Our Teachers

Sandi Melody

Teacher, Voice, Piano & Performance Specialist
Sandi is the founder of Harmony House and creator of the HH Contemporary Music Program. She graduated from the VCC Contemporary Music Program in 1992 with a double major in voice and piano then moved on to the Capilano University Jazz Studies program for vocal performance. In 1996 she performed her graduation recital at Cap receiving top marks and bringing her teachers to tears.

While studying at VCC and Cap U it was very clear that there wasn’t an organized training system in the lower mainland that was set up to help musicians excel the same way organized sport did, and that’s when the seed for Harmony House sprouted. Sandi envisioned a community music school that focused solely on skill development for performance. A school where anyone that wanted to learn was allowed in. She believes that music is a skill that anyone can learn if given the right circumstances, and so she set about creating a safe haven for would be musicians to come and get their feet wet and see where it took them.

From the age of 5 Sandi had been a serious competitive swimmer, attaining National Standing between 1978 – 1983, For 12 years she lived the concept of training for performance. She recognized the value of her long term commitment to skill development and loved the idea of applying that philosophy to music, a skill that can last a lifetime! She created the Harmony House Program to mirror her swim training and performance experiences, in hopes it would provide musicians with the same strong foundation for personal growth and healthy self esteem gained through positive learning experiences.

In organized sport players don’t just learn how to kick a ball or shoot a basket, there is a big focus on “leadership” and “teamwork”. Sandi recognized that the same things could apply to music education and set out to give those same opportunities to the artists in the crowd. She advocates that like music, leadership is not something you’re born with but something that can be learned and acquired through practice and experience.

Sandi is passionate about health and volunteers at The Canadian Mental Health Association, she loves to travel, ski and practice yoga,

Jeremy Vallance

Director/Teacher, Clarinet, Voice, Piano, B.Mus., B.Ed. University of Manitoba 1991
Jeremy Vallance joins us from Winnipeg where he earned his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba. For more than 25 years Jeremy has worked producing community television, teaching music to young children, high school band and to adult community choirs where he has delighted choristers and audiences with his high energy and enthusiasm for spreading the joy of singing.

Jeremy is passionate about helping others to discover their voice, building confidence to overcome their fears and find excitement in expression their ideas.

Teun Schut

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele Specialist, B.Mus, M.Mus, Holland
Teun Schut was born in Holland in 1960, and began playing the guitar when he was eight years old. As a teenager he played in various rock, and blues bands.  In 1980 he started studying jazz guitar at the Arnhem University, where he studied with Onno Kelk and Jean Marc Bouyeure.  After receiving his masters degree he toured intensively in Holland, France and Germany in various ensembles.

Most notable; his own Teun Schut quartet (contemperary jazz), Dwergwerpen (jazz/fusion) and KKKeng! (jazz/R&B)

In 2000 he moved to Canada, where he has been teaching guitar, and playing around BC as a free lancer, as well as with his jazz trio (with Buff Allen on drums and Rene Worst on bass) and his guitar duo (with fellow guitarist John Stiver), the Schut/Kozak Quartet (with Wayne Kozak on sax, Laurence Mollerup on bass, and Buff Allen on drums), and with singer Sandi Melody (‘Tune and Melody’).

Keith Sinclair

Guitar, Bass Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Keith Sinclair has been making music since the earliest years of his life. He is a founding member, singer, songwriter, and guitarist of local rock band No Island and a graduate of the Capilano University Jazz Studies Degree program. 

Enjoying a busy musical life, he has performed with many local indie rock artists such as Sadie Campbell and Sister Says and important eclectic ensembles in Vancouver including world renowned Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Capilano University’s NiteCap, the Impressions Big Band and many local jazz, blues and rock groups. His performance history includes gigs in many of Vancouver’s best venues as well as tours of Canada, U.S.A, Scotland, England, Bosnia, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.  A recipient of the MusiCounts Fred Sheratt Award for outstanding post-secondary graduates of Canadian music programs, 

Keith also spends his time as a clinician and private guitar instructor.

James Huumo

Piano, Bass Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
For over 20 years, James has been tickling the ivories and captivating audiences by bringing his virtuosic style to a broad range of musical projects. Earning a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies in 2014, he has been a busy performer, composer and music educator in Vancouver for many years. His jubilant approach to piano and composing are highly influenced by Herbie Hancock and Robert Glasper.

Kria Wall

Vocal Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Kria Wall is a vocalist, piano player, and composer from the Sunshine Coast. She has received a diploma and bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Capilano University, where she had the privilege of studying vocal performance and composition privately with musicians Steve Maddock, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, Mary Jo Bischoff, and Bill Coon. She was also involved in the university’s prestigious ensembles NiteCap, directed by Rejean Marois, and Narwhal, directed by Jared Burrows.

Kria has been teaching privately for four years and thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge with students in order to support their musical endeavours. She is a passionate educator in all styles of singing and playing, and focuses on introducing theory and musicality to any genre. She currently is a performer and composer in Vancouver’s jazz scene. As a bandleader, composer, and vocalist, she performs with her own project of combining traditional jazz and modern story-telling, Spindle! In addition to this, she composes for the big band project Vancouver Young Composer’s Ensemble, and performs in the jazz duo Woods/Wall.

Karen White

Vocal Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Karen White started playing piano at age 4 and has been performing as a vocalist in either choirs, musical theatre productions or as a soloist since she was 8.  She holds a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Jazz Voice from Capilano University where she studied performance, composition and arranging.  It was there that she discovered her love for choir and vocal harmony while performing in the school’s prestigious ensembles NiteCap, directed by Rejean Marois and Narwhal, directed by Jared Burrows.

Karen now performs regularly as a jazz and contemporary vocalist in various projects in the Vancouver area. She is the lead vocalist and songwriter in her blues/neo-soul band SoulFood, and a member of the indie folk-rock band Fake Cascade in which she creates and performs background vocals and vocal harmony.

Karen has been teaching in a wide variety of styles to a diverse group of people from all ages and experience levels. She loves to share her knowledge and experience with students looking to expand their musical abilities, and works to foster a safe and creative environment for students to explore their passion for music

Andrew Wilson

Drum, Piano and Vocal Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Andrew has been studying music from a very young age, starting with the piano when he was 5 years old. He began singing and taking voice lessons when he was 12 and has since been singing in churches and choirs. Moving from the Okanagan in 2011 to study the drums, Andrew graduated from Capilano University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz.

Andrew has been performing and recording with his rock band Sleepcircle which released their album From The Heavens, Through The Window in May 2019. He also plays in a alternative/indie folk group called Fake Cascade and is currently Music Director at St. Andrew’s United Church in North Vancouver.

Jamison Ko

Drum Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Jamison was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.  There he began his musical journey at the age of 10, taking drum lessons at a local music shop.  Since then, music has been the greatest pursuit in his life.  He has been performing live since he was 15 and as well as teaching.  He has played in numerous bands with varying genres including rock, r&b, country, jazz, hip hop, metal, pop, latin, and more.  After graduating high school Jamison began his formal education in music.  He first completed a diploma in jazz studies and Mount Royal University, and then went on to finish his Bachelors of music at Capilano University.  Jamison is still actively gigging around town playing in various pop, r&b, and jazz groups.  He continues to practice and grow as a musician and an educator.

Assel Zakarina

Vocal and Piano Specialist, B.Mus. Capilano University
Assel is a Vancouver based vocalist, piano and trumpet player. She has obtained a diploma and bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Capilano University, as well as a diploma from the Institute of contemporary music performance in London, UK. She is passionate about the art of improvisation, performance, arranging and composition, and has been performing since the age of 5, including performances at international festivals and competitions in Italy, Bulgaria and Slovakia. She now performs regularly as a jazz vocalist around Vancouver.

Assel is passionate about sharing her love for music as a voice and piano teacher. She focuses on encouraging her students to explore their musicality with confidence and enjoyment, while gaining technical skills and theoretical knowledge they need to find and express their own unique voice.