Raina Saunders

Raina Saunders has joined the Victoria Conservatory of Music Faculty as of August 2023. She teaches for both the Department of Early Childhood Music, and for the Strings Department under the Ann & George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music.  Raina teaches Early Childhood Music classes for the Conservatory at various locations in community. She works with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in settings ranging from small groups of at times more than 20. She provides engaging age appropriate activities that alternate between movement, sounds and music and exploring a wide range of suitable instruments.

Raina Saunders teaches Early Childhood Music classes in community and teaches violin and Suzuki violin lessons and group classes.

Raina is also on the Classical Strings faculty, teaching at the Conservatory’s Langford location as violin instructor. There she offers studio lessons for all ages and teaches the Suzuki method including group classes that complement the program.  She is a violinist, fiddler, teacher, and multi-instrumentalist born and raised in Victoria, BC. Raina completed a bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance at the University of Victoria. She holds a Master’s degree and Graduate Diploma in Violin Performance followed by a Master’s degree in Music Pedagogy at the University of Ottawa. She has also completed grade 10 RCM violin training.

Over the last 15 years, music performance, study, and teaching have taken her across Canada and to Austria. Most recently, she worked for OrKidstra Sistema in Ottawa, teaching violin, conducting string orchestras of various levels, and leading the KiddlyWinks program which brings musical foundations to 5-8 year olds from underserved neighbourhoods.

Throughout her studies, Raina performed for distinguished teachers from around the world. That have included Noah Bendix-Balgley, Yehonatan Berick, Benjamin Schmid, William van der Sloot, Andrew Dawes, Paul Katz, the Danish String Quartet, and the St. Laurence String Quartet. She has attended academies and festivals such as the orchestral program at the Orford Academy in Quebec, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute in Toronto, the Summa Cum Laude Competition in Vienna as a chorister, and the Scotia Festival of Music in Halifax. As a winner of the Johann Strauss Foundation Scholarship Competition, Raina also studied at the Allegro Vivo Summer Academy in Horn, Austria.

Raina is passionate about helping students to grow in musical excellence and joy. She is grateful to have had opportunities to share experiences with students of different ages through private and group teaching in a variety of settings. This has included helping to coordinate the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony @ Schools project and launch the Musicians’ Wellness Centre at the University of Ottawa, coordinating and assisting with courses in physical and mental wellness for musicians.

In addition to playing chamber music, including performances on the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage, Raina has played with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra, and the Galiano Ensemble of Victoria. Aside from classical performance, she enjoys recording on rock, folk, and sacred albums; touring with a rock/folk band; improvising on church music teams; and exploring research in musicians’ health.