Ryan Wheatley Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
As a kid Ryan always loved listening to music. He picked up his first guitar at the age of 12 and quickly developed a passion for it, deciding then that music would be his career. At the age of 14 he was asked to join his first band and soon after he was playing shows all around Ottawa. After high school Ryan took Algonquin College's Music Industry Arts program where he learn all about how to produce and record bands. This gave him the skills needed to record Ginger Fox Band's two latest releases. Ryan has been a music teacher for over four years, teaching kids and adults of all ages guitar, bass and drums. He also works as a live sound engineer all around Ottawa. He has played gigs across Ontario in multiple bands, including The Ginger Fox Band and M'alice and Monsters, a tribute to Alice Cooper.
Galen Cussion Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Originally hailing from Innisfil, Ontario, Galen began his music journey after discovering The Beatles in his youth. At 12 he was given his first bass guitar and took to it with great enthusiasm, forming a band with friends shortly after. Upon exposure to Queen a few years later, he taught himself the piano, alongside guitar and vocals. Eventually this led Galen to studying music at Carleton University, taking lessons from Steve Boudreau and graduating with a BMus, majoring in jazz piano. With a very eclectic range of influences, Galen is well-versed in classic rock, prog rock, alternative, jazz, classic metal, musical theatre and electronic music. His list of musical heroes includes The Beatles, Queen, Rush, The Killers, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Kraftwerk, The Who, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, The Rolling Stones, The Sheepdogs, The Beach Boys and too many others to list here.
No stranger to the stage, he competed in several battle of the bands in high school, as well as in a tribute act at the Orillia Beatles Celebration four consecutive years. Since moving to Ottawa in 2013, Galen has been a regular in theatre pit bands, and has twice been musical director for productions of rock musicals "Heathers: the Musical" and "The Rocky Horror Show." He currently performs with both Blind Aura and The Tackies, the latter of which have toured across Eastern Canada, performed at 2017's edition of Ottawa Bluesfest, won the "Ottawa Life Magazine" Cover Me contest and worked with artists such as The Lazys, Modern Space, LIGHTS, Alvvays and Jim Bryson.
Matt Spafford Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
After being told that taking guitar lessons meant starting acoustically, Matt began learning bass guitar at the ripe age of 7 years old. By the age of 11, he was participating in all manner of performance programs, private lessons and personal learning. Thus began Matt's passion of playing solo and blending genres in various bands. Upon starting high school, he began playing shows around the city in his pop-punk band Spirit of Commission. By the time he was 18, Matt had toured all across Ontario and Quebec, as well as over 15 American states with his band Castlefield. He has also worked as a touring bassist with a number of American bands. In addition to his experience as a musician, Matt has also worked as a concert promoter and booking agent, organizing concerts all over Canada and the United States.
Matt now spends his time playing with Ontario pop-rock group Certainty, as well as writing and recording music as a solo musician. He is also a full-time student at Carleton University, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Media Studies.
Alex Pharoah Guitar Teacher
Born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Alex began his musical career at the age of 12. He was gifted an electric guitar for his birthday and it was love at first sight. He got his start playing at church in the band on Sunday mornings which evolved to performing at various church events around the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area. Alex moved to Ottawa in 2014 to attend Algonquin College's "Music Industry Arts" program where he graduated in 2016. Quickly after moving Alex got involved as the lead guitarist for the band "Hearts In Stereo". Over the next year they played shows all over Ottawa and even as far as North Bay. A year later they unfortunately broke up as multiple members moved away. While in school, Alex met and became friends with Tori Dawson (who now goes by the stage name "Vi"). Alex has become her guitarist, performing live together and on her album "Blackwater". They eventually played at Ottawa's Bluesfest in 2019, opening for a band named "The Backstreet Boys". In 2015, Alex and a couple of his musician friends got hired to be the band in CBC Radio One's "Christmas Human Jukebox". They practiced for months beforehand learning every christmas song they could. Listeners would call in to the show with a special story and a song that reminded them of christmas. Then the band had to play whatever song they requested. Since January 2020, Alex has been a music director at a church here in Ottawa.
Robin Kenny Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Robin Kenny is an Ottawa born singer-songwriter/keyboardist with a growing commitment for writing music and being involved in her local music scene. She has studied under various vocal coaches including Ottawa's Juno Award winning jazz talent, Kellylee Evans. She is currently in her last year of Carleton's BMUS performance program studying jazz vocals where she is thankful to have built connections with many talented musicians both on and off campus. In previous projects she has played at RBC Bluesfest, the Navan Fair, as well as winning the 2017 City of Ottawa Battle of the Bands with her former alt-rock group, O Neptune. Performing at various rock venues across the city has helped her develop her sound and ability to engage with an audience as well as continue her love of performing.
Rafael de los Reyes Drum Teacher
Rafael de los Reyes was born and raised in New York City. He hails from a very musical family. He is the son of Cuban bandleader Emilio Reyes and Puerto Rican vocalist Irma Rodriguez.
He is cousin to the legendary drummer and percussionist Walfredo de los Reyes Sr. (Fajardo, Cachao, Wayne Newton), and Walfredo Reyes Jr. (Santana, Steve Winwood, Chicago), and Daniel de los Reyes (Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Lopez, Zak Brown Band).
His early musical experiences occurred while he was featured as a percussionist in his father’s band playing gigs around the N.Y. metropolitan area and recording with local groups. By the time he reached his adolescence, he had acquired the knowledge of a professional. When Rafael turned 14, he began studying formally with William Kessler, before moving to the Drummer’s Collective. He furthered his studies with Henry Alder (and later with Sam Ulano), and played many of New York City's major clubs and off-Broadway shows.
Throughout the years, Rafael has performed with numerous artists, including Bo Diddley, The Shirelles, The Drifters, The Platters, The Marvelettes, The Tokens, Mary Wells, Ben Vereen, Ben E. King, Joey Dee & the Starlighters, The Shangri-Las, Celia Crúz, La Lupe, Orlando Contreras, Vicentico Valdés, Lou Pérez, and Chico Alvarez. His talents have also been exhibited on television performances (including the 1999 Grammy Awards show with Ricky Martin, “One Life to Live”).
Gabriella-Rose Nasrallah Little Wing Teacher, Rookies Teacher
Gabriella was 12 years old when she took her first vocal lesson at School of Rock and was instantly hooked. Wanting to get more involved in music, she joined our Teen Performance group and picked up guitar lessons shortly after. Some of her best memories were made on stage, rocking out with the band at Hope Beach Volleyball, or singing her heart out to Paradise City by Guns N Roses at the Capital Fair. Since leaving the school, Gabriella continues to practice music at home and perform at open mics.
Now as a university student at UOttawa, Gabriella is studying Psychology and Music in hopes of becoming a music therapist.
Dana Melamed Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
It has been said that Dana has never put the guitar down since she picked it up at age 11. Before that, she was playing Level 6 RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) piano – but was always obsessed with switching over to the guitar. Now she holds a Level 7 RCM Certificate for guitar (with first class honors), and is currently training for Level 8. Although captivated by the complexity of classical music, she does her fair share of shredding. Granted, a lot of that shredding is classical-shred fusion.
As much passion as Dana has for playing the guitar, she has equally for the instrument itself. She never has less than 15 guitars in her collection at all times, most of them electric. She’s always done her own string changes, set-ups and repairs, and claims a guitar collection can never be too large.
Dana has taught guitar and piano at the Hunt Club Riverside Community Center, the Nepean School of Music, and privately at her home over the last 10 years.
Outside the music room, she has a BSc (uOttawa), an advanced diploma (Center of Geographic Sciences) and an MSc (Acadia). She spent the last three years in California working for a major tech company before deciding to return home and pick up guitar teaching once again.
Nathan Reid Drum Teacher Nathan Reid
Jonathan "Nathan" Reid is an Ottawa based drummer and multi-instrumentalist with a lifelong interest in performance and writing. Growing up in a predominantly musical household, Nathan was surrounded by a family of aspirating musicians, all trying to perfect their own specific instrument. His parents bought him a drum kit after he spent many childhood years drumming on pots and pans with wooden spoons. Learning drums mainly from participating in public competitive rhythm game tournaments, to filling in for many smaller bands on tour. Nathan wants to pass on what he's found to make drumming as a craft such a fulfilling and fun experience. Playing his first gig at 12, Nathan frantically joined local Rock bands, trying to pack in as much live performance as possible. After the high school years of hopping from band to band, Nathan co-founded their current project, known as "Amnita". Learning to use recording equipment from scratch and self-producing their own material, Amnita has recorded three EPs alongside a collection of singles, carving out their own psychedelic, Indie Pop sound. Between 2018 and today, Nathan has taken a passion in joining other bands as a hired drummer and bassist on their tours. Bands such as Castlefield, Romancer, Pine, Fanclubwallet and Plastic Farm have had Nathan behind the drums for shows ranging from Ontario and Quebec, to the southern American states.
Israel "Izzy" Martinez Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Israel Martinez has a very versatile professional music career which spans over more than 27 years and two continents.
Born and raised in Mexico, Israel Martinez graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts of Mexico (INBA) with a Diploma in Jazz. He also obtained a bachelor degree in ethnomusicology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The earlier years of his professional career were spent in Mexico where he played with renowned artists. His reputation brought him to Europe where he was active in the Jazz scene. You could hear him play in famous venues such as The Blue Note in Amsterdam and Le Caveau des oubliettes in Paris, to name a few.
In October of 2005, Israel immigrated to Canada, where he was baptized “Izzy” by the Ottawa Music Scene. For the past thirteen years, Izzy has played with an array of local artists such as Alicia Borisonik, James Cohen, Caridad Cruz, Claudia Salguero, Rommel Ribeiro, Chelsey June, Tympanic, The Nostromos, London Gentleman Records and many more.
Izzy Martinez is known and sought out for his professionalism, his distinctively clear sound and his versatility. He plays a wide variety of genres from Flamenco, to Jazz, to Blues, to Rock, to Folk, to Country, to Latin, to Latin-Jazz, to Reggae, to Funk and son Cubano.
Ryan Eagleton Guitar Teacher
Ryan is a local Canadian music industry professional with a passion for entertainment, performance and learning. He picked up the guitar, teaching himself at age 12 how to play and continued pursuing his interest by participating in school band events and attending tons of concerts. After some years of working after school, Ryan went to Algonquin college where he received his diploma for graduating from the music industry arts program with honors in August of 2021. He currently resides in Orleans, Ontario where he spends much of his free time playing and learning music, creating content and gaming. The collaborative nature of music is something special and he is always eager to meet new people that share that passion.
Nick Boone Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Nicholas Boone is an Ottawa based singer and multi-instrumentalist with a passion for writing and performance. Having sung at his first talent show at the age of 4, the drive to play music was always present. Around the age of 12, Nick took interest in playing the bass guitar and started playing in any projects he could. As time went on he garnered some experience touring with the band “Amnita”, taught himself to play guitar/keys and gained knowledge about music production. After releasing 3 EP’s, multiple singles and carving their own sound with the band Nick now focuses more on production and writing. He is currently an audio engineer/producer at Vibration Studios, helping people find their sound and hone in on their style.
Johanna Samu Studio Coordinator
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in South Africa, Johanna Samu, our Studio Coordinator, is a communications and sociology student at the University of Ottawa with four years of experience working alongside various organizations and institutions in Ottawa. She specializes in public relations, design, marketing, internal communications, and human relations.
Johanna has previously worked for Orleans Integrative Medicine. She worked as the administrative receptionist and worked with the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Center as a communications assistant to the Director of Philanthropy, who is now her mentor.
She has a strong passion for music as she believes in its therapeutic essence. In her free time, Johanna likes to go on picnics, go hiking, play volleyball, listen to music, play video games and enjoy going on long road trips.