Classical Theory Program Coordinator
Crystal is a theory and musicianship instructor at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where she coordinates the Classical Music Theory programming through the School of Music Technology and Creativity, for the Ann & George Nation Conservatory of Classical Music. Crystal teaches group classes as well as individual lessons at the VCM, and has taught theory and musicianship classes for the VCM/Camosun College Diploma program. She is the co-author of three publications for the Royal Conservatory of Music, and also leads the Music Theory programming for the VCM’s Summer Academy. Crystal is a Royal Conservatory certified theory teacher and long-time member of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association. Her students are often the recipients of the BCRMTA awards for the highest mark on Harmony examinations.
Crystal was strongly influenced by her studies in theory pedagogy with Rodney Webster at the VCM in the early 1980’s, and teaching theory became her life-long passion. Thanks to her hands-on experience with many students over the years, she developed a program that reflected her belief that the study of theory, ear-training, and music history/style should be integrated to provide a complete understanding and enjoyment of music. Above all, she believes that theory classes can and should be fun! Crystal co-authored the Sound Advice Theory and Ear-training series with long-time colleague, Brenda Braaten. The Sound Advice series was published by Frederick Harris Music in 2006 and was completely revised in 2018. Sound Advice is used as the text for VCM theory classes.
Crystal has also co-authored two more publications for the Royal Conservatory of Music, including the online ear-training component of the Four Star Sight Reading and Ear-Tests, Preparatory to level 10, published by Frederick Harris Music in 2015; and the Celebrate Theory Series Preparatory to Level 8, published by Frederick Harris Music in 2016.
Crystal studied classical piano with Phyllis Shultz and completed her AVCM (Piano) after studying piano pedagogy with Winifred Wood, Dr. Robin Wood and Edward Parker. Crystal also studied jazz piano with George Essihos for many years and his unique approach to improvisation has influenced her teaching of composition and melody writing. Crystal studied theory with Dr. Roman Toi of the RCM and completed her AVCM (Theory) after extensive studies in theory pedagogy with Rodney Webster.
Crystal has been a clinician at numerous workshops on Vancouver Island, the lower mainland and at the Art of Teaching for the RCM in Toronto.