ESPS teachers provide lessons in their home studios in locations throughout Edmonton.  ESPS teachers are professional musicians and music educators who have undergone extensive training at universities and Suzuki institutes throughout North America. Our teachers bring many years of teaching and performing experience to share with ESPS students and have made a commitment to ongoing professional development.

Get to Know Our Teachers:

Heather Ball

Heather Ball is new to teaching the Suzuki approach. She has studied piano since the age of eight and continued that journey by earning her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Augustana in 1997. Heather is inspired by her own children's journey through the Suzuki method. She has valued not just the skill progression but the caring and encouraging nature of the Suzuki method.

Heather earned Suzuki Teacher Training Level 1 in Calgary in 2018 and continues to study and improve her pedagogy. She obtained her Grade 10 Royal Conservatory on 2019 and is working towards her ARCT.

As a church musician Heather has studied organ as well as piano. In 2018 Heather was awarded the Royal Canadian College of Organists Burt Mulder Scholarship. She also enjoys conducting her church choir and composing for liturgical use. Heather’s studio is located in North Edmonton. She is currently accepting beginner students.

Melanie Bodnar

Melanie Bodnar grew up near St. Paul, Alberta. Her love of piano began as a student with the Suzuki method at the age of 7, and in 2004 Melanie obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Lethbridge. She also holds a Bachelor of Education degree (Elementary Specialization) from The King’s University College in Edmonton. Melanie's studio is located in her home near Stony Plain, in Parkland County and is full for the 2020-2021 school year.

Tess Brown

Tess Brown (formerly Middleton) has been teaching Suzuki Piano in Edmonton since 1977. She studied Japanese pedagogy with Dr. Haruko Kataoka at ten different Institutes in the United States and Canada. She has completed Volumes 1-6 Teacher Training at SAA sanctioned Institutes. Her classical training includes an Associate of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alberta. Tess enjoys accompanying the Trinity United Church choir and also accompanies singers and cellists. She teaches in her home near South Edmonton common. She is accepting new students in September 2021.

Tim Eckert

Tim Eckert started teaching Suzuki Piano in 1996. He has taken Suzuki training courses with with teachers Peggy Swingle, Haruko Kataoka, Susan Magnusson, Dorothy Jones, Nehama Patkin, Carole Bigler, Caroline Fraser, Gail Lange, and Merlin Thompson at institutes in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Califonia, and Colorado.

He has also been teaching piano group classes at Suzuki Charter School in Edmonton since 1998, where he is also the Artistic Director. He has an ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta.

You may see him at the Yardbird Suite, the Folk Fest, Chamber Music Festival, and Winspear concerts of all kinds, once live music starts again!

He is a bit north of downtown Edmonton, and currently expects very little availability for the 2021-22 school year. He is teaching both online and in person (most people are having their lessons online).

Brad Heintzman

Brad Heintzman first discovered his love of music at the age of five when he started taking piano lessons. This was further developed as he joined the family brass band which grew in numbers to seven as the younger siblings took their place on 2nd cornet. In high school Brad branched out starting to learn guitar and drums while continuing to play lead trumpet in stage band. His piano studies include Grade Ten at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and a double major in composition and jazz piano performance at Grant MacEwan College studying with the likes of Charles Austin and Tommy Banks. Brad has completed his Book One Suzuki teacher training with Jane Kutscher Reed at Calgary’s Mount Royal College.

In the last 20 years Brad has taught piano, musical theatre classes and voice at The Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Musical Theatre, Victoria School and privately. His performance experience includes being the musical director with several community theatre groups such as Festival Place Players, Two One Way Tickets to Broadway, Edmonton Musical Theatre and ELOPE. Brad has served as the regular featured weekend entertainer at the Crowne Plaza’s La Ronde Rooftop Revolving Restaurant. He plays in numerous party bands and jazz ensembles performing throughout western Canada. Brad is a ballet rehearsal pianist and has worked with such companies as Alberta Ballet, Shelley’s Dance and Edmonton Dance Center. He also lends a hand writing arrangements and is the director of the worship team at church.

Brad’s two children are currently in their fourth year studying piano in the Suzuki program. He has also taught them cornet and along with his wife Barbara have formed a family band. They enjoy entertaining at church, retirement homes and community centers. Brad also volunteers as a co-leader of a youth brass band. Other interests include hockey, coaching his son’s soccer team and assisting his wife’s business “Photography by Barbara”.

Phone: 780-465-4521

Heather Hindman

Heather Hindman is a pianist, teacher and award-winning Canadian composer. She holds a Master of Music degree from McGill University and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alberta, and also studied Jazz Piano at Grant MacEwan. She is a member of the Canadian and Alberta music teachers associations and the Canadian League of Composers. She has a special interest in contemporary and Canadian music and has served on the board of advisors for New Music Edmonton. Ms. Hindman currently maintains a busy studio in south Edmonton (Lendrum area), and has been teaching traditional piano for over 20 years. She joined the Suzuki community in 2014 and has completed Book 1, 2 and 3 training as well as many teacher-development courses and workshops. When not teaching or composing, Heather enjoys spending time with her family and young son, swimming, gardening and practicing yoga. She is not currently accepting students.

Phone 780.270.5493

Regine Maier

Regine Maier grew up playing violin and piano in a big musical family in Germany.
She studied music for 7 years at universities in Frankfurt, Salzburg (Mozarteum) and Basel (graduate studies), focusing on violin performance and teaching, obtaining two degrees. After working three years full-time with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt, she joined the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra as a casual violinist. From 2009-2016 she was the concertmistress of the Concordia Symphony Orchestra.
Her teenage daughter attended Suzuki Charter School and graduated from Book 7 of the Suzuki piano repertoire in May 2016. Regine learned a lot by observing the piano lessons for 12 years, and by helping her daughter with her piano practice at home.
Teacher training courses completed include Every Child Can, Violin Book 1, Piano Book 1 (Jane Reed), Book 2 (Merlin Thompson), Book 3 (Nicole Wilton), Book 6 (Gail Lange), Suzuki Principles in Action, and a Dalcroze course.
Regine teaches in person at Suzuki Charter School and in the Commonwealth Stadium area; online lessons are an option as well. She is accepting new students.
Look out for Regine in the River Valley, where she loves to walk, cross-country ski and take pictures.

Phone: 780-471-5170

Rhonda McEachen

Rhonda McEachen grew up in rural Southwestern Ontario and started piano lessons at age 6. She was a Suzuki piano student and also attained her Grade 10 Piano through the Royal Conservatory. She received her Bachelor of Music Education in 1998 and her Bachelor of Education in 1999, both from the University of Western Ontario. Rhonda regularly plays music at church and directs the Southwest Seniors Outreach Choir. She enjoys curling, playing hockey and sports of all kinds.
Rhonda has completed Teacher Training in Volumes 1-4 as well as the Suzuki Principles in Action Course. She is the Teacher Representative on the ESPS Board.

Rhonda teaches in the south-central neighbourhood of Lansdowne.
For the 2020/2021 year, I am offering both in-person and online lessons.

Phone: 780-989-1984

Gail Olmstead

Gail Olmstead started piano lessons when she was 7 years old studying RCM repertoire and eventually played piano in her high school jazz band. She continued her musical studies at the University of Alberta receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in classical music and then attended Grant MacEwan College to attain her Diploma of Music in jazz studies. Afterwards, she taught traditional piano lessons for about 25 years and now teaches Suzuki piano from her home in King Edward Park.

She has freelanced either as a collaborative pianist or director in musical theatre, classical and jazz choirs, vocal and flute recitals and has composed for vocal and dance groups. She presently plays in the vocal jazz ensemble, All(most) Jazz.

Gail completed her Books 1-6 teacher training with Rae Kate Shen, Gail Lange and Annette Lee. Besides music, Gail enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains and walking her two cats (with limited success!).

Gail teaches in the southeast neighbourhood of King Edward Park and will be teaching in-person and online for 2020/21.

Phone: 780.435.6453

Hillary Paul

Hillary Paul began studying piano when she was four years old in an early childhood music class in Grande Prairie. She studied Suzuki piano, eventually obtaining her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT) in Piano Performance. While attending the University of Alberta for a B.Sc. (Hons) in Neuroscience, she taught piano to several students.

Hillary enjoyed playing flute for her Junior and Senior High School Wind Ensemble, and playing jazz keyboard in the Jazz Ensemble in Grade 12, both of which attended National Band Festival as well as travelled to Europe on tour. She also took voice lessons and sing and accompanies in her church’s choir.

Hillary enjoys having the opportunity to work with families in developing their children musically and more importantly, helping them grow into beautiful and virtuous people.

Hillary has completed her Suzuki Book One training with Gail Lange, Book Two and Three with Nicole Wilton, and Suzuki Early Childhood Education Stages One and Two with Wan Tsai Chen. Hillary teaches in Spruce Grove. She is accepting new students. For Fall 2020, lessons are beginning virtually with hopes to transition to in-person lessons.

When Hillary is not teaching, she enjoys watching her children grow, taking her dog for walks, and spending time with her family.

Alla Rekhson

Alla Rekhson studied music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the music college of Gomel, Belarus, and her Master of Music degree in the Russian State Conservatory. After graduating in 1986, she taught piano at the Gomel music college, the Israel Conservatory and the Suzuki Music Academy in Houston, Texas. She received her Suzuki teacher training in Houston from Dr. Doris Herrel, a teacher trainer of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She upgraded her Suzuki teaching level each year while living in Houston and began teaching with the method in 1998.

“I got my inspiration towards the Suzuki teaching method from Dr. Herrel. Based on my studying and practising multiple methods of teaching in different countries, I believe that the Suzuki teaching method is the best way to introduce the youngest to the world of music.”
I have a piano studio in Terwilliger Towne area. For 2020/2021 year I am offering both online and in-person lessons.

Joyce Sipsas

I have been teaching piano and theory for the past 30 years both in Vancouver and Edmonton. My Suzuki training began in 2006 (in Edmonton, Waterloo and Chicago) and I have been teaching Suzuki piano since then. As a child I went through the Royal Conservatory of Music programme succesfully completing all the piano requirements including Grade 10 and all the theory, history, harmony and analysis co-requisites. I hold a piano teaching certificate from the London College of Music in Thames University as well as a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts degrees from the University of British Columbia. In addition to teaching piano and theory I have been a high school teacher since 1992. I am passionate about teaching children and am accepting new registrations for the Fall 2020 session. My home studio is located in Riverdale. I am currently offering online lessons and hoping to also offer in -person lessons again soon.

Nancy Thornhill

Nancy Thornhill first started teaching Suzuki Piano in 1979 after attending a summer workshop at Queens University. In 1980, she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Degree from the University of Ottawa and a Performance Degree in Trombone from the Quebec Conservatory of Music. She then moved to Edmonton and started teaching with ESPS. She had the privilege of attending several workshops with Mrs. Kataoka and has under gone teacher training at institutes in Chicago, Calgary, Idaho and Edmonton with many distinguished teachers.

From 1996 to 2008, she lived in Dubai in the Middle East where she taught music full time at an international school and where she established a flourishing private practice teaching piano. Her hobbies include playing trombone and piano in various groups at church and community, travelling and quilting, She has a piano studio in Sherwood Park and is teaching in person as well as online ;essons. She is currently not accepting new students.

Eleanor Tsui

Eleanor Tsui attained Grade 10 piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music and received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Calgary. She regularly attends workshops, masterclasses, and Suzuki summer institutes, with the experience with Dr. Haruka Kataoka in Sacramento, CA being the most memorable. She has also completed the first-ever online Suzuki Piano Pedagogy course, with Merlin Thompson.

With over 15 years of teaching experience, Eleanor has had the privilege of working with students from age 3 to adult throughout their musical journey. She always finds it fascinating as she witnesses each one developing into a sensitive musician with remarkable abilities. Together with the parent and the student, rewarding learning experience at the piano is cultivated.

In addition to teaching, Eleanor plays at weddings, accompanies soloists, and plays piano and bass guitar for her church. She also enjoys arranging music, reading, baking and spending time with her family.

“My goal is to empower each student, develop the whole person, and that every heart be blessed with music”.

Eleanor's studio is at the neighborhood of Ambleside/Windermere, SW part of Edmonton. She offers both in-person and online piano lessons. She is not accepting new students at the moment.