Teachers’ Biographies

Giovanni Music

Aaron Skiba (Guitar) is a graduate from the Grant Mac Ewan’s Guitar Performance and Composition programs. He specializes in many styles of guitar and is happy to assist any student at any skill level. Aaron is also an active gigging musician. He has toured with several bands (inc. Econoline Crush), worked with many music industry professionals and has been featured on award winning/nominated albums.

Adrienne Phung (Piano) Adrienne began studying music at the age of 5 at the Giovanni School of Music and is a graduate of the Yamaha Junior Special Advances Course. She has successfully completed the Royal Conservatory Grade 10 Piano Certification as well as the Yamaha grade 6 piano exam. Adrienne’s compositions have been selected several times to be performed in regional and national Yamaha JOC concerts. She has participated extensively in festivals and competitions including Yamaha Keyboard Festivals in Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. She has won many awards and scholarships in festivals and for Yamaha grade exams. She has been teaching piano since 2011.

Allison Nichols (Voice)  is a singing teacher, vocalist, composer, and bandleader with over 15 years of teaching and performing experience. Allison holds a BMus in Contemporary Popular Music and Jazz and diplomas in composition and performance from MacEwan University and is also an alumna of the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She has toured Alberta and beyond as lead singer of a pop-rock party band and as a solo artist and has performed in local festivals and corporate events for clients like Canadian Western Bank, Edmonton International Airport, MacEwan University, and the University of Alberta. She began her teaching career in Tokyo as an early childhood music educator and a Music Together® teacher, and continues to enjoy working with young children, as well as with teens and adults of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. She is well versed in functional voice training, having completed Somatic Voicework™ Levels I-III with Jeannette LoVetri at Baldwin Wallace University, and centres her teaching philosophy on physical awareness, kinesthetic development, and vocal freedom. Allison believes that singing is an elemental form of human expression with the power to transform lives and is passionate about helping students discover the value and beauty of their own authentic voice.

Giovanni Music

Amanda Smith (Voice) has been training to be an opera singer since she was seven years old. She is currently enrolled in the University of Alberta for her last year in the Bachelor of Music program in the performance route. Since starting her university career, Amanda has been asked to sing at the Winspear twice and she has also worked for the Edmonton Chamber Music Society. She has performed in three operas while studying in Italy including Puccini’s Suor Angelica where she played the supporting role of the Monitress. Since starting her voice teaching career in 2016, Amanda has specialized in rehabilitating severe vocal tension using yoga and classical vocal warm-ups and advancing intermediate pop and classical aspiring singers.

Angela Begin (Voice) Angela is a vocalist and instructor based out of Edmonton. She is a recent graduate of the MacEwan University’s Voice Performance Diploma. Angela has loved singing as long as she can remember and takes great joy in nurturing that passion in others. She has studied jazz, classical, rock, pop, r& b, country and blues music.

Giovanni Music

Bonnie Mounsef (Piano) has taught piano for 43 years and has been involved with the Yamaha Education System since 1977. She has the ARCT performance and teacher diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 2005 she was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal from the government of Alberta for making significant contributions to fellow citizens and the community through teaching music. Over the past 43 years she has trained many students for the Royal Conservatory exams, Yamaha exams, the Edmonton Kiwanis Festival, Yamaha keyboard festival and the Yamaha Junior Original concert. Her students have consistently received outstanding results and have received numerous awards and scholarships. Many of her students had perused a career in music, teaching or performing. Bonnie teaches classical, contemporary, and jazz. Latin and pop styles, theory, technique, ensemble playing and performance.

Giovanni Music

Caitlin Martin (Piano) is a music instructor that has been employed with Giovanni Music since 2010, where she teaches various Yamaha Music Education System courses. Caitlin has successfully completed the certificate program requirements for the Grade 10 Examination in Piano with first class honors and the Elementary Piano Pedagogy towards the Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) Diploma in Piano Pedagogy. She holds a diploma of Music with a Major in Piano Performance from Grant MacEwan University. She is currently a part time Falsity of Education student at the University of Alberta working towards a Bachelor of Education degree with a Major in Music.

Giovanni Music

Dallas Reay (Guitar) has RCM in guitar and piano. Music composition diploma from the Grant Mac Ewan University and has been teaching for 3 years. He teaches rock, pop, metal, classical and jazz basics.

David Unsworth (Voice) is a performer and instructor based out of Edmonton. He recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music, majoring in vocal performance from MacEwan University, and performs at a variety of venues and markets around the city. David began singing with the Edmonton Junior Children’s Choir when he was 7 and has been performing ever since, branching out into a variety of different vocal styles. He is knowledgeable in Pop, Rock, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Choral Music,and has experience with composition and song writing.

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Daymon Reay (Piano) has an RCM, Music Composition Diploma from Grant Mac Ewan University and has been teaching for two years. Styles taught are pop, classical and jazz.

Giovanni Music

Emilio De Mercato (Piano) is a concert pianist, composer, conductor and Music Director Alberta Symphony Orchestra. He has more than 20 years teaching experience. Conservatory of Music “Guiseppe Verdi”, Milan Italy . Arts of Sounds International School of Music, Varese Italy. Grant MacEwan University Conservatory of Music, Edmonton. Giovanni School of Music, Edmonton and a private studio. Education: Conservatory of Music “Guiseppe Verdi”, Milan Italy, Hochshule fur Musik, Bern, Switzerland, Music Academy “Marziali”,Seveso, Italy & Masterclasses attended across Europe and US.

Giovanni Music

Eric Lam (Guitar) has a Bachelor degree in Music from the University of Alberta and a Music diploma from Grant Mac Ewan University. Eric has taught guitar for over sixteen ears and also teaches Flute and Cello. As an active musician/composer, he plays for various music events and concerts. He has arranged/composed music for a radio station, TV program and local artists. In 2005, he attained the Best Music Arrangement award from the Canadian Chinese Song-Writers Quest. His mission is to guide students to enjoy, to discover and to increase their knowledge in music.

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Erica York (Piano) Hooked on playing piano and singing for as long as she can remember, it was 2004 when she left Canada to go overseas and become a music teacher at a boarding school. The positive impact music education had on the students inspired her to obtain a music degree. She attended Grant Mac Ewan in Edmonton, Alberta in 2006 and took Jazz piano performance, then graduated in England from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2010 with a BA in Music, Majoring in Songwriting and Piano Performance. She was been teaching piano and vocals for 13+ years, groups and private instruction.

Giovanni Music

Greg Mulyk (Piano) is a classical and jazz pianist, composer and sound designer. He is currently a graduate of the University of Alberta, working on a Master of Music in Composition. He has composed music in a variety of styles ranging from small ensemble, computer music and interactive electronics, to symphony orchestra. Greg also composes music and sound effects for film and video games. Most recently, he created the original music and sound for the animated short film “Sophia”, which was featured at the New York 2017 Urbanworld International Film Festival, and which also won the SOCAN 2017 Young Composers Award for the best animated score. Greg has been a private piano instructor at Giovanni Music since 2012, where he teaches classical and jazz performance styles, along with composition.

Giovanni Music

Isabel Schuppli (Piano) began studying music at the age of 4 at the Giovanni School of Music and is a graduate of the Yamaha Junior Advanced Course. She has participated in numerous competitions both as a soloist and in ensemble and has won many awards and scholarships. Isabel has competed the Royal Conservatory grade 9 piano exam. She is very competent teaching many styles including classical, pop and jazz.

Jillian Meyer (Piano)  is a pianist, composer, teacher, and facilitator. She recently completed her Masters
of Music in Leadership from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK. She also
holds a BMus in Piano Performance and Composition from the University of Victoria (2012).
Jillian has been teaching for over 10 years, and has experience with the Yamaha Music
Education System, Royal Conservatory of Music and ABRSM examination system. She
teaches both private and group lessons, is a certified Yamaha examiner, and has successfully
completed her Yamaha Grade 4 Piano and Fundamentals exams. Jillian is passionate about
music-making with people of all ages and levels. She has worked in schools, hospitals, and
other community settings throughout London and believes that creativity exists in everyone! As
a performer Jillian has given solo piano recitals, performed as a pianist, vocalist, and
percussionist in various ensembles, and has performed in festivals and concerts throughout
Canada and the UK. Jillian’s compositions have also been performed in Canada and the UK.
Jillian teaches all styles of music as well as composition and music theory. She is looking
forward to combining everything she has learned and experienced throughout her career so far
to create an invigorating teaching practice as she returns to Giovanni’s.

Jon Guenter  (Drums)  is a freelance musician based in the city of Edmonton. He’s a recent graduate of MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Music program, majoring in Drum Set Performance, where he spent the majority of his studies focusing on improvisation. Throughout his studies, Jon has taken the role of bandleader, and has played in a variety of styles, from rock to pop. While Jon’s focus lies in the genre of jazz, he is well-versed in many different styles, and has a passion for teaching music to students of all ages and abilities. Jon is a firm believer in examining the aspects of music from a variety of different angles, and believes this process is essential in the development of any musician. Jon has invested his time into understanding not only the theory that surrounds drums, but music theory as a whole. By learning music through mediums like theory, technique, listening, and instrument application, this provides students with the tools to both learn and understand music, allowing them a creative outlet that will translate into other areas of life. Jon’s passion for learning is equally matched by his passion for teaching and it is the experience of growth and knowledge that makes teaching such a positive experience for both Jon and his students. Jon understands each student learns their own way and at different speeds but encourages students to spend a designated set of time each week to work on the materials discussed in class. Jon wants the best for his students and will strive to provide an environment that results in a positive experience for each student.

Giovanni Music

Melanie Poruchny (Piano) I have been playing piano music since the ripe age of 5 but teaching at the Giovanni School of Music since 2005. I have specially been teaching Yamaha for years and hold my Yamaha grade 5 performance and grade 4 fundamentals. I am also a certified Yamaha examiner for grades 13-8. I love all music but enjoy teaching classical and pop styles as well as rudiments and composition.

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Michelle Ann Marcos (Piano) began studying music at the age of 4 at the Giovanni School of Music and is a graduate of the Yamaha Junior Advanced Course. She has taught piano since 2015 and is competent teaching many styles including classical, jazz and pop. Currently Michelle is working towards her Grade 10 Royal Conservatory certificate and is also in her second year of the Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education Combined Degree program at the University of Alberta.

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Monika Kowalczuk (Piano) is an active musician, instructor and performer for special occasions. She earned her BA in Music at the King’s College in Edmonton. With 20 years of training and teaching experience, she has been exposed to various styles and genres of music. She is involved in piano, harp, organ, voice, theory, ear training, harmony, choral music, various forms of dance, including ballroom, theatre, leading and attending workshops, planning and organizing events and performances. Some of her performances have been seen at the Jubilee Auditorium, Winspear, and Royal Alberta Museum. She has expanded to teach group classes with the Yamaha program and is constantly acquiring new techniques and approaches to expose students of all ages to the various aspects of music. As a teacher she strives to be kind, patient, creative, imaginative, fun loving and it committed to having each student excel in their best possible way, whether for an exam, recital or for personal knowledge and enjoyment.

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Nelson Collins-Lee (Drums) Is a Canadian drummer, based in Edmonton, Alberta. He plays and eclectic variety of styles (jazz, rock, metal, afro-Caribbean etc.) and has a detailed yet relaxed and student orientated approach to teaching. After completing his diploma in drum set performance at Mac Ewan University and spending and additional year of jazz studies at the University of North Texas, he has spent the past five years teaching private lessons, performing with bands and continuing to learn. Currently he plays with the bands Red Litmus, All Else Fails, Morewine, Pike and the 21st Agenda. Nelson also takes on various freelance gigs and recording sessions and made his musical theatre debut in the fall of 2016 when he played WS “Fluke” Holland in the Citadel Theatre’s production of the Million Dollar Quartet.

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Ranon Soans (Violin) has been a violin teacher at Giovanni School of Music since 2013. He is trained in and teaches classical violin but also enjoys exploring other musical styles with his students. He has experience in working with students of a wide array of ages and abilities. Ranon has been involved in local music organizations, as a former longtime performer with the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, and as a performer, a founding member and a current director of the Alberta Mozart Society.

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Riccardo Baldini (Piano) was born in Italy and began studying piano at the age of 5. He earned his Master’s Degree in Piano at the renowned G. RossiniConservatory (Pesaro, Italy) under the direction of Professor Ludovico Bramanti. During his time at the conservatory he accomplished various final examinations in music theory (3 years), harmony (2 Years), history of music (2 years) and Chamber of Music (2 years). He has deepened his studies by attending several master classes with renowned pianists Enrico Pace, Andrej Jasinski, Benedetto Lupo, and Jean-Francois Antonioli. Following his tenure at G. Rossini Conservatory, Riccardo was selected among fellow students at the Auditorium Pedrotti for four consecutive years. As a soloist he has also performed in events at the hall Sala dei Marmi in various events. Riccardo has taught privately to young students and adults for some years before moving to Canada.

Stefan Shewchuk (Guitar) is an Edmonton based guitarist and educator with 9 years experience. Stefan holds a Bachelor of Music from the renowned University of North Texas College of Music, where he studied under the legendary Fred Hamilton. He is well versed in many styles of guitar including Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country and Classical. Stefan can be seen performing with his own trio, and as a freelancer in several other groups.

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Stephanie Kwan (Piano) Holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Ottawa, Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Alberta, and the Associate Royal Conservatory of Toronto Diploma in Piano Performance. For many years, she has organized concert initiatives for several Rotary Clubs across Canada. In2007 she was awarded the Rotary Ottawa-West Plaque for her dedication. In addition to her diverse collaborate and performing experiences , she is also active as a teacher and one of the founders and President of the Art of Sounds Music Association in Italy. Stephanie has appeared on Edmonton City TV, CKUA Radio, Panorama Italiano and Lombardi Oggi Magazine. Currently for the 2017-2018 year, Stephanie is teaching piano, theory and the Yamaha Junior Music Course 1 at the Giovanni School of Music .

Giovanni Music

Steve Badach ( Guitar) is an Edmonton based multi-instrumental and educator with a specific focus on electric and acoustic bass. Steve holds a music performance diploma from Grant McEwan. He is well versed in all styles of bass including, blues, rock, jazz, classical, blue grass and everything in between.

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Yuliya McKee (Violin) was born in southwestern Ukraine and became interested in playing the violin and piano at 5 years. She continued her love of music throughout her school years and into college. Her music education continued into college in Kolomiya and the University in Rivne where she attained a Bachelors and Masters in Music Arts. Yuliya learned about not only the violin and piano but also voice instruction and conducting, She conducted church choirs during this time while completing university and graduating with honors. Upon completion she taught violin and conducted children’s choir. Her love of music followed her when she immigrated to Canada in and she began sharing her love of music with Canadian students. She began teaching violin at Giovanni Music in 2012 and has since received the Yamaha Popular Music Course Certificate. She continues to share her love of music with both young and mature student and hopes to introduce the joys of music to many students for many years to come.