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ABOUT OUR

TEACHERS

At Tabone Academy of Music, our instructors are well-trained and inspiring musicians who share our passion for educating people through their own love of music. We understand that you need more than just a certain skill level to be considered an all-around talented musician. Our instructors will teach you more than just music theory, including but not limited to stage confidence, creativity, and songwriting! At Tabone Academy of Music, we believe it's important to engage your untapped potential by significantly elevating more than just your ability to read music. Whether you are beginner or advanced, you'll be in the hands of some of the most influential musicians in Hamilton and the GTA, and you can be confident that every lesson will contribute to unlocking your overall musical talent!

 

To learn more about our teachers, please refer to their individual bio's below.

OUR TEACHERS

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DAVID TABONE

Founder + Piano Instructor

David is an award-winning pianist from Hamilton, Ontario. He studied at The University of Western Ontario in the Music Education program. David had the unique opportunity of being the piano player under the direction of Phil Nimmons, outstanding Canadian Jazz Ambassador, in the UWO Jazz Orchestra. He majored in Music Education at The University of Toronto and has successfully been teaching music for over 30 years. He is the founder of the BR Xpression, an award-winning 250 contemporary vocal ensemble. He has a long list of achievements, including but not limited to winning the Directors Award for the HWCDSB and the Distinguished Service Award. He was a Nominee for the Prime Minister Award For Teaching Excellence and the Premiers Award for Teaching Excellence. David continues to change students lives through his passion + unique ability to elevate their talents.
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PAULA TESSARO

Vocal Instructor

Paula French (Tessaro) is a professional vocalist and vocal instructor. Paula has spent the better part of the past four decades in the music industry. As a founding member of the Juno nominated band Ray Lyell and The Storm, she has toured exclusively throughout Canada and the US. As well as lending her vocals to Top 40 hits, "Carry Me" and "Another Man's Gun," Paula has fronted bands throughout her entire career such as Tracy Kane, Ta-she, Powerhouse and The Paula Tessaro Band. Her musical passion has led her to teaching vocals for the past 30 years in private and studio settings. Currently, Paula enthusiastically entertains outside of Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes for seniors to spread some joy during the pandemic.
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KEATON TYE

Guitar/Piano/Vocal Instructor

Keaton Tye is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter based in Hamilton, Ontario with a passion for all genres. Be it rock, folk, jazz - any music is good music. He is a graduate of the jazz performance program at Mohawk College and is currently working toward his Bachelors of Music at McMaster. He is super excited to be joining the talented TAM teaching team as a piano, guitar, vocal and ukulele instructor...because what can't he do?!
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NIGEL STEWART

Drums/Piano Instructor

Nigel Stewart is a professional drummer based out of Hamilton, Ontario. He has been playing drums for twenty years, with over twelve years of live performance experience and six years of teaching experience. Before completing the Mohawk College Applied Music program in 2017 he was mostly self-taught, learning by ear. He strives to use both facets of his own learning experience when he teaches, aiming to give students a fundamental understanding of reading, but also developing the ear so they can continue to learn on their own. Over the years, Nigel has taught all skill levels ranging from beginner lessons, to students preparing to study jazz at a post-secondary level. In the past, Nigel has performed with Juno-award winning musicians, from jazz pianist Adrian Farrugia, to members of punk-rock outfit The Dirty Nil. He currently performs and records with emerging Hamilton-based rock trio Captain WildChild.
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LAILA ADRIANA

Piano/Vocal Instructor

Laila is a second-year student at McMaster University working towards a Bachelor’s of Music, with a major in piano. In high school, Laila was in both the concert band and the choir. Now, Laila also plays the tuba in the McMaster Concert Band. She enjoys creating music and has had the chance to work on and release a few original tracks with musicians that she connected with online during the pandemic. Laila is extremely excited to continue working on her passion while inspiring her own students through her teaching!
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ABIGAIL HENRY

Violin/Cello/Piano/Vocal Instructor

Abigail is a musician and performer based in Hamilton, Ontario. Since age 6 she has enjoyed performance arts, participating in choirs, orchestras, bands and theatre performances around the Greater Hamilton Area. Abigail has been teaching since 2018 and is incredibly grateful that she has the opportunity to share her love for music with her students. She has experience teaching students of all ages the violin, cello, piano, and voice. She is excited to be a member of the TAM faculty to help students reach their full potential.
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BEN XAMIN

Guitar Instructor

Ben has been playing the guitar for over 14 years. From a young age, music has been an extremely important part of his life. Ben has taught guitar lessons for the City of Hamilton for two years and currently writes his own music. Ben was a singer and guitarist for the Bishop Ryan Xpression for two years, where he
performed at various different prestigious events. Ben was the winner of two Maestro Awards from the Heritage Music Festival for Outstanding Solo Performance. Ben has experience as a guitar student himself, and therefore understands the wants and needs of his own students. In the future, Ben plans on releasing more original music onto Spotify, and ultimately, continuing to educate children about music and the guitar!
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KEVIN MAK

Piano Instructor

Kevin is a Hamilton-based pianist, composer, and teacher who studied at Mohawk College with some of Canada's great pianists such as Adrean Farrugia and Rob Fekete. Kevin started playing piano as a young child in church and now performs all around Ontario in different groups and styles from jazz, funk, salsa, pop and more. In 2020, he was the winner of the Dundas Valley Orchestra Composition Competition. He has a wide range of teaching experience including RCM classical repertoire, jazz & pop styles and theory/composition.
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LORRETTA HELWIG-FISCHER

Piano/Vocal/Violin Instructor

Lorretta holds degrees in both piano and voice, as well as a Master’s degree in Music Education.  She has taught private music lessons and music classes to students of all ages for over 25 years. Lorretta has vast experience in teaching, directing, and performing various musical styles from; jazz, contemporary, classical, musical theatre and opera. She is an active musician in the community and has recently performed in: West Side Story with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, FireHall Theatre’s “She Loves Me”, Jazz Trios, and Jazz Bands. She enjoys finding creative ways to help students of all backgrounds love the music they are playing. 
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JOSEPH TABONE

Guitar Instructor

Joseph grew up surrounded by music in the Tabone family. His creativity and expressive nature makes his playing style unique and musically impressive. Although he plays ukulele, electric guitar, and piano, his passion is for the acoustic guitar. His patience and gentle demeanor makes him a perfect instructor for beginner students of all ages. He is excited to work with his students and help them develop their own unique strengths within the world of music. 
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CHRISTIAN PULSONE

Piano Instructor

Christian is a pianist in Hamilton, Ontario, who began playing piano at the age of 7. Christian is enrolled in the Royal Conservatory of Music and has achieved “First Class Honours with Distinction” on many of his exams. He is currently completing level 10 of this highly acclaimed program dedicated to passionate pianists. Christian is also an active participant in music ensembles at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School, such as Celtic Fusion. Alongside academic and athletic endeavours, Christian is dedicated to spreading his love for music by teaching students of all ages, allowing them to also build an appreciation for music. Music has made a lasting and positive impact on Christian, and he is extremely excited to embark on a new musical journey with his students!
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LYDIA STEPHEN

Vocal/Guitar/Piano Instructor

Lydia is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter from Markham, ON.  Taking after her mother who is an extremely talented pianist, vocalist, and songwriter, Lydia spent the better part of her childhood in piano lessons, choirs, musicals, bands, and vocal classes. With experience in vocals, piano, flute, guitar, ukulele and more, she found her knack with songwriting and producing during lockdown in 2020.  Since then, she’s spent most of her weekends playing original solo sets all over the GTA in cafes, concert venues, bars and more.  
Living a life informed by music has made Lydia incredibly passionate.  Helping to develop a foundational, multi-faceted skillset for others through teaching is an immense privilege to her, a role she joyfully and enthusiastically carries out. 
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CRINA NITA

Piano Instructor

After receiving early piano instruction and many experiences performing at cafes and restaurants, Crina has made huge strides in her musical career/studies. Crina has participated in choir performances at various schools and art centers, as well as band performances. In the winter of 2022, Crina was the accompanist for her church’s annual Christmas concert, accompanying the choir and performing pieces. She is planning on pursuing a career as a teacher in addition to minoring in music in post-secondary studies. Crina has also been shadowing her current teacher, in addition to receiving mentorship and training for her own teaching. Currently, Crina is preparing for her Grade 9 RCM exam, with plans to finish the examination in the spring. Crina is eager to teach and inspire positivity in her students, and she hopes to help them find their passion in music just as she has.
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SEAN DEPLEDGE

Guitar/Piano Instructor

Sean is a versatile musician and dedicated educator with a passion for both traditional and electronic music. Graduating from Mohawk College's esteemed music program for bass guitar, Sean immersed himself in the world of Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Popular music. Refining his skills under the tutelage of renowned professors like Pat Collins and Bob Shields, further deepening his expertise in composition, counterpoint, tonal harmony, and improvisation. Complementing his formal education, Sean also received private instruction from renowned Toronto bassist/educator Will Jarvis.
Beyond academia, Sean's musical journey extends into the realm of electronic music, where he crafts dynamic and nostalgic soundscapes reminiscent of late 90s and early 2000s video game music. As an electronic music artist, Sean collaborates with fellow artists in the Greater Toronto Area, blending elements of drum and bass and IDM to create immersive sonic experiences. In addition to his solo endeavors, Sean is an integral member of the Jazz Punks trio, hosting open jam sessions to foster creativity and community among fellow musicians.
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TEODORA BURGUI

Piano Instructor

Teodora is a pianist from Hamilton, Ontario. She has been playing piano since she was seven years old and has received her Grade 8 Piano and Theory degrees from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Teodora grew up performing at her family’s church, as well as her high school’s music ensemble, participating in a variety of different music events. Being surrounded by music inspired Teodora to explore many other areas of music. She is also trained in playing the saxophone and has explored music production and songwriting. Alongside music, Teodora is also a student at McMaster University working towards her degree in Honours Life Science. She has experience working with young children from volunteering at Sunday school and community events. She enjoys being able to teach such a powerful skill and all the life lessons it can come with.
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MARY TABONE

Founder + Vocal Instructor

Mary is an active member of the Hamilton music community, acting as the HWCDSB's Arts Facilitator. She has sung as the lead vocalist in various bands and has been a catalyst in growing musical confidence in young students in the Greater Hamilton Area. Mary developed and grew the HWCDSB Junior Vocal Ensemble's from 70 students to over 300 in 2 years. Mary continues to teach music throughout her day to day life and acts as the Assistant Director to the BR Xpression Group.
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JESSICA PELLICCIOTTA

Vocal Instructor

Jessica Pellicciotta started singing from the day she was able to talk. Jessica heavily trained in musical theatre and pop, along with jazz and classical music. In 2015, she won the Maestro Award in Boston with the St. Thomas More All Star Jazz Band. She also placed first in 2017 at the Provincial Qualifiers for the Hamilton Music Festival for advanced musical theatre. In addition to singing, Jessica is also an actress holding an advanced diploma in theatre performance from George Brown College. She has taught drama in the past and was a vocalist on Thomas and Friends: All Engines Go! She starred in several musicals while she trained with Theatre Aquarius’ Summer Programme (which has now become Zamprogna Arts). She was also featured at TAM in A Night on Broadway. Jessica is also a registered early childhood educator and is passionate about helping her students be the best they can be and building confidence and joy in their craft!
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JESSIE BOWER

Vocal/Guitar Instructor

Jessie Bower is a singer/songwriter based in Hamilton Ontario. She is a recent graduate of the Humber College Bachelor of Music Program where she majored in Vocal. Jessie has been writing and performing her original music for over ten years. Currently, she performs with the successful country music duo “Jess and Tay,” who have performed at various music festivals such as “The Havelock Jamboree,” and “Boots and Hearts Music Festival.” The duo released their first EP “Bad Luck If You Don’t,” featuring their breakout single “Into Tomorrow,” written by Bower, to streaming platforms in 2019. The two have been nominated for Group or Duo of the year at the 2020 CMAO Awards.
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ALEX D'ALVES

Guitar Instructor

Having studied music at Mohawk College + McMaster University, Alex's passion is in contemporary, jazz, and blues styles. When he is not performing, Alex can be found in the classroom. Alex has his Bachelor of Education in Music from Western University and continues to strive towards inspiring more students to develop their musical talents.
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LOUISE CONCEPCION

Piano/Vocal Instructor

Louise began piano lessons when she was 6 years old and later, taught herself ukulele and guitar. Louise was involved in school choir as a child and was part of her Church's choir for majority of her upbringing. In high school,  Louise was a part of BR Xpression as a soloist and successfully travelled and competed. In her grade 12 year, Louise and friends started their own band "Tabitha," in which they came out with their very first single in 2019. Aside from musical extra curriculars, Louise taught piano throughout high school at the Ontario Conservatory of Music, now called the Hamilton Academy of Music and occasionally fills in for teachers when needed. Louise also enjoys writing her own music and collaborating with other talented musicians during various jam sessions.
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SAMANTHA SANTOS

Piano/Vocal Instructor

Samantha has had a passion for music since she was 7 years old and has been a featured soloist in vocal ensembles including the Junior BR Xpression and Senior BR Xpression as well as being a current member of the McMaster University Cantemus Choir. She’s currently attending McMaster University working towards a bachelor of music in jazz voice. Samantha has taken part in Bishop Ryan’s musical production of ‘Adventures Through Broadway’ in (2019) and Theatre Aquariuses musical production of ‘Joseph and the Technocolour dreamcoat’ in (2017). She is looking forward to teaching and learning with her students and can’t wait to share her love of music with others!
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MATT SOLIVERI

Drum Instructor

Matt Soliveri is a professional drummer and instructor based out of Hamilton Ontario. Matt’s journey as a drummer began nearly 20 years ago, playing in numerous local acts before studying Music at Mohawk College. After completing his music degree, he began performing and recording with some of Canada's top artists such as Alessia Cara, Jesse Labelle and Brian Melo. These experiences allowed him to perfect his craft as a session and live drummer. Since joining the award-winning alt-country/ roots-rock band The Redhill Valleys in 2017, Matt has continuously proven his expertise as a drummer, songwriter and performer. The knowledge and experience Matt has gained working in the Canadian music industry has funnelled into his 10-year span as a music instructor. Above all else, Matt has a never-ending passion for drumming as an art form which he hopes to pass onto future generations of drummers and musicians alike. 
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RYAN AHO

Guitar/Drums/Piano Instructor

Ryan knew he wanted to be involved with music ever since buying a Who CD at the local Zellers when he was young child. Through practical application and training at both Mohawk college and Humber, Ryan has developed a stylistic agility. Teaching not just theory and text, Ryan strives to engage each student individually at their own specific level. Outside of teaching, Ryan can be found getting creative, playing and writing on  different instruments for different bands and music projects. Ryan hopes to one day develop a music therapy program for senior citizens living in long term care homes. 
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GABE GIAMMARIA

Drums/Guitar/Piano/Vocal Teacher

Gabriel Giammaria is a multi instrumentalist from Hamilton, Ontario. He started drumming and singing at the age of 5 and has gone on to perform throughout Ontario, opening up for Canadian rock icon Kim Mitchell, and has also performed internationally with All McCartney Live on Celebrity Cruises. Gabriel has a Bachelor’s degree in music from Humber College in Toronto, and a certificate in drum performance from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, California. He is
currently endorsed by Los Cabos Drumsticks and Udrum Underground Drum Company.
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BILL MAJOROS

Guitar/Piano Instructor

Bill is a Canadian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who releases music under the name of The Foreign Films. Majoros has played hundreds of shows spanning North America and the UK. From legendary clubs such as the Cavern Club in Liverpool (of Beatles fame), CBGB’s in NYC, The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ)
1st Ave in Minneapolis (Prince, Purple Rain) to stadium shows and festivals supporting many well-known artists. Live support shows and recording dates include work with: Alanis Morissette, The Tragically Hip, Echo and the Bunnymen, Giles Martin (The Beatles production and remixes 2023) Daniel Lanois, Blue Rodeo, Jewel, 5440, Big Sugar, Robyn Hitchcock, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Sadies, Ron Sexsmith, Fountains of Wayne, Carl Jennings (Freedom Train, Andy Kim) Dave Rave (Teenage Head) Sarah Harmer, Universal Honey etc. Majoros has been nominated for and received prestigious music/arts awards like the Hamilton Arts Award album of the year and guitar player of the year. Bill has also composed for film and television (Psy Factor, Dan Aykroyd, Linda Blair of The Exorcist). Bill is excited to bring his 30 years of teaching experience to TAM!
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VIVIAN WU

Piano Instructor

Vivian is a pianist from Mississauga, Ontario who has been playing piano since the age of 5. She has multiple accreditations up until piano level 8 from the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) with First Class Honour’s with Distinction scores, as well as RCM theory from Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Rudiments. Vivian is also a self-taught guitarist, playing guitar and piano for her church band growing up and flute and alto saxophone for school bands. She was also a part of her school’s chamber choir and sang at multiple music festivals such as Kiwanis and Peel Music Festival and at venues such as Canada’s Wonderland and local retirement centres. As a recent graduate of McMaster University, Vivian holds an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in psychology, as well as a concurrent certificate of Applied Behavioural Analysis with a specialization in Autism from Mohawk College. She has experience working with children with special needs and can create suitable lesson plans adapting to each students’ strengths which offers a unique and effective learning experience. Vivian has a strong passion for music and is excited to spread her love of music to her students of all ages and experiences.
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SHARI DUNN

Vocal Instructor

Shari Dunn is a singer/songwriter based in Hamilton, Ontario and she has been a professional vocalist for over 30 years. Shari started doing music theatre in high school and continued for years doing cabarets and theatre productions. That led her to jazz and being the lead singer for the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band. She spent some time at the Humber College music program before getting a job performing on cruise ships and traveling around the world. Shari has written, recorded and performed her own music as well as recorded back ups for many other professional musicians. You can currently find Shari performing every weekend with her husband Jonny as a well-known soulful duo at various venues across the GTA and in Port Dover. She is also the vocalist for the new Hamilton All Star Jazz Band “After Hours”   Shari spent time teaching and writing music programs for the HWCDSB and is eager to get back to teaching and fostering a love of music. 
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JUN PARK

Violin/Cello/Piano Instructor

Jun is a versatile and dynamic violinist with over 15 years of experience, performing at numerous weddings, corporate events, restaurants, and concert stages throughout the Greater Toronto Area and abroad. Some of his performance highlights include a solo centre stage at Scotiabank Arena in front of a crowd of 20,000+ for We Day Toronto 2012, being featured as a soloist internationally in China and Europe as a member of the Ontario Youth Orchestra and the Canadian Sinfonietta Youth Orchestra, and more. As a teacher, he is a patient and kind educator that also encourages and pushes his students to play at their best. He believes that learning is best achieved with the right balance of fun, self-directed inquiry, disciplined work, and an environment which is nurturing, not harsh or critical.
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ISABELLA STOREY

Piano/Vocal/Guitar Instructor

Isabella Storey is a piano, vocal and guitar teacher from Hamilton, Ontario. She started her music education at 6 years old with piano which eventually led her to guitar, vocal and musical theory education. She is an accomplished singer/songwriter and actively enjoys working with other musicians! Isabella has studied the "Royal Conservatory of Music" piano, guitar, vocal, musical theory, and history programs. She also won 1st place in the Niagara Music Competition for both vocal and guitar. She has experience singing in the McMaster university women’s choir and is excited about teaching the next generation of musicians at Tabone Academy of Music!
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KELLY MARAIS

Vocal Instructor

Kelly Marais is a Hamilton-based vocalist originally from Cape Town, South Africa. Marais is a graduate of Mohawk College’s Applied Music Program and specializes in Contemporary Vocals. She has been studying and playing music for fourteen years and has picked up guitar and piano along the way. Throughout her time learning music, Marais has had the opportunity to perform and collaborate with many musicians and artists worldwide. Recently, she has focused more on teaching and working on music for an upcoming EP. Marais’ music incorporates styles and influences from a wide range of genres and eras. She focuses predominantly on using influences from the music she grew up listening to with splashes of rock, R&B, and pop. Her music strives to find a well-organized balance of old and new as she continues to find new ways to blend the music of her heritage and modern influences.  
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