole host of musical styles, from Bach to the Doors to Chopin, the self-taught young pianist went on to study piano performance at the University of Ottawa. There he studied under Andrew Tunis, along with the guidance of vocal instructors Ingemar Korjus and Lawrence Ewashko as well as master accompanist, Frédéric Lacroix.
Christopher’s intuitive playing betrays the lingering romanticism of his original discovery of the instrument. His passion for song cycles has led him to the complete performances of Die Schöne Mullerin and Dichterliebe, garnering the attention of Dalton Baldwin at the Foliage Art Song Masterclasses in Vermont. Featured on the NAC’s 4th Stage in March 2011 along with flautist Christian Paquette, Kornienko has made sensitivity and spirit mainstays of his solo and duo performances.
Having started piano later in life and initially being self-taught, Christopher brings a patient and understanding approach to his teaching, fueled by the responsibility of passing on the passion that led him to his current career as a musician.
Vincent has been playing piano for over 20 years and has been teaching piano since 2003. He received his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Ottawa in 2009 and plans on opening up his own music studio in the future. Vincent began learning piano with Daisy Tang at the Kanata Music Academy. Under Daisy’s teachings, Vincent has been classically trained, completed his Trinity College London grade 8 exam, and his Associate in Piano Performance from Trinity College (ATCL). He holds multiple podium finishes for Kiwanis in piano (such as U17 classical era, U17 romantic era).
Vincent’s biggest passion in music is teaching. He has taught a wide range of students from different skill levels; young and old. Every student has its own challenge and Vincent likes taking that challenge head on. He has taught many students who have completed the RCM from Preliminary to Grade 10. Music doesn’t always have to strive towards RCM, so there have been many other students who take music lessons with him wanting to learn a certain type of song, playing a certain genre of music, or just tuning up technique.
Vincent is passionate about being connected with the musical community. He encourages all his students to try playing in front of an audience and meeting new people. He has also played in many music charitable events such as the Echoes of Winter (6 hands 1 piano)
Belinda grew up in a musical family. She played one finger piano as a toddler alongside her Father and Grandmother, but later took formal lessons. Studying conservatory piano with both Western University and the University of Toronto, Belinda graduated to sharing and teaching her love of music to others through Piano. For several years she taught from her home and in elementary schools to many children, coaching them through festivals and conservatory exams. As a teenager Belinda added cello to her talents and fell in love with the instrument. After just 6 months of lessons Belinda became principal cellist of the Associate Youth Orchestra then quickly progressed to Ottawa’s Youth Orchestra where she stayed an active member for several years.
You may know Belinda, she’s the “girl next door” at Manotick Florists! She pops over the fence to teach piano lessons and continues to learn and share her love of music . Last year she joined in the Kempville band for a season to give percussion a try. She also teamed up with a friend to start a Baroque duet of harpsichord and recorder and was Conductor of a string ensemble in Manotick. Why? “ Just because I always wanted to and love it!”
Robert, composer and educator, has been in the Canadian contemporary music scene for over thirty years. His concert works, trans-disciplinary works and scores for film have been performed and broadcast in fifteen countries around the world ranging from Canada to Sweden to Uruguay and to India, amongst others. He worked for The Banff Centre for fifteen years ending his tenure as the Associate Director of Music. He was then on faculty at Mount Royal College in Calgary teaching in the Diploma and Conservatory Academy programs. There he taught Composition, Theory, Piano, and Keyboard harmony. Recently he was on faculty at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton teaching Tonal harmony, Instrumentation, composition, and piano. Recordings of his music can be found on six different CD company labels. His musical style is diverse and challenging. It has an integrity that grows from his vast experiences. He has worked with such composers as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Witold Lutoslawski, Bruce Mather and R. Murray Schafer. His works have been performed by such musicians as Robert Aitken, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Mather-Lepage Duo, Barbara Pritchard, Parmela Attariwala, Trio Phoenix amongst others. Violet Archer, one of Canada’s most respected composers once told him “to always share the knowledge of music and creativity.”
“Creative in approach,” “broad in depth of knowledge,” “organized,” “diplomatic,” “intuitive thinker and teacher” are some of the phrases that colleagues and past students have used to describe him. His piano instruction ranges from beginner through preparation for RCM or Canada Conservatory examinations, to life-long learning for adults. His Creative Music instruction covers all styles and all ages. Piano is his main instrument, but because of his vast knowledge of orchestration he can work with any instrumentalist.
At the age of 7, Janet began learning the piano, and in time, a spark was lit. Because of her love of music, Janet has trained thoroughly in both the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Suzuki method. These methods have not only inspired her to play sensitively and expressively, but have also given Janet the tools necessary for adapting to any style of music. While Janet participated in competitions (she was the winner of the Inspiration Award at the Vancouver music festival), she also served as adjudicator’s assistant at many music festivals. In time, Janet realized that what she wanted most was to teach others the piano.
The thought of having the ability to share her love of music and help inspire others to find their own passion motivated Janet to attend Trinity Western University and become a certified elementary school teacher. She also attended Regent College and obtained a Master of Divinity. Throughout her journey, Janet has come to realize that if given a chance, anyone can learn to play the piano! Hence, Janet took specialized courses on how to teach exceptional children. (i.e.: Autistic including Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, FAS and more).
Knowing that every student will thrive if their different learning styles and needs are met, Janet makes every one of her lessons personalized, interesting, and encouraging. She encourages students play for fun while challenging them to achieve specific, measurable goals, overcome their fears, and if desired, prepares them for performing. Janet seeks to instill in her students an in-depth love of music that they will carry with them throughout their entire lives and the knowledge that “Music is not to Hear, it is to Feel!”
Gabriel Tam-Poudrier has completed his bachelor’s degree in honours composition at the University of Western Ontario. He has studied composition with notable professors such as Dr. Peter Paul Koprowski and Dr. Omar Daniel. He has composed many works for chamber groups and soloists. Having transferred from a performance degree, Gabriel is an active performer, playing in solo recitals, guest masterclasses and accompanying many of his colleagues. He has received piano training under the tutelage of Ryan Phelps (a former Manotick School of Music instructor!) and his recent teacher at Western, Tina Yanchus. His piano training includes lessons with a large number of notable pianists including, Ian Parker, Michel Fournier, Peter Longworth, Ron Turini, and some others.
As a performer, Gabriel has participated in countless music festivals often placing top in his category. On two occasions he has participated at the provincial level, receiving honourable mentions. He has been invited many times to perform for showcases or to open for public concerts. In the past he has been an active member of ensembles such as wind band, choir, or performing his own works in ensembles.
Throughout all of his schooling Gabriel has received many awards of academic excellence and has placed on the dean’s honour list every year. His schooling at Western University also encompasses an extended training in music theory.
In 2012 Gabriel received a government grant to start his own private piano teaching program. In addition to maintaining a private studio, he has collaborated with a public school in order to implement music lessons. He currently resides in the Gatineau/Ottawa area where he continues to write music, perform, and build a studio for teaching.