Starting serious violin study with Derek Aird in Niagara Falls, John then moved on to pursue music study at Syracuse University where he was also occasional section Vln I with Syracuse Symphony. While in Syracuse, John studied violin with Louis Krasner and Heifetz pupil Elizabeth Matesky, and was quartet-coached by the Julliard quartet on a weekly basis. Returning to Canada to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto John became involved with the Toronto freelance and back-up recording scene along with occasional performances as section Vln I with the Toronto Chamber Players. He also made frequent trips to the St. Catharines area where he was a regular Vln I member of the St. Catharines Symphony.
A Suzuki teacher since 1977 in the Sudbury area at Cambrian College, John’s fulltime teaching schedule saw him giving lessons to close to 60 students per week. This also included weekly trips to the Manitoulin area where he had set up and maintained a successful Suzuki teaching program on the Island. John’s major American Suzuki summer pedagogical influences at Wisconsin ; Ithaca; Ann Arbor included bk I-IV (Metro/Mary Kozak, Margery Aber, Lorraine Fink, Pat Hermann, John Kendall, Doris Preucil, Rhonda Cole), & bk V-VIII (Tom Wermuth, Kay Slone, Carol Smith, Jeff Hoff and Phyllis Young).
His days at the University of Western in London, where he received an Honours Mus Bac & Specialist in Music Education; & subsequent Bachelor of Education were also spent teaching vln privately and performing with Orchestra London as section Vln I. Main vln teachers in London at UWO Faculty included Robert Skelton and Yuri Mazurkevich and Univ orchestra/ chamber coaching by Simon Streatfield, Ralph Aldrich. John was also invited to perform monthly concerts with the Univ of Western faculty ensemble which was a real treat.
In 1983 John moved to Ottawa from London to accept a position as a teacher of Music [String specialist] at the new Arts program of Canterbury High School where many local Suzuki string students have since chosen to attend for their high school years. John’s active music schedule in addition to full time teaching responsibilities at Canterbury included performing vln with various professional freelance opportunities within the Ottawa area; conducting a Youth Orchestra for the National Capital Music Academy, joining the Hull Chamber Orchestra as a founding Vln I member for monthly concerts, joining the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra as section Vln I, and soon becoming part of the faculty of the newly-formed National Capital Suzuki School of Music in 1984.
Never one to turn down musical opportunities, John while at Canterbury In 2002 was offered and jumped at the chance to co-pioneer and lead the interaction with major national and worldwide video-conferencing networking music sites using advanced MUSIC GRID technology [then-state of the art] Part of his responsibilities included teaching violin online to northern isolated native students using Suzuki-based instruction with the students. It was very effective and proved to be a huge success. This new online networking technology which now is commonplace internet everywhere, pioneered the way for the potential increase and demand for internet technology in the Ottawa school systems and John was very pleased to have taken part in its inception.
In 2003-2004 John was named the recipient of the Arts Recognition Award for Secondary Music by the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Ten years later In May 2013, John was also nominated as a finalist and became one of the recipients of the coveted National Capital Educator’s Awards – a real honour for him to be recognized by his students and his colleagues. Two years later in Oct 2015 John was awarded the new Ottawa-based Marjorie Loughrey Lifetime Achievement in Arts award for his service within the OCDSB music world.
After 32 yrs as a CHS Music teacher, John officially retired as the last original Arts Staff hired in 1983 from Canterbury High School musical scene at the end of June 2015. He now continues to freelance on violin in the Ottawa region while also maintaining an active role as a sought-after private violin/viola teacher. He is especially grateful and very pleased to have mentored and subsequently passed on his school strings baton to Janice Mah – who is also a current Suzuki school faculty. John’s many years of string training have also helped tremendously with one of his musical passions which he still continues with to this day – that of arranging and writing both technical exercises and repertoire for advanced strings.
Speaking of passing up the baton – John was also the original Musical Director for the Greely Players Community Musical Productions since it’s inception in 1990 until this past year 2018. His ongoing passion for conducting musicals was evident in the continued success of every show that was presented in the community. The annual GP pit orchestra was originally made up in the past by talented music students from Canterbury. John idea was to chose students for the pit since it gave them the opportunity to potentially apply for and receive an annual GP financial scholarship for post-secondary study – which many of them did. The last recent two GP productions in particular saw the overall level pushed to even higher new musical heights and John is pleased to have been part in the setting of the new musical standard as its Music Director.
John currently continues to teach private students in his studio located in the Hallville (Mountain) area. Interested students may contact him for potential availability of lessons.