ASM Teachers

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Julie Sousa

Piano, Choir, Preschool

Julie Sousa is the dedicated founding director of Annette Street Music. A music educator with over 20 years of diverse experience teaching children and adults, Julie is thrilled and grateful to share her love of music with the students and families of ASM. Julie currently teaches private piano lessons, adapted lessons for individuals with exceptional needs, and music theory classes. She has also taught music for Montessori students, co-directed small choral groups, developed and led ASM’s preschool program: Creative Moments, and mentored music teacher trainees with the Academy of Music (Brampton). She occasionally adjudicates at music festivals and preparatory exams for neighbouring music studios. She is a graduate of York University (Bachelor of Arts) and Humber College (Graduate studies).

In addition to her musical studies, Julie also holds a theatre studies degree, is a member of Music for Children – Carl Orff Canada, Toronto Music Teachers Association, and the Ontario Music Teachers Guild.

Brenda Paddon

Guitar, Ukulele, Harp, Voice, Hammered-Dulcimer

 

Brenda is a graduate of George Brown College of Science and Technology in Piano Tuning and Restoration and is an associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Classical Piano Performance.

 

She has enjoyed being a music instructor for over thirty years and provides a strong base in fundamental musicianship skills as well as preparing students for testing and performance.

Adapting lessons to support the needs of her students is one of Brenda’s strengths. She enjoys playing and teaching classical music, folk, pop, World, and contemporary music and she is well known for her warm rapport established with students and families.

Brenda would like to remind all students that the key to being awesome at your instrument is through regular and frequent practicing!

Ben Lee

Acoustic & Electric Guitar


Ben Lee is a musician and performer, having studied both throughout his life. His love of traditional New Orleans jazz and blues formed the foundation of his musical career, though he also performs as a guitarist in vintage soul and R&B. Since 2016, he has performed on the tenor banjo with one of Toronto’s longest-running traditional jazz bands, the Happy Pals. In addition, he performs with traditional jazz trio the West End Riverboat Band and in 2017, played with celebrated New Orleans jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White. Aside from traditional jazz, Ben leads his vintage soul group, Benson Lee & the Wildmen and plays classic rock & roll in other outfits.

Ben also works as a community arts facilitator and has a passion for working within marginalized communities. In addition to his teaching at Annette Street Music, he works with the Regent Park School of Music, PARC community drop-in, and the Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital; variously leading drop-in music sessions and art workshops designed for integrating people with special needs and typically-developing communities.

Ashwin Krishnan

Piano, Jazz, Theory, Composition


A recent Humber College graduate, Ashwin earned a Bachelors degree in Jazz and Commercial Music. He has had the opportunity to study under award winning jazz musicians such as Robi Botos, Hilario Duran, Brian Dickinson, Gord Sheard, Anthony Panacci and Kirk McDonald. Ashwin studied jazz improvisation, theory, ear training and ensemble playing. During his last year of study, he went on to specialize in advanced recording techniques and aesthetics of recorded sound. Currently Ashwin is actively performing and teaching in Toronto. He is also working on the release his first EP “Bittersweet”, which seamlessly blends his roots in rhythm from Indian classical music with the complexities of jazz harmony.

Andrea Kuzmich

Voice, Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Songwriting

Andrea Kuzmich has a PhD ABD in Ethnomusicology, MA (Master of Arts) in Ethnomusicology, and a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Music from York University in Toronto. Andrea is a versatile and award winning singer, teacher, ethnomusicologist, music facilitator and mother. Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings where by the age of 16 she was a cellist with the McMaster Symphony and had performed in four different Canadian Opera Company productions. Andrea has also: fronted an alternative pop band; won The Ella Fitzgerald Award for Performance in Vocal Jazz and The St. Thyagaraja Award for Performance in South Indian Singing and Drumming; sung in a Congolese Gospel Choir; studied Balkan folk music; co-led classes and kids’ camps on West African drumming; performed in Big Bands, small jazz combos, as well as contemporary new music ensembles; recorded film soundtracks; taken a leading role in the practice of ridnyj holos (Ukrainian traditional singing) in Canada through FolkCamp.ca; become Canada’s foremost practitioner and academic of the UNESCO proclaimed intangible heritage Georgian polyphony; led camps and workshops for kids and adults in composition and songwriting, blues, bluegrass; and body percussion.

Andrea has taught music or has been a visiting guest artist at: the Toronto District School Board, for body percussion (2020); York University, for private voice and musicianship and led the World Music Chorus (2006-2012); University of Toronto, with the vocal jazz ensemble (2012), Viva Youth Singers (2011); and Young Voices of Toronto, formerly High Park Choir (2016).

Andrea can be heard on Veryan Weston’s “Make” (2018); Tanya Tagaq’s “Retribution” (2016); DoVira’s “DoVira” (2016); Kalendar’s “Sichen” (2016); ZARI’s “ZARI” (2008); Whitney’s Smith Big Steam Band’s “Swing’s Mistress” (1998); movie soundtracks “The Witch” (2015) and “In The Tall Grass” (2019); documentary soundtrack “What is Love” (2016), CBC’s Choral Concert (2011), and many others.

Guillermo D’Acosta

Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Music Club

Guillermo is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and teacher. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Guillermo has lived in Venezuela, Canada and Brazil. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English.

A graduate of York University, Faculdade de Musica do Esprito Santo Brazil, Henan University China, and Universidad Simon Bolivar, Venezuela. Guillermo completed a BA, DTCM, Bed. Music Education, AMI (Montessori) assistant certificate, and Orff certification I.  He is also currently enrolled in the Music Education Master program at Berklee College of Music at the Boston Conservatory specializing in neurodiverse education.

When he is not teaching, Guillermo spends time with his four children and coon hound, Kevin. He enjoys reading, (his favourite book is La Vida es Sueno by Pedro Calderon de la Barca), and soccer.

Emma Wallace

Piano, Voice: Beginner & Somatic Voicework, Group Performance

Virtual lessons only

Emma has enjoyed teaching piano and voice for over six years. She holds an undergraduate degree in classical piano from the University of Toronto (2019), and is currently studying with world-renowned performer Jarred Dunn. She has studied the Alexander Technique and Taubman Technique, which train awareness of and efficient movement in the body while singing or at the piano, and Emma has completed Level I / II / III of the Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method (Summer 2020), and teaches voice guided by their principles.

Emma enjoys working with students of all ages. Her approach to teaching is comprehensive, using singing, movement, composition, improvisation, reading, and listening to develop strong, enduring musical and life skills in each student. She believes exposure to a wide variety of music is important and uses classical, jazz, folk, musical theatre, and pop styles in her teaching. She encourages natural, healthy technique for the purpose of developing the student’s musical expression. Emma nurtures healthy, trusting, patient teacher/student relationships, understanding the vulnerability involved in music sharing.

Vanessa Ng

Piano, Low brass, Music theory

Vanessa Ng is a third-year music education major at the University of Toronto and she is currently the Vice-President Communications of the Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association. She is the recipient of academic and merit-based scholarships, most recently of which are the Frank Harmantas Trombone Scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Geoffrey E. Norton Memorial Scholarship from the Norton family. She first began her musical journey at a young age when her parents enrolled her in piano lessons. She has competed and won piano competitions in festivals such as the Adagio Music Festival and New Conservatory of Music Festival in both solo and duet competitions with her sister, Serena. She enjoys teaching piano and trombone and got her first taste of Music Education in when she was in Grade 10 as a piano teacher for young children and toddlers.

Vanessa has been a member of ensembles such as the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, Ontario Provincial Honour Band, and Rouge River Winds. She is an active member of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, participating in the ensemble for three years as a musician, serving as the Librarian of the Wind Orchestra and Coach of the Low Brass section of the Symphonic Winds. She has been a guest speaker on a panel with the Canadian Women’s Brass Collective, discussing racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Canadian music industry. Vanessa is passionate about inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and serves on IDEA committees for both the Ontario and Canadian Band Associations.

In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog Cookie, taking care of the plants on her windowsill, and playing ragtime piano.