REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for our Winter 2023 Lessons!

The New West Music Academy (NWMA) offers lessons in voice, piano, drums, guitar, clarinet, ukulele, flute and violin by qualified, experienced teachers who are passionate about music education.

NWMA Mission Statement:

The 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.

NWMA Vision Statement:

To equip new and mature musicians to use music for the glory of God.

To get more information about the 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.


  • Desiree Arthur – piano and voice
  • Nicole Warren – piano and voice
  • Robin Ideström – voice
  • Gideon Choi – piano
  • Gaetan Rouette – flute and piano
  • Colin Fritzke – drums
  • Melissa MacDonald – violin
  • Stephane Swinton – guitar
  • Joanne Sampson – clarinet

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.

Gideon Choi (piano) has over 10 years of piano teaching experience, and 8 years of experience as a school teacher – teaching math, science and band.  He received a Piano Performer’s ARCT in 1997 (with Distinction) and a jazz piano performance Diploma of Music in 2009 (with Distinction).  He is a Registered Music Teacher (RMT) and member of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association (ARMTA).

Gideon’s piano playing is characterized by a beautifully controlled tone, along with a highly creative and engaging arrangement style.  Gideon is known for being friendly, caring, and encouraging.

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.

Robin Ideström (voice)  is a singer and pianist who desires to bring the music she sings and plays to LIFE, and and it’s her goal to help others do the same. Robin has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Azusa Pacific University. She is recipient of the Birgit Nilsson Scholarship in Voice, and received her Master’s Degree in Classical Voice from the Manhattan School of Music, studying under the renowned Joan Patenaude-Yarnell.

Robin has taught voice for nearly 30 years, and approaches a student new to voice with the same care and respect as she does with a formally trained student who is taking lessons with a desire to further develop their skills.  Robin believes that “making music ought to be real, unique, creative, free, and from the heart.”  She is not about perfection, but passion.  She works hard to find music that her students are able to connect to and will bring them out of their comfort zones.  She loves giving those she teaches the tools they need to get out of their own way, taking them to places they did not know were possible, while finding joy in the process!

Robin has performed in a variety of genres throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and has been featured on a number of recordings.  A multi-faceted music educator, Robin has also taught piano to students over the years.

Melissa MacDonald (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.

Gaetan Rouette (flute and piano) holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres. He brings over 18 years of teaching experience to students at New West Music Academy.  His passion and commitment are to help his students succeed in achieving their goals. Many of his students have excelled in exams and festivals and also won at provincial and national competitions.

Gaetan believes that every student needs an individual approach that is suited to their personality. Although Gaetan has considerable experience training students for exams and competitions, he enjoys, just as much, teaching students who just want to learn for their own pleasure. He is always happy to help anyone in exploring the art of music in addition to mastering specific skills.

Joanne Sampson (clarinet) 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.

Nicole Warren (piano and voice) grew up playing Royal Conservatory and received her Grade 10 RCM in piano the summer of 2008. Throughout her time in her hometown, Nicole could be seen singing and playing piano in church, and gigging with her high school rock band.

Nicole went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Contemporary Voice from Rocky Mountain College in 2012.  She furthered her education by participating in the Cowtown Opera Summer Academy, La Bella Vita Arts in Italy, and performing with New West Symphony & Chorus.

As a musician dedicated to ongoing growth, Nicole is a life-long learner.  As such, Nicole as received vocal coaching from Brian Farrell and NWMA’s vocal instructor Robin Ideström.  Nicole has also taken piano pedagogy classes to continue to build her skills and knowledge.

Nicole has been teaching students since the fall of 2012. She loves the community of NWMA, and finds her time with her students extremely rewarding.