B. Mus, Wilfred Laurier University
With 18 years experience teaching individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds, Brendan possesses a genuine passion for music. He enjoys helping students develop their innate talent and achieve their musical goals by emphasizing the fundamentals, reinforcing the principles of focus, repetition and discipline while at the same time, encouraging creativity, humour, a sense of discovery and of course, fun! (above all else, music should be fun, right?) A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, he employs a fun, enthusiastic, yet patient approach to teaching, one that seeks to recognize and develop each student's unique abilities/weaknesses while remaining mindful of their personal musical ambitions, tastes and motivations.
A creative thinker who maintains a flexible and adaptive approach to teaching, Brendan aims to develop lesson plans that inspire and relate to each individual student's unique skill-set and personality. Brendan's versatility/range as an educator/musician is reflected in his background teaching acoustic folk and finger-style guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, electric bass guitar, mandolin, drums and piano. He is comfortable teaching a wide variety of genres/styles such as pop, modern/classic/psychedelic rock, country, jazz/fusion, blues, funk, R'n'B/soul as well as other contemporary styles (hip-hop, latin, reggae/ska etc.). This versatility and musical open-mindedness greatly assists Brendan in accommodating each student's unique musical tastes and goals. Besides the obvious goal of helping develop and refine a student's instrumental prowess, he also aims to inspire and enhance a student's overall appreciation and understanding of their particular instrument, its place in history as well as music in general.
Brendan truly believes in the positive power and potential of music and is always seeking out new ways to learn, grow and refine his skills as a musician/educator. Throughout the years he has absorbed and learned much from his peers and students and continues to work on developing his skills in the fields of education, composition and music therapy.
B. Mus, Berklee College of Music
Kat McLevey is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and arranger from St. John's, NL. Kat's early musical life involved singing in choirs, taking classical piano lessons and playing french horn in school bands. In their teens, Kat gravitated towards guitar, electric bass, and mandolin, finding an avenue for songwriting and production. They quickly made a name for themselves among Newfoundland and Labrador's gamut of prestigious songwriters with the release of their debut album Evergrown in 2015. With its characteristic alternate guitar tunings and twisting melodies, the record earned Kat Female Artist of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2015 MusicNL Awards, as well as a nomination for Rising Star of the Year at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards.
After taking a gap year to write, perform, and record, Kat pursued a Bachelor of Music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA studying electric bass, jazz composition, American roots music, and just about everything in between. After graduating in the summer of 2019, they hit the road with acclaimed songwriter Tim Baker on a tour across the US opening for Half Moon Run. Moving to Toronto on the heels of that tour, Kat has settled in well as a session musician, performer, arranger, and educator. They can be found performing and touring with the bands Zinnia and Donovan Woods.
As a teacher, Kat loves helping students connect with their creativity and engage with music in new ways. With training in both classical and jazz traditions, their teaching approach gives structure to their students' goals and interests. Kat couldn't be happier joining the team at CMC!
B. Mus, Humber College
Justin Orok is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, and teacher. He is best known for
his sensitive, creative touch on the guitar, as well as a slice-of-life approach to songwriting
inspired by the likes of Paul Simon and Randy Newman.
This approach can be heard on Kanata, his debut album, which features musicians including
Justin Haynes, Jean Martin, Felicity Williams, Christine Bougie, and more. Additionally, he is a
member of Decoration Day, a Toronto new-folk group that combines heartfelt songwriting with
low-tuned acoustic guitars, an old harmonium, and the occasional cloud of instrumental
In addition to working as a leader, he has also appeared as a guitarist with musicians including
John Southworth & The South Seas, Kim Barlow, Roddy Ellias, Mary Margaret O’Hara,
Rebecca Campbell, and many more. These ventures have led to performances in Canada,
Austria, Germany, and England, as well as features on CBC Radio and Indie 88. Before all of that, Orok studied music with Justin Haynes, John Southworth, Roddy Ellias, and
earned a Bachelor of Music from Humber College in 2017.
As a teacher, he specializes in teaching beginners, and also students who are interested in jazz, folk, and pop music. Lessons are kept accessible and fun, in hopes that playing the guitar and discovering new records can become beautiful parts of everyday life.
B.Mus. in Performance, Humber College, RCM Classical Guitar Performance ARCT level
Luan Phung (born 1991 in London, England) is a Toronto based improviser, composer, guitarist, and teacher/clinician who works in a broad spectrum of musical idioms. He has been described as “outstanding” and “an impact player” who “raises the bar on so many levels” by distinguished Canadian guitarists Geoff Young and David Occhipinti. Equally comfortable performing straight-ahead jazz and freely improvised musical contexts, to fully notated new music/contemporary works, Luan is an in demand Canadian musician.
As a young classical guitarist, he garnered a number of musical accolades including four consecutive Royal Conservatory of Music silver medals for the highest practical examination mark in the province, a number of first place gold medals at Performing Arts BC, a finalist for the renowned Kay Meek scholarship Competition, and a national finalist at the Canadian Music Competition, among others. Luan was chosen to play in the TD Canada Trust High School Jazz Intensive, led by the anchor of Chicago’s jazz scene, renowned and innovative flautist Nicole Mitchell and winning the CanFor scholarship in conjunction with the Vancouver International Jazz festival, as well as being chosen to play in the Ottawa Youth Summit All-star Band, led by Canadian trumpet great Jim Lewis and winning the Galaxie Rising Star award for jazz performance. Luan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Humber College with honors and was awarded the Ten Quinlan guitar award and the Dave Stillwell composition award. Luan has studied with Hanh Nguyen, David Occhipinti, Geoff Young, Kirk MacDonald, Shannon Gunn, Jim Lewis, Ted Quinlan and many more. Luan currently leads his own quintet and performs/records in a variety of musical contexts and groups in festivals and around the Toronto area.
Luan has over 10 years of experience teaching beginner and advanced music concepts and technique to students who range from young beginner children to potential post-secondary music degree entrance hopefuls and believes in the importance of imparting passion, curiosity, and knowledge onto the next generation of music makers.
Bachelor of Music in Performance, Jazz, University of Toronto
Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Josh completed his studies at Mohawk College, studying with Adrean Farrugia.
Graduating from Mohawk with Honours, he received numerous scholarships including the Richard Newell Memorial Scholarship and the Antony Roberts Music Excellence Award.
After Mohawk College he continued his studies earning a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toronto receiving the Jean A. Chalmers Award. There he learned from Canadian Jazz Greats such as Dave Young, David Restivo, Mike Murley, Chase Sanborn, and Gordon Foote.
Still living in Toronto, Josh is a busy performer playing in many large and small ensembles, with some of the top musicians in the city. Including groups such as John Macleod’s Rex Hotel Orchestra, Marie Goudy 12tet and the Sonuskapos Jazz Orchestra.
Josh has been teaching Piano, Guitar and Bass both privately and at music studios since 2009. He has taught all ages from beginner to advanced in various styles such as Jazz, Classical, Rock and Pop, also has succesfully prepared students for RCM examinations including theory. Having years of music education both privately and at post secondary institutions, Josh is well equipped to figure out the best way to help students progress.
Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Commercial Music, Humber College
Originally from Kanagawa, Japan, Hiro Suzuki is an enthusiastic musician and teacher with 9 years of teaching experience both in English and Japanese. Hiro works predominantly in the genres of jazz, Latin, pop, and rock.
After formally learning the piano and drums, Hiro picked up the guitar and played in various jazz, rock and bossa nova groups, orchestra pits for musicals, and on recording projects.
Hiro acquired his first experience in teaching back in Japan, where he taught guitar students of all levels and ages for 4 years at a music academy. Then, Hiro moved to Canada to pursue a degree in Music at Humber College, where he studied with David Occhipinti, Lucian Gray, Kirk McDonald and Trevor Giancola, and was awarded Humber's scholarship for academic excellence in 2021.
After graduating from Humber, Hiro is an active performer in the Toronto live music scene. Since moving to Canada, Hiro has taught in-person and online private guitar, ukulele, drums and piano lessons tailored to each student's needs and requirements for the past 5 years.
Jazz Performance, U of Toronto
Brandon is an active performer, composer, arranger and educator on the Toronto music scene. Originally from Vancouver, he has over 11 years of playing experience and has been teaching since 2006. Brandon's teaching style is fun, thorough, and centers on learning both the important rudiments of music and guitar playing, and playing the music which inspires each and every student.
Brandon is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto's Jazz Performance Program, and has studied with Canada's Geoff Young, as well as New York's Ben Monder and Adam Rogers. In 2010 he received the Fraser MacPherson scholarship awarded to B.C's most promising young jazz instrumentalists, and in 2009 the Don Wright Scholarship fund for arranging at the University of Toronto. Brandon excels in the jazz and blues idioms, has performed extensively in musical theatre, and is also greatly influenced by classic rock, latin, funk and popular music.
B. Mus & M. Mus Performance in Opera, UBC
Soprano Gwendolyn Yearwood began her teaching career at the age of 18 when she first started working as a vocal coach for the Calgary Girls Choir. She taught and mentored several young singers while completing a diploma of music performance at Mount Royal University.
In 2012 her love of performance and opera took her to Vancouver where she completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music at the University of British Columbia.During her time with UBC Opera she had the opportunity to perform several roles throughout Canada, the Czech Republic, and China. Her performances included: Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Magda in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul, Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème, and Giorgetta in Puccini’s il Tabarro. Gwendolyn has also performed the role of Musetta with Burnaby Lyric Opera, Rosalinde with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Niece 2 in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s production of Peter Grimes, and Mimi in Against the Grain Theatre’s production of La Bohème.
In 2021- 2022 Gwendolyn was a Fellow with the Association for Opera in Canada’s RBC Artist Fellowship program which aims to advance the careers of portfolio(multidisciplinary) opera artists. Gwendolyn currently resides in her home town of Calgary Alberta where she continues a career as a performer, teacher, and the co-founder of Good Mess Opera Theatre.
She is thrilled to be teaching virtually with CMC!