Music Programs

Songwriting Skills & Strategies: Writing Better Lyrics

Is there an ideal way to write lyrics that lead to inspiring songs? This course will help you write strongly and clearly in your own unique voice, as you learn how to generate better ideas and craft satisfying lyrics. Explore ways to shape language, rhythm and rhyme into vivid verses, refrains, and bridges. Whether you’re […]

Wynn Gogol

Wynn Gogol is a music producer, mixer, educator and author who enjoys working in a wide range of genres and styles. With more than twenty years of experience, his work has received Juno nominations, a Maple Blues Award and a Canadian Folk Award. Wynn joined the VCM in 2017 to teach the newly developed postsecondary Diploma in Music Performance course “Composing as Singer-Songwriter”. As a faculty member of the VCM’s School of Music Technology & Creativity, Wynn has since expanded his involvement with the VCM to include teaching digital school notation, as well as recording, mixing, and editing, as part of the VCM’s new Music Technology Lab programming currently under development. […]


Course Info

Sound Advice Theory & Ear-Training Classes

Sound Advice is a complete theory and musicianship program where theory, eartraining, sight-reading, music history and composition are integrated to develop musical literacy. Where applicable, students are prepared for the theory and eartraining components of instrumental/vocal examinations, high school credits, and postsecondary theory placement but the main reason to take Sound Advice theory classes is […]

Contact the coordinator for all registration placement and schedule information:
Crystal Wiksyk, Theory Coordinator: [email protected]

Crystal Wiksyk

Crystal Wiksyk is a theory and musicianship instructor at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where she coordinates the Classical Music Theory program within 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.


Christine Donkin

I am a Canadian composer, and I teach theory and composition at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Although my explorations into music composition began as a solitary pursuit, I have in recent years had the honour of collaborating with a wide variety of instrumentalists, vocalists, writers, and fellow composers. I have never specialised: I compose music for students and amateurs as well as for professionals. With the passage of time, my focus is shifting from my own development to that of young people who want to express themselves creatively through music.


Rachel Hill

A graduate from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Music Degree, Rachel Hill also holds a Music Diploma in piano and voice from Douglas College in New Westminster. Her teaching career began at the age of 19 when she was selected for the music teacher apprenticeship program at an established music studio in Surrey, BC. Her established teaching practice includes knowledge of a wide variety of curriculum, individualised to meet the musical preferences of her students which range from classical to contemporary. She endeavours to pass on her enthusiasm and love of music to her students who range from the very young to adults.


Anna Cal

ANNA CAL is trained in the famous tradition of Russian piano schools. She studied at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg with well-known Russian performers and professors including Vitaly Berzon, Pavel Yegorov and the late Helen Shishko. She holds Master degrees with high distinction in three fields: piano performance, piano pedagogy and collaborative piano. After studying in Russia, Anna spent two years in Rome, Italy where she worked as a soloist and a voice coach. Anna is a senior teacher at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where she teaches piano, piano pedagogy and collaborative piano. She is Director of Collaborative piano and Interpretation in German Lieder Projects. Anna is a frequent performer in Victoria as a soloist and in collaboration with vocalists and instrumentalists.


Thilo Schaller

Thilo Schaller teaches Music Technology courses as part of the VCM/Camosun Certificate in Music Technologies, and works with students via the Camosun Distributed Learning Platform (Desire2Learn). Thilo composes autonomous music as well as for various media contexts. His works have been performed in England, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Tanzania, Spain, Canada, and Italy. Thilo’s music is often described as contemporary and accessible. His first score for Canadian film was nominated for the Alberta Film and Television Awards in 2014. […]


Daniel Brandes

Daniel Brandes has been a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music since 2015, where he has worked and taught in a number of areas. He teaches theory and ear training courses and lessons in the Postsecondary and Music Technology & Creativity program areas, as well as the Creative Impulse, a course focusing on cultivating creative practices. Additionally, Daniel is the program director and lead choir director for the VCM’s ChoirKids program delivered tuition-free through VCM Children’s Music Outreach into underserved schools in the Capital Regional District. As of July 2021, Daniel is the Artistic Director of the VCM’s […]


Robert Holliston

Robert Holliston studied at the Victoria Conservatory of Music under Robin Wood and Winifred Scott Wood, and at the University of British Columbia under Robert Rogers. As an accompanist and chamber player he has performed throughout Canada and the USA, England and New Zealand, and has been heard frequently on CBC-Radio. He has recorded CDs with the popular salon ensemble Viveza, trombonist Ian McDougall, tenor Ken Lavigne, his brother Tom Holliston, Show Business Giants, and members of the Hornby Island Ensemble. Robert has collaborated with many of Canada’s leading singers, including Richard Margison, Benjamin Butterfield, Judith Forst, Nathalie Paulin, Susan (…)


Course Info

Studio Instruction – Music Technology Subjects

Sign up for lessons in Music Technology, including Digital Notation, Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), Sequencing, and Virtual Instruments!

Lesson Tuition Rates vary according to instructor ($55 - $85/hr)

Once you have found an instructor, ask about building your own Online Group! Group classes must have a minimum of four enrolled, and cost $17.20 per student per hour.

Wynn Gogol

Wynn Gogol is a music producer, mixer, educator and author who enjoys working in a wide range of genres and styles. With more than twenty years of experience, his work has received Juno nominations, a Maple Blues Award and a Canadian Folk Award. Wynn joined the VCM in 2017 to teach the newly developed postsecondary Diploma in Music Performance course “Composing as Singer-Songwriter”. As a faculty member of the VCM’s School of Music Technology & Creativity, Wynn has since expanded his involvement with the VCM to include teaching digital school notation, as well as recording, mixing, and editing, as part of the VCM’s new Music Technology Lab programming currently under development. […]


Jonathan Haek

Jonathan Haek is a composer and flutist originally from Portland, Oregon. Dr. Haek is the Director of the School of Music Technology and Creativity at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. He currently teaches Aural Skills courses for the VCM’s Department of Postsecondary Studies, and is the designer, developer, and instructor of the new postsecondary Certificate of Music Technologies program offered in partnership with Camosun College. Jon’s interests lie at the intersections of music, math, and technology. His projects have involved collaboration with modern dance choreographers, free improvisation, interactive and computer music composition, and Fibonacci numbers as compositional tools. Dedicated to […]


Nathan Johson

Nathan Jonson

Nathan Jonson is an electronic music producer and composer who has been releasing music internationally for almost 2 decades as a solo act and as a part of numerous group projects. Live performance and DJ tours have taken him to the United States, all over the UK and Europe, Russia, and through Asia while teaching production masterclasses along the way. At the VCM Nathan specializes in teaching Ableton. […]


Jan Randall

Jan Randall is a pianist, who played entirely by ear from childhood, started working in blues and pop music bands while still in high school, and after receiving formal classical and jazz training as a composer and arranger went on to spend a decade in theatre before moving on to make a career of composing sound tracks for broadcast. Jan has been the head song writer since 2011 for the hit CBC radio series “The Irrelevant Show.” He wrote songs and doubled as musical director for comedy shows with Second City in the early 80′s, where he collaborated with such (…)


Course Info

Suzuki Violin & Cello (3+ years)

An internationally known music curriculum and teaching philosophy, The Suzuki Method teaches through listening, repetition, positive reinforcement and gentle yet specific guidance. Beginners learn to play by ear– much like a child learns to speak or communicate. Suzuki teaching is based on respect for each child’s uniqueness and the belief that all children possess natural […]

To register, please contact the VCM front desk: 250.386.5311

Raya Fridman

Raya Fridman is a dedicated and fully trained Suzuki violin teacher at the VCM. She believes that every child can succeed in life if she/he has support of the family; music will be one of the many achievements. Raya holds a College Diploma in Orchestra/Music Education from Russia and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University, as well as a Master in Music from the University of Victoria. Her performing experiences include the Chamber Orchestra of Leningrad, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Chamber Orchestra, various theatre companies such as Victoria Operatic Society and Gilbert and Sullivan. She has also enjoyed masterclasses with Pinkas Zukerman, Eleonora and Yuli Turovski, Richard Roberts, Thomas Williams and workshops with “I Musici” and “Quador Bozzini”. Raya has been leading the Civic Orchestra of Victoria since 2006. She is conversant in Russian, French, and English.


Dexine Wallbank

DEXINE WALLBANK was a member of The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and also played with the National Ballet Orchestra of Canada, both in Toronto. Apart from the years she spent in eastern Canada, Dexine has played with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra since she was twenty years old. Over the years she has also played with various chamber groups including the early music group, Victoria Festival Consort. Dexine received Suzuki teacher training form the Suzuki Kingston institute as well as the Guelph Suzuki institute. In addition to many years of giving lessons privately from her home, she has also taught at (…)


Karen Whyte

Upon hearing the legendary Jacqueline Du Pre perform in Vancouver, Karen became enthralled with the cello. Lessons with Judith Fraser and Ian and Colin Hampton preceded a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance of the Cello, completed in 1985. Since then, Karen has gone on to complete a Professional Teaching Certificate, the Camosun College/Victoria Conservatory of Music Strings Diploma and Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Education. Karen has also participated in six sessions of the Montreal Suzuki Institute, completing Suzuki Cello Books 1 – 8.
Karen teaches Suzuki Cello at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Strings in the Greater Victoria School District. She enjoys performing with the Victoria Civic Orchestra and the Sooke Philharmonic. Karen plays a cello dated 2002 by Gregory Walke of Paisley, Ontario.


Course Info

Vocal Diction and IPA

Language diction skills for the singer are developed alongside use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Diction skills are rehearsed through poetic reading and interpretation, as well being related to physiological mechanics of the singer. One or two related spoken languages are considered each term on a rotational cycle. Click here for information on Fall […]

Returning Spring 2023

Kiiri Michelsen

Canadian-Norwegian mezzo-soprano Kiiri Michelsen is active in performance, teaching (voice/lyric diction), coaching (lyric diction) and research (lyric diction). Voice teaching (Dept of Postsecondary Studies – VCM/Camosun Diploma in Music Performance;  Ann & George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music) The ultimate goal of Kiiri’s teaching approach is the discovery of each singer’s unique sound.  In […]


Course Info

Vocal Jazz Ensemble

For ages 17 and up, accompanied by a full rhythm section. Singers receive instruction in performance technique, improvisation, intonation and vocal independence. Vocalists should have strong music reading skills and part-singing ability.

Spring Term 2022:
Jan 14 - Apr 8 • $423.40
Fri • 3:30 - 6:30pm • Downtown

Acceptance by audition. To arrange this please contact our front office 250.386.5311.

Louise Rose

Louise Rose has been called a living Canadian treasure. She studied classical voice in Pennsylvania with John Duddy and Todd Duncan; pipe organ with Catharine Brooke Morgan; piano with Oscar Peterson; conducting with Leonard Bernstein and arranging with Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. Some of her independent studies have been with Carmen McRae, Ella Fitgerald and B.B. King. She has served as artist/mentor in residence at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA and at The Frank DeMiero and Soundsation Vocal Jazz Camps. Louise is a sought after vocal jazz ensemble clinician. She has played and sung with symphony orchestras in Canada (…)


Course Info

Westhills Cello Choir

This class will give adult cellists an opportunity to play choral works from around the world. The Westhills Cello Choir will learn arrangements in 2, 3 and 4 part harmony, allowing students to develop their listening skills, learn to blend with different musical lines, and learn how to create a unified sound as a cello […]

Returning Spring 2023

Silvina Samuel

Silvina Samuel was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. In 2008, Silvina moved Silvinato Maui and from 2008-2012 she was principle cellist of the Maui Pop’s Orchestra. She played with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Opera Theater on Oahu. She is a member of Cellano, with Lotus Dancer, pianist, performing annual recitals on Maui. Her acoustic rock collaboration with singer-songwriter, Jim Major, brought her to the stage opening for such bands as Santana, Mick Fleetwood & Island Rumours, Smashmouth, Train, Huey Lewis and Henry Kapono. While in Hawaii, Silvina recorded for a number of albums including Grammy nominated (…)


Course Info

Winds and Brass Youth Chamber Music Intensive

For motivated students keen to explore the world of chamber music, this program will group students together into small chamber groups based on age, instrumentation and ability. The groups will meet each week for five weeks followed by a final celebratory performance at the Winds & Brass Department Collage Concert. During the program, students will […]

Emily Nagelbach

Emily Nagelbach, Faculty Department Head, Winds and Brass, Conservatory School of Classical Music. Emily is second flute/piccolo with the Vancouver Island Symphony and principal flute of the Palm Court Orchestra. As a freelance musician, she has performed with many orchestras, including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Opera Victoria. Emily holds an AVCM from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), a B.Mus. in Performance and Theory from Wilfrid Laurier University and a M.Mus. in Performance from the University of British Columbia, studying with Amy Hamilton, Lorna McGhee and Camille Churchfield. As a teacher, Emily thoroughly enjoys teaching flute and piccolo to students of all ages and abilities. Her students are part of a vibrant and active studio, performing regularly in recital, masterclass, festivals, and exams. […]


Course Info