Faculty Biographies

Cheryl Finn, ARCT, BA, RMT

Cheryl Finn, Semiahmoo Academy of Music in White Rock/South SurreyDirector
Piano, Rudiments, History
Member of the College of Examiners
Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music

Cheryl began teaching piano & music theory 30 years ago in Vancouver. In 1999 she moved to White Rock and has maintained a busy private studio ever since specializing in piano, theory and music history. Over the years, many of her students have won scholarships and awards including Silver Medals (now called Gold Medals) from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest marks of the year in BC in 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2012 & 2013. Cheryl is an RCM Certified Specialist in both Piano and Theory for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

She is also the creator & co-author of The Perfection Ear CD series published by the Frederick Harris Music Company, and the Beanstalk’s Basics for Piano Lesson books, Technique books and Performance books and the author of the Beanstalk’s Basic for Piano Theory books, published by Hal Leonard. She has also written several single pieces published as sheet music by The Willis Music Company. As an active clinician, she has given workshops throughout the USA & Canada. She is a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association and a frequent festival adjudicator.

 

Tatiana Khvatova, B. Mus., M. Mus.

Tatiana, music instructor for piano in White Rock / South SurreyPiano, Rudiments

Tatiana began teaching piano in Moscow over 20 years ago after having obtained her Master’s Degree in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Russian Academy of Music.

Before immigrating to Canada, Tatiana taught piano at The Gnessins Music School, one of the most prestigious music schools in Russia. In addition to teaching piano she also performed as a soloist with several philharmonic orchestras and was an accompanist at concerts and competitions in several of the great music halls in Moscow.

Since her arrival in Canada she has continued her active musical life teaching piano and playing at concerts in the greater Vancouver area. In 2010 she participated in a recording project for a new piano examination series for British Columbia Conservatory of Music. She continues to collaborate with Baritone Cliff Ridley. Together, they have recorded numerous art songs by Vancouver composer Christopher Ludwig.

Tatiana speaks fluent Russian and English.

 

Saya Ejima, ARCT, LBCM, B. Mus., M. Mus.

Piano, Rudiments

Saya grew up in North Delta, BC. She began taking piano lessons at the age of 6 and completed both her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music and her Licentiate Diploma in Performance from the British Columbia Conservatory of Music.

Saya attended the University of Victoria where she completed both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Piano Performance as well as her Teacher’s Training at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She has also performed as an accompanist and has served as a musicianship assistant administering keyboard proficiency tests to students.

Saya began teaching piano 13 years ago and is a Registered Music Teacher with the South Fraser Branch. Saya prepares students for all levels of the RCM curriculum and is always upbeat and patient with her students. In addition to her native English, Saya also speaks fluent Japanese.

 

Karen Mofakham, ARCT, RMT

piano, rudiments and piano pedagogy instructorPiano, Rudiments, Pedagogy

Karen began teaching piano 28 years ago. A native of Port Coquitlam, she began her studies with Florence Graham followed by Edward Parker.

She was a member of the Coquitlam/Maple Ridge Registered Music Teachers’ Association before moving to Richmond in 1990. From 1992-2002 she taught at the Richmond Community Music School specializing in beginners and younger students, preparing them for recitals, special events and Royal Conservatory of Music examinations and often obtaining the highest marks in Richmond. Karen also enjoys preparing future piano teachers for their Pedagogy Certificate exams.

Since 1990 she has been an active member of the Richmond Registered Music Teachers’ Association holding various volunteer positions, most recently that of Treasurer. Karen is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and enjoys working with students of all ages.

 

Sophia Tan, ARCT, BA, RMT

piano and music history class teacher in South SurreyPiano, Rudiments, Harmony, History, Preschool Music Classes – Mozart & Me

Sophia Tan was born and raised in Vancouver, BC and began learning to play the piano at the age of 4. She received her ARCT in Piano Performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music and also her Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University. Sophia began teaching 27 years ago and since that time has had many students achieve high marks in RCM examinations including a Silver Medalist who achieved the highest mark in BC in 1998. Sophia has been a member of the BCRMTA since 2005. In addition to teaching private piano, she also teaches rudiments, harmony and history and is often asked to accompany violinists at their examinations. Sophia also teaches the very popular preschool music program Mozart & Me.

 

Kimberly Kang, B.Mus., RMT

Piano, Rudiments

Kimberley Kang began her piano lessons at age 5 with her mother who was a piano teacher. Throughout grade school, she performed in many concerts and won a variety of music festivals and competitions. While is high school she studied piano with Professor Eugene Skovorodnikov a member of the UBC piano faculty. After obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria in Piano Performance she moved to New York to continue her music studies at the Julliard school of Music.

She is an experienced piano teacher who has taught for over 13 years. She has prepared many students successfully for RCM examinations and local festivals and competitions. As a piano teacher her goal is to expand each student’s love for and appreciation of music.

Kimberley is fluent in both English & Korean.

 

Beverley Johnson, GTCL. LTCL, RMT

piano rudiments and counterpoint instructor in white rock areaPiano, Electronic Keyboard, Rudiments & Counterpoint, Analysis

Beverley began teaching piano over 30 years ago after having received her music degree in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music in London. She taught for several years in Plymouth, UK preparing students for Associated Board, Trinity College and London College exams. During that time she also ran the Trinity College exam centre for 6 years, taught electronic keyboard at several public schools and was a member of the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir.

Since moving to BC in 1997 she has become an active member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association and has spent the last several years successfully preparing students for festivals, recitals and Royal Conservatory of Music exams. Beverley very much enjoys working with students of all ages and levels and is very creative & enthusiastic.

 

Elizabeth McKee, ARCT, B.Mus, M.Mus

Piano, Rudiments

Elizabeth began piano lessons at the age of 6 with her grandmother and went on to complete her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory achieving first class honours. During this time, Elizabeth received top awards in competitions throughout the Fraser Valley such as the Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival and the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association Music Festival.

Following graduation from secondary school, Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria and her Master of Music degree from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Throughout her musical education, Elizabeth has learned from and performed for top musicians and teachers from around the world.

Elizabeth teaches students of all ages, levels and abilities and successfully prepares those working towards RCM examinations. She excels at providing enjoyable and motivating lessons which encourages students to reach their full musical potential.

 

Lillian Liu, ARCT, B.Mus., M.Mus.

Lillian_piano_instructorPiano, Violin, Rudiments

Lillian Liu obtained her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Royal College of Music in London under Prof. Nigel Clayton, and has obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from The University of British Columbia under Dr. Corey Hamm, and her ARCT in Piano Performance with Distinction under Lorraine Ambrose from the Vancouver Academy of Music and Connie Shih. Lillian also received her ARCT in Violin Performance having studied with Patricia Shih, Anne Shih, Taras Goabora and Nikita Progrbnoy and performed in the orchestra at UBC and The Royal College of Music – performing both live and in studio.

Lillian is also an enthusiastic collaborative pianist and violinist in a wide array of genres – from performing in traditional orchestral and chamber music settings to performing in solo and ensemble concerts in many places including Vancouver, Iceland, and in Western Europe. Lillian’s musical philosophy stems from her belief that teaching music is more than just providing strong technical roots. It is also breathing life and musicality into playing – along with an understanding of musical context – that makes it a wholesome, fun, and a rewarding experience for young, developing musicians. Lillian is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese, and is a recipient of the Mildred Johnson Scholarship in Music from UBC.

 

Jinmei Huang, B.Mus., M.Mus.

Piano

Jinmei Huang is a classical pianist and music educator who was born in China. She was awarded First Place at the ‘XinMiaoBei’ piano competition at the age of 6 and First Prize in the Beethoven Sonata Competition at the age of 10. Later she won the Excellent Performance award at the National Professional Academy Piano Invitational Tournament in China in 2004 as well as the Steinway & Son’s Education Partner Prize in 2015.

She obtained her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the China Conservatory of Music and her Master’s of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. With a decade of teaching experience, she has taught at the Peking University Academy of Opera and at Piano School of NYC in New York.

Jinmei focuses on both the appreciation and practice of music and the overall impact of musical education on an individual’s personal development. Her piano teaching style for younger students merges features from both the Suzuki program and the Montessori philosophy to develop musical potential and intellectual capacity.

Jinmei is fluent in English, Mandarin & Korean.

Susan Cosco, B.Mus

Violin

Susan Cosco, a native of Vancouver, completed her studies at the University of Toronto in violin performance with David Zafer. Her mentors have included Rivka Golani, Joseph Pepper and Nancy DiNovo. Susan’s career was launched with The Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra, The Hamilton Philharmonic and The Canadian Opera Company. She remained in the East until 2005 as an active freelancer and teacher, with performance repertoire that includes symphonic, opera, choral music, musicals, small ensembles and new music. As a teacher she has taught for the Toronto Board of Education, Douglas Community College Suzuki Program and privately. She has performed with The Charlottetown Festival Orchestra for six seasons, along with a North American Tour as the violinist for Fiddler on The Roof and four tours of China with The Mantovani Orchestra. Susan has been teaching for over 20 years

Josh Pitre, B.Mus., M.Mus.

Guitar, Bass teacher for lessons in South Surrey / White RockGuitar, Bass, Ukulele

Josh grew up in White Rock, BC. He completed both his Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees at UBC where he majored in Guitar Performance. His principle teachers were Don Hlus and Michael Strutt.

Josh has been teaching for over 10 years and has successfully prepared many students for their RCM exams. In 2009 one of his students received a Silver Medal for having the highest mark in BC for their Royal Conservatory Guitar exam. Josh teaches a variety of styles ranging from Classical to Rock and Pop. He also teaches Bass.