Teachers & Staff


All of our teaching staff eat, sleep, and breathe all things music not just as music teachers but as performers, song-writers, recording artists, and session musicians, too! Whatever path you’re interested in taking, there’s no doubt that we can provide guidance for your journey. If you’re ready to start climbing the mountain with us, visit our registration page and fill out the form to get started.

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Andrew Halliwell

Owner & operator

Andrew has developed his career in music as a performer, producer, and film soundtrack composer, working with artists spanning from Carly Rae Jepsen to Wold Parade and composing the soundtracks to five feature films to date. Aside from his work in music, he's received awards as a film producer for the feature films Occupy: The Movie, a documentary about the protest movement, and Down River, which won the 2014 Leo Award for best motion picture. He's currently producing collaborations and developing a body of work under the name "A Life in Binary." You can hear his work at alifeinbinary.com or by clicking the little house icon below.

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    David Bamford

    Trumpet

    Born and raised in Nanaimo, David Bamford graduated from Vancouver Island University in 2015 with bachelor degrees in music and education. Since the completion of his studies, David has been active as a freelance musician across the island, performing frequently with groups such as Boomshack, Decadence, and the NMA Big Band, while also performing in multiple pit orchestras. An aspiring music educator, David is also active as a private teacher, working with local high school students in both individual and group settings.

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    Graham Villette

    Drums

    Graham has been playing drums for over ten years and working as a professional musician since the age of 15. His interest and passion for music first started at age 4 with Piano lessons, and soon lead to the drumset at age 11. Since then Villette has completed a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Studies at Vancouver Island University and continues to play, teach and learn. Villette leads several of his own projects and performs frequently with many west coast based groups. You can see Villette perform regularly in an array of bands with many different styles including Jazz, Funk, Brazilian, Reggae, and Rock.  
 Some groups to watch out for that Graham plays regularly with: 
 • The Graham Villette Trio/Quartet • Boomshack • The John Lee Trio • The Amelia Thomas Brazilian Quartet and • The NMA Big Band

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    Kendall Patrick

    Piano / Ukulele

    Kendall is thrilled to be teaching music at Tiger Mountain Studios. She has years of experience working with children, and loves that she is now combining that with her passion for music(Although she does love teaching students of all ages!). She is a professional singer/songwriter and has been releasing music since 2005. She has 7 years of Royal Conservatory training in classical piano and spent one year in the Jazz program at VIU. Kendall just released her 4th studio album, which you can find at Tiger Mountain!

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    Lena Birtwistle

    Piano

    Lena is a singer / songwriter who laughs a lot and loves inspiring / encouraging people and sharing anything / everything music-related. Also, martial arts and earl grey tea. She loves those things too. She began playing piano at the age of 5 and has completed her Grade 8 Royal Conservatory and a Diploma in Jazz (from VIU) for piano. After college she learned the guitar and began singing. She has been performing professionally for over 15 years. Lena has been teaching for 9 years and is very passionate about sharing tools and tips she’s learned in music and performance. She loves figuring out how to break through old doubts & fears to get to another level of music, life & creativity that is way more fun. She likes to work with her students to help them figure out what they want to get from music, and adapts her teaching style to meet the needs of each individual in a fun, playful, and engaging way. She loves helping students with reading music, music theory, technique, ear training, songwriting, performance, performing with emotion, memorization, good practice habits, working with other musicians, and sharing new music that she finds through friends, students & band mates. She has been involved in multiple music projects as well as pursuing her own solo project (Emerald Specks) and released her debut solo album (No Sound) in 2014. Other artists she’s worked / recorded / shared stages with include: The Adamantines, Sid Johnson, Allison Crowe, Kendall Patrick and the Headless Bettys, Ah, Venice, Rob Wilkinson, Redwood Green, Band of Rascals, Navo, WiL, Ryan McMahon.

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    Sarah Deno

    Violin / Trombone / Voice & Studio Manager

    Sarah Deno was born and raised Nanaimo, BC. She developed a love of music at an early age, learning to sing and play violin as a small child. As a teenager, she added the trombone to her repertoire as she became interested in Jazz music. This venture allowed her to travel with her music, and she is fortunate to have earned many awards and recognition for her pursuits as a young musician. Sarah continued her Music education into Post Secondary, earning her Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies from VIU in 2010. Having taught from her home studio until recently, Sarah is very excited to begin a new chapter working with Tiger Mountain! Sarah has extensive experience working with children and teens, both in professional and volunteer environments. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and love of music with new musicians. She loves working one on one with students, catering to each person's individual strengths and interests, and she would love to work with you!

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    Wylie Ferguson

    Guitar / Bass / Ukulele

    Wylie Ferguson is a guitarist and composer based in Nanaimo. He holds a diploma in jazz guitar performance and a bachelors degree in music composition from Capilano University. He has composed for various chamber music groups including the Turning Point Ensemble, Erato Ensemble, the Black Dog String Quartet, Microcosmos quartet, and the Yaletown quartet. In 2015 he travelled to Pavia, Italy and was a part of the Highscore Music Festival, where his work was performed by Quartetto Indaco. Aside from composing, Wylie has also performed in jazz, rock and metal bands actively for the last 10 years. His teaching style aims to make music fun and accessible for anyone (no matter their age or experience level), and to harbour a passion for music that students can build on for years to come. 

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