Meet Your Teacher

Melanie Poruchny

“Whoa! Look at her fingers!” was the first thing my Mother said when I was born. Yes, I have long fingers. You could say I was born to play the piano. Since I could move my digits I have been playing and learning all that I can about music and loving every minute.

I believe in music education. Not just playing notes on a page, but understanding how and why it is put together.

I believe that everyone learns in a different way and that true teachers are able to adapt their teaching methods to best serve the student.

I was not so lucky to have teachers like this. Instead of nurturing the skills that I naturally had, I was told not to use them and to just read the notes on the page. Well... that didn’t last very long.

I ended up filling in some of the musical gaps myself through my love of popular music. Who knew that Composition and Improvisation were going to be some of my favourite things to study…and don’t get me started on Theory! When I finally made sense of all the notation?!! LIGHTBULBS AND FIREWORKS!All these missing pieces were where the fun really started and when I truly could call myself a musician instead of someone who could just play notes on the page.

Proud achievements: 

I have my Full Yamaha Grade 5 and Grade 4 Fundamentals

I have been teaching for 15 years Yamaha Music Education and Royal Conservatory 

Am an authorized Yamaha Examiner 

I have Published a Children's book based on a song I wrote. It's called "Ode to my Sock" - ( you should check it out sometime!)

 Check it out HERE!!

Jillian Meyer

Jillian is a pianist, composer, teacher, and facilitator.  She recently completed her Masters of Music in Leadership from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK (2018).  She also holds a BMus in Piano Performance and Composition from the University of Victoria (2012).  Jillian has been teaching for 14 years, and has experience with the Yamaha Music Education System, Royal Conservatory of Music and ABRSM examination systems.  She teaches both group and private lessons, is a certified Yamaha examiner, and has successfully completed her Yamaha Grade 4 Piano and Grade 3 Fundamentals exams.  Jillian is a consultant for Yamaha Canada, training and giving support to new teachers. Jillian is passionate about music-making with people of all ages and levels.  She has worked in schools, hospitals, and other community settings and believes that creativity exists in everyone!  As a performer Jillian has given solo piano recitals, performed as a pianist, vocalist, and percussionist in various ensembles, and has performed in festivals and concerts throughout Canada and the UK.  Jillian’s compositions have also been performed in Canada and the UK.  Jillian teaches all styles of music as well as composition and music theory.  She is looking forward to combining everything she has learned and experienced throughout her career so far to create an invigorating and fun teaching practice at YaMusic!

Caitlin Jurak

I learned to read music the same year I learned to read words and have been “speaking” this beautiful language ever since! Music has been an enormous and enriching part of my life in every season, and I was blessed to have a family that always fostered my desire to learn. I worked hard to complete my RCM levels 1-10, as well as advanced rudiments and courses on Music and Art. I spent twenty-three years learning under incredible teachers who opened my eyes to different sides of this amazing art; from a teacher with her Masters in Piano Performance to one with his Masters in Jazz Piano. I spent countless hours playing “just because”, writing original compositions and learning piano pieces by ear. I have played in many community events and performing groups and have accompanied on piano most Sundays for my local church. I branched into other instruments that gave me an even greater appreciation for music: guitar, violin and voice.I always made time to keep furthering my experience with piano. Which leads me to my favourite role with this instrument: teaching it! When I was asked to take on my first beginner students (almost sixteen years ago), I had no idea that I would go on to have the most wonderful career and share this instrument with countless students. I am very excited to be part of the team at YaMusic! I love witnessing the magic that happens when a student meets and interacts with music in a new way each week. I appreciate seeing each student blossom in both their skills and their enjoyment of music, which I believe go hand in hand. My passion is to see every student love music more because of our time spent at the piano together, and carry what they learn with them beyond our lessons and into the rest of life!

 Claire Van Der Velden

I can not remember a time in my life where I was not playing the piano. From a young age the piano has been a source of joy and peace in my life. I started Piano lessons at the age of three, beginning with Music for Young Children, moving onto Yamaha and then eventually transitioning to the Royal Conservatory of Music program. Not only do I love piano, but I also love to sing. I have over 10 years in vocal training and experience. This has lead to singing and playing on many different church worship teams over the years and writing my own songs. I spent three years at Charis Bible College and in 2019 graduated with a diploma in Music/Worship arts. I am currently working towards my Grade 9 piano with the RCM, with hopes to complete the diploma program. Music has had a tremendous impact on my life, creating some of the most beautiful and special memories I have. As I step into teaching, my hope is to share the beauty of music with others and show how truly life changing it can be. 

Tian Li

Music is an imagination~

I was born from a musical family, and I started to learn the violin from four years old. As a solo and chamber musician, I have performed in HongKong, Macao, Mainland China, Poland, Russian, Canada, and the United States for classical music performance and the public concert. As an orchestra guest violinist, I have performed with many Chinese orchestras, such as the China National Opera House Symphony, the orchestra of China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, and China National Centre for the performing arts orchestra (NCPA orchestra), etc. As a music educator, I am patient and with a deep understanding of the differences between students. I have over eight years of experience in the music education field, and I have teaching experiences that are related to music examination (RCM, ABRSM, Trinity, etc.). My focus was on violin private and group lessons, and I taught Children’s enlightenment education course, music appreciation, music theory, and Ear training in the past. I am an enthusiastic person about music education, and I believe music did not only offer an interest for the child but also an extraordinary method to develop their thinking. I feel excited about my new teaching journey on the YAMAHA music examination, and I can't wait to share my musical experiences with you at YaMusic!

Valentina Benvenuti

Valentina began playing classical guitar at the age of 8 years old. She pursued her studies under the

direction of Maestro Ferrante Faedi and Maestro Pietro Antinori at the renowned Rossini

Conservatory in Pesaro, Italy. In 2016, she earned her Master Degree in Classical Guitar

Performance with full marks. Moreover, during her time at the Conservatory, she successfully

accomplished examinations in music theory, history of music, harmony, and chamber music.

Since the age of 16, Valentina has been performing as soloist, as well as in various ensembles like

guitar and violin duos, guitar quartet and orchestra. Valentina is an extremely motivated and

passionate guitar instructor with 10 years teaching experience. She teaches classical guitar, acoustic

guitar, and ukulele to students of all ages. Her students have successfully completed the RCM

examinations at any levels.