Andrea Akers, BFA, MLIS
Music Educator/ Owner
Andrea began studying voice with Eric James, a music associate for Charlie Chaplin and a conductor/ composer for the BBC. Eric and his wife Phyllis O'Reilly (an established classical singer), trained Andrea for 9 years until she left to attend University. At York University Andrea studied classical voice under the tutelage of Canadian Mezzo-Soprano Catherine Robbin.
Upon graduation Andrea became a studio manager and piano & voice teacher for the Ontario Conservatory of Music in Toronto while she continued her studies at UOT, working toward her Master of Library Science degree with a focus on early literacy and learning.
Allyson Ayotte, BMus, BEd
Allyson began taking piano lessons with the Music for Young Children program at the age of 4 and later, as a student of Lisa Stewart she obtained her Grade 8 piano with a certificate from the Canada Conservatory. Allyson further obtained a Grade 5 Theory and Harmony Certificate with the Canada Conservatory. Allyson has performed in many musicals, dramatic productions and choir within the community. Allyson took up the saxophone in Grade 6 and later was accepted into a performing arts high school program. She studied with Bruce Gorrie and Don Englert and throughout her musical career has placed in symphonic jazz and pits for musicals and well as in international concert venues. A graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Music and a minor in French, Allyson just finished her studies in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto.
Lee-Ann is a graduate of Mohawk College's applied music program with honours and has completed the Royal Conservatory of Music's ARCT piano pedagogy program. She is trained in early childhood music (Music for Young Children, and MusikGarten) and has experience teaching little ones from 16 months to 4 years in group settings. Lee-Ann has been an active teacher, church music & choral director, church pianist, free-lance musician (piano and vocals), music school co-owner, music arranger and song writer in the Guelph and Hamilton areas for over 17 years, and more recently in the Oshawa area. Highlights of Lee-Ann's career have been performing piano with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra's string section in two concerto concerts presented by the Mohawk College Music Department, singing the national anthem for the arrival of Preston Manning's political campaign, and watching shy students blossom into dynamic performers on stage. Lee-Ann looks forward to working with your child develop a solid musical foundation while having fun making music.
DAN BROOKS, BEd, BMus
Piano/ Guitar/ Ukulele
Dan Brooks is a recent graduate from the concurrent education program at York University. During his time at York, Dan studied jazz piano under Richard Whiteman as well as instrumental pedagogy and philosophy. As part of his BEd, Dan completed two high school field placements at Markville Secondary School teaching instrumental Music and English. Dan has been playing music semi professionally in the GTA for the last ten years and has over fifteen years experience playing in general. Dan started playing the drums at ten years old, eventually picking up the guitar and the piano as a teenager. Dan’s instrumental music career began drumming in Durham’s heavy metal and punk scene. Eventually Dan would end up fronting his own band, “Benjamin Reines & The Blood Machine Band” as guitarist/vocalist. In 2014, BR&TBMB released their first full-length recording on vinyl and continues to play shows across southern Ontario. As an educator Dan values inclusivity, higher learning, and enjoyment with a professional guarantee to ensure that lessons will be fun, engaging and productive
Timothy Chan, BMus BEd
Timothy received his ARCT diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory in 2005. He was accepted to the Concurrent Education program at Queen's University, Kingston and graduated with bachelor degrees in Music and Education respectively.
Timothy started accompanying his fellow musicians at Queen's, and has since gained experience working with singers, flutists, brass players, and string players. He has also performed as a pianist in the orchestra for Oshawa Little Theater's productions of Fiddler on the Roof and The Secret Garden. Timothy is a certified teacher in the OCT and works in the DCDSB.
Matthew Mills, B.Mus, B.Ed, OCT
Piano/ Brass (Trumpet, trombone and more!)
Matt Mills holds degrees in Music from Queen’s University
and Education from the University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in
Education. He is an Ontario Certified Teacher, and works with the Kawartha Pine
Ridge District School Board. Matt has played Trombone and Trumpet since the age
of 12 under the tutelage of Kevin Cook and Chantal Brunette, and Piano since
the age of 5 with teachers including Clifford Azavedo and Barry Clark. He has
performed both solo and in ensembles in genres from rock to opera, classical to
Matt has been teaching since 2011, taking students in
Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Theory, Harmony and History subjects. He has taught
privately and in studios and has enjoyed great success with his students, with
notable achievements including successful university and college applicants
among his former students. He is very excited to bring his talents to the team
at The Song Spot and looks forward to working with the rest of the wonderful
Richard Rutherford, BMus
Richard is a determined player with much enthusiasm. He has recently received his bachelor of music from the honors comprehensive program at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University and continues his studies independently. He studied his first year with Anya Alexeyev, an acclaimed pianist and performer and his following years with Elaine Lau, who excels in contemporary mediums. Prior to university he studied with local pianist Barbara Breckonridge. Richard has a strong understanding of keyboard repertoire spanning from Baroque to early twentieth century and an advanced understanding of music theory, specifically harmony and formal structures, and f course rudiments. He has recently worked in preparing students for RCM examinations and as an accompanist at his former high school (Henry Street) for the choir. Richard has taught both privately and in group lessons in the past and is prepared to help his students develop in a way that is most beneficial for them.
Chris Russo, BFA BEd
Chris found an interest in music at a young age. Inspired by the music of the Beatles and R.E.M. he began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10. Eventually attending high school at Monsignor Paul Dwyer, Chris became actively involved in the school's concert and jazz bands.
Once graduating Paul Dwyer, he began to focus his attention on the classical guitar style. Initially studying with local up and comer Adam Ruzzo, Chris went on to study classical guitar at York University. While completing his undergrad, Chris studied privately under world-class guitarist/composer William Beauvais as well as participated in the York University Guitar Ensemble under the direction of flamenco master Roger Scannura. Chris has just recently graduated from York University's music and teaching programs with his Bachelors of Fine Arts, specialized in Music and Bachelors of Education.
Chris continues to develop as a rock and pop guitarist as well. With his long time band Viva Mars, Chris has released multiple records and continues to perform in Durham and the GTA. More recently he has joined local indie rockers Native Other.
Chris continues to grow as a musician and expand his knowledge of the guitar and guitar pedagogy.
JESSICA SCHOEN BMus
Jessica is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelors degree in Voice Performance. After her graduation she attended the prestigious Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, in Toronto, where she trained in singing, acting and various forms of dance; earning her Diploma in Musical Theatre. Now she is working around the GTA as a singer, as well as a film and musical theatre actor. She has won various awards for her musical accomplishments; among them: the North Bay Symphony Orchestra Bursary Award, and the North Bay Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition Award. She also performed at numerous events, from concerts with international vocalists, to charity functions, to NHL hockey games. Her opera performances include: The Magic Flute, A Midsummer Night's dream and Cosi Fan Tutte. She has been in numerous musical theatre roles some of which include Oklahoma, Into the woods, Cats, Beauty and The Beast, Les Miserable & Grease. She has just recently began a film & television career with her most recent role as the voice of reporter in Pixels!
Stephanie Zupan, BMus, BEd
Piano/ Voice/ Flute