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:

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. She is currently accepting new students for the 2019-20 school year.

Tess Brown

Tess Brown (formerly Middleton) has been teaching Suzuki Piano in Edmonton since 1977. She has space for new students on Tuesdays & Wednesdays but does not teach on Saturdays. She studied Japanese pedagogy with Kataoka Sensei at many Institutes in the United States and Canada. 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 occasionally accompanies singers and cellists. She teaches near Century Park in the community of Ermineskine.

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.

He is a bit north of downtown Edmonton, and currently has very limited availability for the 2019-20 school year.

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 currently accepting students for the 2019-20 school year.

Phone 780.270.5493

Ruth Johnson

Ruth Johnson has been a teacher with the Edmonton Suzuki Piano School since 1979. Mrs. Clarice Moellering introduced her to the Suzuki method and Ruth received her first training through her. Ruth continued teacher training at several summer institutes with Dr. Haruko Kataoka and with Dr. Merlin Thompson at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta. Ruth has a Bachelor of Education (Music Major) from the University of Alberta. She also has her ARCT in piano performance.

Ruth is accepting new students - beginner to advanced.

Phone: 780-482-6516

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 at Suzuki Charter School and in the Commonwealth Stadium area. 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.

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!).

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 sung and accompanied 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 with Nicole Wilton, and Suzuki Early Childhood Education Stages One and Two with Wan Tsai Chen. Hillary teaches in Spruce Grove (M, W) and at SCS (Tuesday). She is accepting new students for Spruce Grove only.

When Hillary is not teaching, she enjoys watching her son 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.”

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 2019 session. My home studio is located in Riverdale.

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, traveling and quilting, She has a piano studio in Sherwood Park. 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 is not accepting new students at the moment.