Music School Manager
Krishna has been part of our management team since 2011. Whether you're new to learning an instrument, or an intermediate seeking a group to play with, Krishna will likely be the first person you see or speak to at Russell Music Academy. From scheduling, billing, or even pushing your stuck car out of the snow. Krishna is happy to help!
Drum-set, Percussion, Piano, Guitar, and Band Teacher
Alex McFarlane is a graduate of the percussion program at the University of Ottawa. He received a bachelor of music in performance during which he performed as a featured soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra. Realising his love for the drum set, Alex began performing more frequently with the rock group Captain Firebutton. After leaving to become a member of Eppiphane, Alex performed at Cisco Ottawa Blues-fest. Alex now plays with Southbound Boots, a country/classic rock band.
Beverley McKiver is an Ottawa-based pianist, composer and teacher who frequently collaborates with singers, choirs and instrumentalists. Beverley completed a certificate in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Ottawa in 2019.
She has performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. Her “Odaabaanag” song cycle commissioned by Jumblies Theatre and Soundstreams in Toronto was performed at Toronto’s Harbourfront in November, 2019.
Beverley has a philosophy of life-long learning and continues her own classical and jazz piano studies. As a teacher, she brings her creativity and love of music to students of all ages.
Braun has been a member of the RMA team since 2015. Mainly influenced by Blues and Rock, Braun has a passion for sharing music, and teaching others. His warm and encouraging personality is particularly notable amongst his students. Another great passion of Braun's is strength training and personal fitness.
Guitar, Mandolin, Violin, Piano and Band Teacher
Jason Burns is a committed and fun instructor who works hard to bring creative elements to each lesson. With 12 years of practical music experience and 7 years of public performances. Jason brings solidreal world knowledge and imparts the skills he's learned over the years to his students. Specializing in Irish/Scottish styles on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, he also is well versed in rock and roll and popular music. Frequently, he can be seen performing with his Celtic band, The Windy Kilts. Currently, he is striving towards mastering the tin whistle and hopes to learn the bagpipes as well. Jason graduated from Carleton University in 2009 with an Honors Degree majoring in Anthropology (his second interest, next to music)
Piano, Organ, Guitar, and Voice Teacher
Kathleen Howard is an experienced musician and teacher. She is an Ontario Certified Teacher and an Ontario Registered Music Teacher, with over 20 years’ experience teaching music in schools and in her own studio. Currently, her students range in age from 5 to 83. She has performed as a vocal soloist in classical, light opera and musical theatre genres, played keyboards and sang lead with worship bands and a rock band, and performed with a folk quartet. Kathleen is Organist and Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church, Brockville, directs a Handbell Choir, and accompanies the Merrickville Children’s Choir.
Drum Kit, Percussion Instructor
Nate is an active member of the Ottawa music scene with over a decade of experience performing in multiple genres. As a teacher, Nate places a strong emphasis on technique and establishing a foundation from which students can grow and feel comfortable in numerous musical situations. He plays regularly as a session musician, with his progressive metal group The Aphelion as well as in Blues Rock band Crunchy Flower. Nate strives to instill in his students the same passion he has for playing, with personalized lessons tailored to how an individual student learns, practical advice from his own playing history, and dedicated instruction.
Voice, Piano, and Brass Teacher
Ottawa native singer, trombonist, composer, producer and arranger Steve Berndt is a professional musician. Steve has produced five albums of original music with his band The Jivewires and co-produced two more as a member of Rudeboy. Sideman credits include some of the best local artists in the Ottawa area as well as Detroit’s legendary The Funk Brothers.
Arranging credits include small ensemble jazz to big band charts as well as pop horn section work for many local Ottawa artists with The Jivewires Horn Section. Steve has also worked as a studio engineer and a musical director for Rogers Television.
Steve's wealth of experience and knowledge is great addition to the RMA team.
Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, and Theory Instructor
Sundar has played guitar for close to 30 years and has taught music technology (recording/production), music theory, and music history at the university level for ten years. His playing and compositional work have been performed at venues across Canada and the US and has been broadcast nationwide on CBC Radio 2. He has a PhD in Music Composition from University at Buffalo (State University of New York), an MA in Composition from York University and a BA in Music from Carleton University.
Sundar has been teaching guitar lessons over the past 20 years and enjoys working with students of all ages and at all levels. He is equally comfortable teaching classical, pop/rock, and folk/blues, as well as some jazz. In addition to his university teaching, Sundar has also taught private theory lessons to students at all levels and has successfully prepared students for Royal Conservatory theory exams as well as post-secondary auditions.
Guitar, Voice Instructor
VINCENT BISHOP is a singer-songwriter native of Vancouver where he lived a year and a half. He moved to Summerland for three years, a western town near Kelowna, after which he moved to Ottawa at the age of five. He developed an affinity and talent for composing complex yet well-balanced harmonies at a very early age. He has been singing in school choirs for eight years starting from late primary school until early university.
In June 2017, Vincent graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Music program at Carleton University. Throughout those four-year studies, he met nearly 20 fellow musicians that participated on his album. He took songwriting and composition courses taught by award-winning musicians Jesse Stewart, Ian Tamblyn and Giselle Minns. He was a finalist in the 2017 MusikOttawa contest. Vincent is currently recording his second album expected to be released in early 2019.
Bass, and Guitar Instructor
Born and raised in Romania, Liviu started playing bass at weddings and clubs at the age of 16. Since then, he has travelled the world, performing in the show bands of luxury cruise ships; playing bass for albums recorded in Romania, Spain and Canada; providing funky bass lines for TV shows, music videos and stages across Europe; and touring with superstar Elena Gheorghe.
Liviu's musical style is a combination of pop, funk and jazz in which he plays both bass and double bass. His biggest influence? "Just good music."
I am a professional with Over 20 years experience performing and studying music/drums. I have a degree in music studies. I'm Looking to play any style of music. (House, Hip-hop, Trip-hop, Dub, old Funk, R 'n B, Reggae, Rock, Classic rock, Hard rock, Blues, Jazz etc...) I have performed across Canada and in the United States; I have also played the stages of Canadian Music Week, North By Northeast, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Evolve Festival etc ...I've had the pleasure of opening for Digable Planets, Budos Band, Ka'NaaN, Metalwood and Dj Greyboy.
My influences are many, they include all syles of music: The Roots, Erykah Badu, The Cinematic Orchestra, The New Deal, Roni Size, Dj Shadow, James Brown, Primus, Pearl Jam, Miles Davis, Jeff Watts, Elvis etc...
Justus is a high school student who has been studying music for nine years. He has obtained his level 7 certification in piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music, his level 7 certification in music theory, and his level 3 certification in violin. He is also proficient in playing guitar. For the past two and a half years, he has led a children’s choir at a local church. Justus is also a qualified lifeguard, swimming instructor, and soccer referee. In his spare time, he enjoys computer programming and playing soccer.
Mary Bryton Nahwegahbow is a 19-year old aspiring First Nations singer, songwriter, and musician who has been teaching voice to young students at the Russell Music Academy since July 2020.
Mary is a graduate of the Vocal Arts Program at Canterbury High School in Ottawa and a current student in the Bachelor of Music Program at the DAN School of Drama & Music at Queen's University studying advanced music theory and vocal performance. She completed her Level 8 Voice and Music Theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music in the summer of 2020.
Mary is a recipient of a 2018 SOCAN Foundation and SiriusXM Young Canadian Songwriter Award and has performed the National Anthem in English, French and Anishnaawbemowin at Ottawa Senators games in honour of Reconciliation.
In 2019, Mary trained at NYU Steinhardt's in their intensive two-week Contemporary Vocal Workshop in New York where she completed intimate masterclasses and learned from luminaries in the Department of
Music and Performing Arts Professions and the music industry.
Piano, Guitar, Theory & History Instructor
For over 14 years, Kayla Droppo has studied classical, popular, and gospel repertoire for piano. She completed her Grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music examination in 2016, she hopes to soon complete her ARCT RCM piano examination. Kayla will be completing her Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University in July 2020 with a focus on music education and musicology/ethnomusicology. During her post-secondary studies, she studied under Thomas Davidson, assistant keyboard professor at both Queen’s and McGill University; in addition, she had the opportunity to study piano accompaniment with Dr. Adrienne Shannon. In her private studies, she mainly studied piano under Margaret Whisselle.
Kayla also plays guitar, ukulele, alto saxophone, recorder/tin whistle, and organ. Since 2018, she has worked as the organist for South Dundas Lutheran Community Church in Williamsburg, ON. She regularly performs for weddings, funerals, and fundraisers, and she volunteers as the musical director and the conductor for community plays for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare in Prescott, ON.
Her goal is to make piano lessons an accessible and enjoyable learning experience rather than a chore. Kayla’s approach tailors teaching to individuals through ear training, improvisation, sight reading, and rhythm “learning games”, while expanding their repertoire! Kayla is very excited to be joining Russell Music Academy as a piano and guitar teacher!