As a supportive, faith-based organization, New West Music Academy (NWMA) is designed to prepare musicians of all ages for an appreciation of all genres of music, for personal enrichment and for service to their community.

Are you ready to be challenged and inspired?  New West Music Academy (NWMA) offers lessons in voice, piano, drums, guitar, ukulele, wind and string instruments by qualified and experienced teachers.   We offer lessons to those interested in a variety of genres, including classical, jazz, pop and musical theatre. New West Music Academy welcomes all learners: whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned performer, young or “not-so-young”, our teaching team is excited to work alongside you to help you reach your goals in a FUN, personal environment.

It’s a New Year… the perfect time to start something new!

New West Music Academy has openings for new students, so whether it’s flute, voice, tuba or trumpet… reach out TODAY to get started!

Why New West Music Academy?  There are SO MANY reasons…

“My violin lessons were so enjoyable!  My teacher was patient and helped me understand why different techniques worked!”

“New West Music Academy was such a welcoming environment!  My daughter’s voice teacher was so great at encouraging her to keep with it, and was direct in her advise so my daughter knew how to improve.  I highly recommend NWMA!”

“My son really connected with his drum teacher at NWMA.  Communication was professional, and it was obvious the teacher put a lot of planning into helping my son improve week after week.”

“My teenage son, out of the blue, decided to take up guitar… HE LOVES his lessons and has developed so much skill in such a short period of time.”

“My theory teacher has always pushed me to do my best, and has always answered my many questions with enthusiasm.”

“I can’t say enough about NWMA! In the years my daughter has taken piano lessons, her teacher has been fun, encouraging and connected with my daughter’s unique learning style.  Amazing!”

We’d love to hear from you!  Email us at

For more information about New West Music Academy, or to register for lessons, please email or call 403-300-0931.

New West Music Academy places an emphasis on the values of faithfulness, discipline, diligence, and excellence.

The teachers of NWMA value living with Christ-like behavior, and strive to be fun and inspiring to their students.  They uphold honesty and respect, and hope that their students will thrive for years to come.

The NWMA is based on three foundations:

  1. To train musicians in the art of playing their chosen instrument and to enable them to use their skills in a solo or group setting.
  2. Through the process of learning to master a difficult instrument, every student ultimately comes to discover and stretch their own limits, not simply as musicians, but as human beings.
  3. Through the vehicle of a beautiful and challenging instrument, NWMA teachers endeavour to guide each student toward a profound sense of ability and empowerment.

New West Music Academy Teachers

  • Desiree Arthur – piano, voice
  • Daniel Chen – piano, violin
  • Jean Francois Cotnoir – tuba, low brass
  • Colin Fritzke – drums
  • Lisa Graham – flute
  • Kiyo Yokoyama Larose – piano/accompaniment
  • Rachel MacDonald – cello
  • Joanne Sampson – clarinet, theory
  • Melissa Schroeder – violin
  • Kim Szabo – voice, piano, piano/vocal accompaniment (jazz, pop, musical theatre)
  • Stephane Swinton – guitar, ukulele
  • Joel Warren – trumpet, guitars

Meet our Music Academy Teachers

Desirée Arthur (piano and voice) has a Bachelor Degree in Music from Rocky Mountain College, majoring in voice and minoring in piano. Her musical career didn’t start in college, but – in fact – when she was 2 years old. She has been performing her whole life from singing in church, playing cello in the orchestra to singing on stage at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.  Desiree currently sings at Centre Street Church on several worship teams, and she has been blessed to have been singing with New West Symphony & Chorus since its inception in 2010!

She has been taught by renowned teachers Donna Faye Carr (Voice), Patrice Barnes (Voice), Colleen Roller (Piano) and Edwin Gnandt (Piano). Desiree has had the opportunity to sing with various people and artists, including Paul Brandt, Raylene Scarrott, Tenore (a male trio), Johnny Summers, and in a backup choir for Michael W. Smith at Carnegie Hall (NYC).

She loves her music students and always has a full studio with students returning year after year. She not only teaches a love of music, but she instills confidence and love of self into her students. She takes their learning seriously, pushes them when they need it, and shows compassion when life throws things at them.

Daniel Chen (piano and violin) believes that music is the sole thing that is capable of portraying feelings that words can only attempt to bring to life. He loves to teach the piano, as it was in learning this instrument where he first developed his deep love and respect for music, and wants to share this with others, regardless of where they are at on their music education journey.

As a New West Music Academy teacher, Daniel feels fortunate to be part of a teaching studio that champions his passion for teaching piano within an educational environment that has intentionally created an exciting and welcoming space for those looking to test the musical waters or hone their already-developing skills.

With nearly 15 years of piano background, 4 years of teaching piano to students of all ages, and having attained his RCM Piano Level 10 scoring Honours with Distinction in 2019, Daniel is well-equipped with the qualifications and expertise to provide a high-level learning experience to students at New West Music Academy.

Jean Francois Cotnoir (low brass) has been a low brass clinician for 35 years throughout Alberta.  He is an experienced and passionate musician with a deep-rooted commitment to nurturing students’ musical talents.  He earned his Bachelor of Music degree and his Masters of Arts in Tuba Performance from McGill University, and was awarded 1st Prize with Distinction for Solo Chamber Music and Orchestra at Conservatoire de Montréal.

Having played tuba professionally in orchestras, ensembles and brass quintets throughout Canada and beyond, JF is thrilled to be sharing his skills and passion for the tuba with New West Music Academy students.   Whether they are just starting out or have been playing for years, NWMA students of JF’s will no doubt be both inspired and challenged at every turn.

Jean Francois’ years-long career as a musician includes playing tuba with Calgary-based Foothills Brass and Alberta Winds and being a member of the Trois Riviere Symphony in Québec.  JF has also had the privilege of working with the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic, a professional orchestra in South Africa.

In his own words, JF is “dedicated to sharing my knowledge and passion for music with students of all ages.”  He loves that at New West Music Academy, he can seamlessly incorporate his faith and his God-given talent into his individualized music lessons.  We are thrilled to have Jean Francois join our faith-based music community.

Colin Fritzke (drums) has been playing drums for over 35 years. As a teenager, he was an active participant in his school band program where he played in Symphony Orchestra, Marching Band, Big Band and Jazz Ensembles. His passion and desire to learn earned him a scholarship to attend summer band camp in his first year of high school.  While attending Providence College in Winnipeg, Colin took masterclasses with several artists, developing his craft in the context of worship and contemporary Christian music.

After moving to Saskatchewan to take technical training, Colin began his drum teaching career.  He taught several drum students in churches, and even ran clinics that included the unique challenges of being a drummer within a church setting.

Colin moved to Calgary in 2001 and became an active volunteer drummer in Centre Street Church’s Worship & Arts program where he continues to serve today. Colin has also worked professionally as drummer for many years, playing gigs all over Calgary and Southern Alberta. He devotes much of his spare time studying the best drummers in the world and considers himself to be a life-long student of his instrument.

Lisa Graham (flute) is a classically trained flutist and seasoned educator with over 20 years of musical expertise. For over a decade, she has orchestrated the musical growth of individuals in private and group lessons as well as igniting inspiration in band clinics.  Driven by exploration, she constantly curates fresh repertoire, unearthing forgotten gems and introducing emerging local composers. This dedication sparks curiosity and inspiration in students and audiences alike.

Lisa’s performances range from intimate street busking to commanding formal concert halls as a soloist and as part of various ensembles including Calgary Chamber Flutes (flutes), Duo Incantato (flute and guitar), and more. One pinnacle moment was delivering a Science and Music program in Portugal, unraveling the harmonies between two seemingly disparate worlds with three other musicians/engineers. Lisa has numerous recordings to her name including music she has written as well as performing and recording with local Celtic punk band The Shillelaghs. She also works with musicians from around the globe as a session musician.

As a teacher, Lisa aims to be a catalyst for creativity and passion. Empowering students to explore their musical potential independently, she fosters a life-long love for music and learning in an inclusive environment.

Kiyo Yokoyama Larose (piano and piano accompaniment) has been playing piano since she was a child.  Kiyo was born and raised in Sapporo, Japan, and her music lessons began at age 5 through the Yamaha Music Program.  After graduation, Kiyo moved to the United States to further her music education.  She has a Bachelor of Music degree from Utah Sate University and earned her Masters Degree in Organ Performance from Arizona State University.

Kiyo has served as an accompanist for university choirs, community choirs and churches in Hawaii, Utah, Arizona and Japan.  Since moving to Calgary in 2006, she has been an active member of our local music scene, including playing for Storybook Theatre as a rehearsal accompanist and as a show pianist.  She has also had the privilege of sharing her musical skills at churches and supporting fellow musicians at auditions.

In addition to being an trained and experienced musician, Kiyo is also a seasoned piano and organ teacher.  She is excited to join New West Music Academy as a piano teacher and very much looks forward to sharing her love of music with students of all ages.

Rachel MacDonald (cello) completed her Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance at Ambrose University. A former student of the Mount Royal University Music Academy, Rachel has had the opportunity to perform for and study under some of North America’s most renowned musicians. One of Rachel’s favourite passions is playing chamber music. She has played in many chamber groups and currently performs with two string quartets as well as a string trio, Priddis Strings with her siblings.

Rachel  has enjoyed teaching cello for the past 8 years to students of all ages and levels. She appreciates the opportunity to help students discover their potential and express themselves through music.  Rachel is dedicated to helping New West Music Academy students use their passion for music to grow and challenge themselves in other aspects of their lives.

Joanne Sampson (clarinet, online theory) has been a music educator for over 30 years.  She completed her undergraduate musical training (B.Mus. Honours) at McGill University, Québec, and has a B.Ed. degree from the University of Western Ontario, and M.A. degree from Gonzaga University in Washington. She has studied clarinet with Victor Sawa (conductor Regina Symphony, retired), Emilio Iacurto and Michael Dumouchel (Montreal Symphony Orchestra), and Sherman Friedland (Concordia University). Joanne studied conducting in the Masters program at the University of Calgary with Dr. Jeremy Brown.

Joanne has performed professionally with the Thunder Bay Symphony and Youville Quintet (Montreal). Now retired from the school system, Joanne continues to perform (clarinet major, woodwind doubler) in numerous chamber, orchestral, and wind band ensembles, and conducts community musical theatre productions for different local theatre companies. Joanne is the clarinetist with the New West Symphony and Chorus and has been since its inception in 2010. In addition to operating her music studio, she is a sessional instructor at Mount Royal University (Calgary, Alberta) and clinician for educational institutions in the Calgary area.

Clarinet students not only benefit from Joanne’s breadth of training and impeccable musicianship, they are sure to appreciate her kind-hearted spirit.

Melissa Schroeder (violin) completed her Bachelor of Arts degree on the violin at Ambrose University under the tutelage of Joan Barrett. Melissa grew up in the Mount Royal University Conservatory Performing Arts Program and completed many Royal Conservatory of Music exams.  One of Melissa’s greatest passions is playing in various community orchestras throughout Calgary, including the Centre Street Church Orchestra, New West Symphony & Chorus, and CORE Orchestra.  She has also enjoyed performing with her siblings in the Priddis Strings Trio and the Ambrose String Quartet.

Melissa has loved teaching violin for the past five years and aims to inspire in her students a love for music and a desire for continued learning.  Melissa incorporates a holistic approach to teaching and believes that the things that we learn through music should be transferable to other areas of our lives.

Kim Szabo (voice, piano, piano vocal accompaniment in jazz, pop, musical theatre: 11 years and up) is a seasoned professional musician with a teaching, performance and recording resume that spans over 35 years and the globe. Born and raised in Canada, she started by honing her skills through initial classical training, followed by studies at Grant MacEwan Music Program in Jazz and Popular music, specializing in composition, which plays to her love of music theory and harmony! Growing up in Edmonton, Kim’s “after school job” for 10 years was teaching the neighbourhood children piano and voice following the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. 

In 1989, Kim’s talent took her overseas for a number of years, including Japan and Europe.  Her resume as a musician is vast, and includes performing as a solo artist, establishing a jazz trios, as well as playing as a guest artist with various touring pop, jazz and funk groups.

By 2003, she was teaching at and eventually led the Jazz Vocal Program at Frankfurt Musikwerkstadt (State Academy for Jazz and Popular Music). She instructed students in vocal Jazz technique and improvisation, preparing them to challenge national exams for a Degree in Jazz Pedagogue. Included in her duties was chair member of the adjudication team for these exams. During this time in Germany, Kim continued to professionally tour and perform, appearing with her Jazz and Gospel projects. She continued her private vocal studies and analysis of the human voice with Coleman Freeman, professional operatic tenor, in Mannheim, and with Mike Schoenmehl, professional jazz pianist and published composer in Frankfurt.

Since returning to Canada, Kim has introduced herself to Calgary audiences. She performs regularly, as a solo, duo and with her own trio and quartet, in both jazz and contemporary music.  She is currently the vocalist for both Fox Big Band and Summit Big Band, and the Kim Szabo Trio has a monthly residency at Alvin’s Jazz Club in Calgary.

Kim is excited to share her her passion, experience and talent with New West Music Academy voice and/or piano students focusing on jazz, popular, and musical theatre genres.  Additionally, with her years of experience as a vocalist/pianist, Kim also teaches students who wish to develop skills in “piano vocal accompaniment”, specifically teaching people who want to learn to sing while accompanying themselves on the piano.

Stephane Swinton (guitar and ukulele) has a specific goal as a NWMA music teacher: to encourage his students to have fun so they WANT to continue with music.

Stephane started playing guitar when he was 16 years old, just hanging out with his friends in youth group, finding joy as they played and sang their favorite songs together.  What started as a hobby has grown into a passion; he has been intentionally developing his skills as a guitarist since 2010.  He started with the bass guitar, then learned both acoustic and electric guitars.

He can be seen regularly on stage at Centre Street Church playing on a worship team, shares his talent as a member of New West Symphony & Chorus, and is a guitarist for the Calgary-based band Hope’s Creed.

To further develop his skills, Stephane has participated in numerous music workshops, most notably: Electric Guitar Tone and Gear, Band Leading, Band Presence and Worship Leading.  He is also grateful to have taken  lessons from fellow guitarists he respects and admires, including Cory Bitner, Ralf Buschmeyer, and Jonathan Lagore.

Not only does Stephane bring with him a tremendous amount of skill and passion to his role as an NWMA music teacher, he also brings an enthusiasm for building a strong community within our team.

When asked, “What draws you to music?” Stephane responded: “How it can explain (and manipulate!) your mood and your emotions.”

Joel Warren (trumpet and guitars) is one of Calgary’s up and coming musicians. Native to Calgary, he has been playing guitar since the age of 4, trumpet since the age of 12, and composing since the age of 16. Joel has had the opportunity to study with trumpet greats such as Jim Murray, Al Muirhead, and André Wickenheiser. He is currently working towards completing a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance at Ambrose University.

Joel is known for his unique blend of range, tonality, and soloing ability in his playing. His achievements of being the lead trumpet in the JazzYYC lab band, the solo trumpet in the Ambrose Jazz Band, and playing in theatre pit orchestras attest to his skill and talent as a musician. Joel has also had the opportunity to play with performers such as Jens Lindemann, Pat Belliveau, Jeff Antoniuk, Tyler Hornby, and Keith O’Rourke.

Joel is passionate about sharing the joy of music with others. He believes that music is something that all people should have access to. He is excited to teach students at New West Music Academy and share his love of music with them.