Teachers

photo Maiya Robbie

  Maiya Robbie, Teacher and Centre Director of Little Tree Music Together, has been teaching music to children and adults for over 15 years as a private instructor in Guitar, Voice, and Songwriting/Creative Expression. In the winter of 2012, after researching early childhood music development, Maiya found the early childhood music and movement program, Music Together (http://musictogether.com/).  She swiftly became fascinated by all the program has to offer to little ones, parents and families, as well as communities.  As a firm believer in non-performance based teaching for under 5's , as well as the importance of positive, dynamic role modeling from parents, teachers and caregivers in musical development, Music Together was a perfect fit for her teaching goals.  And so... Little Tree Music Together was born!  Serving communities around the Okanagan Valley, Maiya's highest hope is that music making, a vital ingredient in early childhood development and family growth, will be more easily accessed by all.  Along with scheduled weekly classes in various towns and cities, Maiya is working to offer outreach programing in tandem with local not-for-profits dedicated to community development.  As of Fall 2018, Maiya will also offering her private lessons at the Penticton Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts at the Leir House in Penticton.

Musically: After receiving a Diploma of Music from Selkirk College,  Maiya spent time writing and perforoming her original music throughout BC and Western Canada.  In 2006 she joined and helped create the 'Talk Rock' band Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long.  Ten years later the band is going strong, performing to audiences around North America at venues such The Vogue in Vancouver and festivals such as the Vancouver Folk Fest and Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario, and Telluride in Colorado. Maiya is often touring in summer, with bands as well as on her own. This all helps her keep her feet warmed up for dancing with kids and families throughout the school year! 

     
photo Mia Harris

Mia has experienced and therefore deeply believes in the transformative, enriching power of music.  It is because of this that she wants to bring music into the lives of others.  Mia is excited to be a part of Little Tree Music Together and truly enjoys the immersion approach that is offered as so much can be learned while playfully exploring music in a community environment.  With much schooling and a background in performance she finds it healing and refreshing to have fun and be silly with young music makers. 

            Mia has earned a Bachelor of Music from UBC, an Artist Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of Music and an Opera Diploma from the University of Toronto.  Mia currently teaches private lessons and has a voice studio at the Penticton Academy of Music. 

            Mia has had performance engagements with Vancouver New Music, Opera Kelowna, Aura Chamber Choir(Vernon), Vivace Chorale(Kamloops), Burnaby Lyric Opera, Saskatoon Opera, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Opera in Concert (Toronto), Penticton Community Concerts, Opera VMana (Montreal) and the West Coast Symphony (Vancouver) where she sang Verdi's Requiem. Some of her favourite credits include Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, Jo in Little Women, Niklaus in Les Contes d'Hofmann, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in L'Enfant et les Sortileges among others.  Her favourite role thus far is Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos. 

            Recently, Mia wrote, directed, performed and produced a one woman opera entitled Biography of a Voice.  The piece was Mia's first foray into improvisation and told the story of the challenges we go through in finding our Authentic Voice. 

            She also appears singing with the Tavis Weir Group. 

     
photo Melissa Unruh

Melissa began teaching elementary school after completing her Education degree from the University of British Columbia in 2010. As a teacher, she has witnessed with amazement how children innately love and respond to music over and over again, which has inspired her to take the leap into musical education outside of her classroom. She is an avid musical apprentice, and she has taken up guitar and violin in recent years to expand her musical horizons and demonstrate her belief in the importance of life long learning. Melissa enjoys seeing the ways that singing together brings people closer together, and thinks making music is akin speaking a universal language. Giving the gift of music to others, parents especially, provides the motivation for Melissa to share songs so others may have a first hand experience of the ways music can transform the ways we experience our world. 

Melissa takes an approach to music that acknowledges that we all have the ability to be musical, and seeks to create and strengthen community through Music Together. As a teacher and facilitator of learning, Melissa understands and has a deep respect for the role of music in the process of learning. Through teaching Music Together, she would love to encourage adults and children alike to develop a relationship with singing by making it something we look forward to doing each week. When she is not teaching, you can find Melissa listening to music, writing songs, playing guitar, dancing, digging through piles of records at yard sales, and/or singing really loudly in her car because red lights are more fun when you're singing. And you'll never convince her otherwise. So go on, try it for yourself!

Melissa is looking forward to sharing music with families in the community and creating memorable experiences for children in the community with Music Together!

     
photo Sarah Dowler
 
Sarah Dowler has been teaching music history, theory, composition, and piano since 2009. She has her Level 7 Piano and Advanced Music History and Theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music and has spent the last two years playing for a community choir in West Kelowna. She is currently studying for her Bachelors of Education degree at the UBC Okanagan Campus in order to further develop her skills as a music educator. A self proclaimed “theory buff,” Sarah was looking for a music education program for young children that incorporated important basic music competence training that would prepare children for more in depth music education later in life. After researching many different options, Music Together stood out as a thoughtful, well researched and applied teaching curriculum that teaches a wide variety of music fundamentals in a fun and therapeutic way. Sarah loves the energy, bonding, and emotional intelligence Music Together classes offer in the classroom and at home. Sarah loves teaching music and considers it an honour to spend time helping parents and children learn and grow.