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Private lessons at the Community Music School (CMS) are a chance for students to pursue their individual musical and artistic goals in a weekly one-on-one setting with an experienced CMS coach. Each coach is an accomplished musician and instrumentalist, committed to helping each student reach the next step in their musical development. Coaches create a bespoke curriculum that fits the learning style and musical experience level of each student.

Private lessons are offered for all ages and musical experience levels, across a range of instruments and vocals. Students can take multiple private lessons across more than one instrument/vocals or start a new instrument/vocals altogether! From children’s first steps learning an instrument to senior students looking to expand their knowledge of advanced harmony, CMS private lesson coaches are here to help each student unlock their full potential!

The weekly private lesson time can be used to focus on any area of a student’s musical development: instrumental technique, improvisation, ensemble repertoire, jazz theory, jazz harmony, composition, post-secondary music program auditions, etc.


“Master your instrument, master the music, then forget all that and just play.”
-Charlie Parker

Meet the Private Lessons Coaches

Headshot of Hannah Barstow

Hannah Barstow

Portfolio Website

Hannah Barstow (b. 1994) is a pianist, vocalist and composer in the Toronto music scene. As a performer, she is firmly rooted in the tradition of jazz and is strongly influenced by the classic trios and quartets... of Shirley Horn, Ahmad Jamal and Blossom Dearie. As a composer, her jazz, classical, pop and Latin music influences come through. She composes and arranges tunes for a range of ensemble sizes from trios to women's choirs and big bands. Hannah has an ARCT in piano performance (Royal Conservatory of Music), a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance on piano from the University of Toronto (U of T) and a master’s degree in Jazz Performance on piano from U of T. She is an alumna of Community Music School and happily returned in 2019 to teach. She is also a sessional lecturer at U of T. Hannah has performed with a number of renowned artists including Emilie Claire Barlow, Kris Davis, Mike Murley, Steve Wallace, Pat Collins, the Brian Barlow Big Band, the Greg Runions Big Band with the Kingston Symphony, and she was featured as a guest arranger and performer with the Kingston women's choir She Sings. In November of 2018, she performed on a short tour in Santiago and Viña del Mar, Chile, with Mike Murley. Hannah has released three jazz EPs: Hannah Barstow Trio, as well as Christmas for Two and Snow with Toronto jazz vocalist Kalya Ramu. She will release her first full-length album, Beneath, in the summer of 2021. Read More .

Headshot of David French

David French

David French has played with several artists including Louis Simão, Dan Fortin, Michael Davidson, Fabio Ragnelli, Harley Card, Allison Au, Aline Homzy, Morgan Childs, Jon Maharaj, Devon... Henderson, Joshua Van Tassel, Alex Samaras, Trevor Giancola, Amanda Tosoff, Emilie-Claire Barlow, Reg Schwager, Perry White, Phil Dwyer, Kevin Turcotte, Neil Swainson, Jim Vivian, Don Thompson, Dave Young, the Queer Songbook Orchestra, The Sea And Cake, STARS, the Sam Roberts Band, Broken Social Scene and La Force, to name a few. Media appearances include the Juno Awards, JazzFM.91, First Play Live, Q, Drive, Big City-Small World, Global Village, The Strombo Show, CTV Breakfast Television, Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW (NPR), Live On KEXP, MTV, MuchMusic, CBS This Morning, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and La Blogothéque. French has taught woodwinds and jazz ensembles at the Humber College Community Music program since 2002 and has taught woodwinds, wind ensembles, and Community Band at the Regent Park School of Music since 2011. Read More .

Headshot of Johnny Griffith

Johnny Griffith

Johnny Griffith is a multi-Juno Award-nominated saxophonist, composer and producer who has played and recorded with numerous artists including Don Thompson, Hawksley Workman, Jeremy Pelt, Charlie ... Hunter, The Wailers, Fishbone, Ernesto Cervini’s Tune Town, Alex Dean, Laila Biali, Al Henderson Quintet, Brandi Disterheft and Terra Hazelton, to name a few, and is a member of the popular Canadian funk/hip hop group the Pocket Dwellers. He has toured extensively across Canada, the United States, and Europe performing at all the major Canadian music festivals as well as several international venues, including the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  Johnny co-leads the Griffith Hiltz Trio (GHT) with guitarist Nathan Hiltz, arriving on the scene with the 2009 album Now & Then, produced by and featuring Canadian jazz legend Don Thompson. Their debut album was selected by Terry McElligott at Jazz FM 91 as Jazz Album of the Year and was nominated for a Grand Prix du Jazz from the Montreal Jazz festival. Their second, more experimental release, This is What You Get, was produced by Canadian cult icon Hawksley Workman and sat at #1 on the national jazz charts for three weeks in 2013. Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, GHT released its third album, Arcade, a nostalgic chiptune-jazz fusion nod to the music of film and video games of the 1980s. The Johnny Griffith Quintet is the artist’s first solo venture and launched with Dance with the Lady in 2015. Featuring NYC’s Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, the album was the featured release on WBGO Jazz radio New Jersey. 2018 saw the release of The Lion, Camel and Child, again with Pelt, previewing at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2018.  In 2015, Johnny created the non-profit independent jazz label G-B Records and has gone on to produce and/or engineer Nathan Hiltz’s Songs Poetic and Samways, Whitney Ross-Barris' The Bright Lunch Trio, Graeme Stephen’s Projector Trio, Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm’s Blued Dharma, Chris Wallace’s Many Names, Andy Ballantyne’s Play on Words and UK’s NeWt Trio’s “Drip.” Johnny is also an active film and television composer. He has composed the scores for the films Still to Go and The Recipe, both films appearing in the Toronto International Film Festival, the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. He is also a freelance composer for the Bell/CTV media group. Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Johnny has a Bachelor of Music from Humber College, a master’s degree in jazz performance from University of Toronto, and for the past 12 years, he has been a Humber Music faculty member.  Johnny Griffith currently lives and performs in Toronto, Canada. Read More .

Headshot of Ethan Ardelli

Ethan Ardelli

Portfolio Website

Drummer and composer Ethan Ardelli has been one of Canada’s most acclaimed jazz musicians for more than a decade. Always a cultural omnivore, Ardelli has sought out inspiration in a wide variety of... places, from art house films to classical composition and music from around the world, in particular the music of Cuba. After playing in many notable Canadian bands (David Virelles, Brian Dickinson, Nancy Walker, and Darren Sigesmund), Ardelli was primed to become a bandleader. Since 2014, Ethan has been leading his own ensemble showcasing his original compositions. The quartet features saxophonist Luis Deniz, pianist Chris Donnelly, and bassist Devon Henderson. His debut album, The Island of Form, is a showcase for Ardelli’s highly developed compositional skills and drumming prowess. The album was recorded by James Farber, the engineer behind many touchstone jazz recordings, including works by Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, and Brad Mehldau. As well as leading his own ensemble, Ethan is a member of the Darren Sigesmund Quintet, Nancy Walker Quintet, Alexander Brown Sextet, Brian Dickinson Trio, and the Harley Card Quintet. Ethan is on faculty at the University of Toronto as well as the Humber College Community Music School. Read More .

Headshot of Steve Mancuso

Steve Mancuso

Toronto-born drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Steve Mancuso has been active as an educator, and performing artist on the Canadian music scene since 1988. In 2008, Steve earned his MA in... ethnomusicology (Cuba, Africa) at York University. He is presently completing a PhD (ABD) at York University under the guidance of South Indian master drummer Dr. Trichy Sankaran, focusing on the art of Konnakkol, the spoken rhythmic language of the Carnatic musical tradition. He has also studied privately with master educators such as Francis Kofi Akotuah, Bruce Becker, Jim Blackley, José Luis Quintana, and Marcos Suzano, among others. Steve is currently on faculty at both Humber College and Centennial College (MIAP) where he instructs contemporary drum set, world percussion, and various performance and pedagogical ensembles. In addition, Steve is an educator and clinician endorsed by Bosphorus Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Remo Drum Heads. Read More .

Headshot of Sam Dickinson

Sam Dickinson

Portfolio Website

Guitarist Sam Dickinson was born in Toronto and began playing guitar at the age of eight. He studied jazz during high school at the Community Music School, followed by studies at New England Conservatory... , Humber College and McGill University. Dickinson received his doctorate of musical arts from the University of Miami in 2019. These formative years included guitar instruction from Mick Goodrick, Lorne Lofsky, Ben Monder, Joe Morris, John Hart, Ted Quinlan and Brad Shepik, as well as composition/arranging lessons from John Hollenbeck, Christine Jensen and Joe Sullivan. Dickinson has shared the stage with Jerry Bergonzi, Jack DeJohnette, Jean-Michel Pilc, Dave Holland, Pat LaBarbera, Jimmy Heath and Danilo Perez, to name a few. While maintaining an active schedule performing, composing, and teaching in Toronto, Dickinson is in the process of releasing a larger scale recording project as a leader. Read More .

Headshot of Laura Anglade

Laura Anglade

Portfolio Website

Jazz vocalist Laura Anglade is currently making a name for herself on the Canadian jazz scene and beyond. Originally from a small village in the South of France and raised in Connecticut, she is influenced... by her parents’ gypsy jazz and classical backgrounds. Laura’s singing is reminiscent of many of the great vocal stylists of the 20th century: Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day, Shirley Horn, Mel Tormé and Blossom Dearie. Laura has made several appearances on the New York, Toronto, Québec City and Montreal scenes and has performed at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Her debut album, I've Got Just About Everything, which came out in June 2019 on Justin Time Records, has been met with praise by critics and fans alike. A second duo record is currently in the works and will feature guitarist Sam Kirmayer. Laura has appeared on Global News, Jazz Today, WholeNote Magazine, and has been recognized by Radio Canada’s Ici Musique as one of the top five female jazz musicians to watch out for. Laura maintains a thriving teaching practice in the Toronto area and internationally through online video chat. Her teaching methodology is informed by her deep experience as a vocalist and artist, working with students to help them build the musical skill set and confidence they need to perform. Read More .

Headshot of Darren Sigesmund

Darren Sigesmund

Portfolio Website

Trombonist Darren Sigesmund is a 2010 JUNO nominee and Galaxie Rising Star winner. He has released five recordings as bandleader featuring two projects, his Strands ensemble and new Quintet with New... York-based Mark Feldman (violin) and Gary Versace (accordion and piano). Sigesmund has led his bands on over 20 tours across Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. His Strands II CD was nominated for a 2010 JUNO for Best Traditional Jazz Album and chosen as Canadian Jazz CD of the Year by the Ottawa Citizen. He teaches piano at Humber College and privately. He received a master's and DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Toronto. Read More .

Headshot of Jacob Damelin

Jacob Damelin

Portfolio Website

Jacob Damelin is a pianist, composer and educator based in Toronto, Canada. He has experience performing and teaching a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, hip-hop, rock and R&B.

Headshot of Madeleine Ertel

Madeleine Ertel

Madeleine Ertel is a trumpeter, vocalist, composer, and teacher known for her honest and melodic approach to music making. In her hometown of Kelowna, B.C., Madeleine grew up studying classical... piano and violin, as well as playing folk music around town before she picked up a trumpet and found a passion for jazz music.
Now recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance (2020), Madeleine has established herself as a unique and versatile voice in the Toronto music scene. She can be seen zipping around on her bike on the way to play with the free jazz-influenced quartet Never Was, the neo-soul band Moodset, her folk-inspired duo with guitarist Harry Bartlett, or in various straight-ahead jazz ensembles.
With over three years of teaching experience, Madeleine is passionate about finding a unique musical path for each student. She incorporates what she has learned from teachers such as Ingrid Jensen and Jim Lewis with her own musical experience to offer a fresh perspective.
Read More .

Headshot of Holt Stuart-Hitchcox

Holt Stuart-Hitchcox

As a graduate of both the Humber College Community Music School and Humber College Bachelor of Music program, bassist Holt Stuart-Hitchcox has spent the majority of his life involved with... Humber College’s music programs. He returned to the Community Music School as a teacher in the fall of 2018. Holt is focused on jazz and contemporary music education and is certified to teach younger students using the Orff and Kodaly methods. He completed his master of arts in Music Education at the University of Toronto in June of 2021. While pursuing his career as an educator, Holt continues to perform with a variety of musical groups across the country, primarily in the jazz, rock, country, folk, and R&B genres. Read More .

Headshot of Matt Newton

Matt Newton

Matt Newton is a Toronto-based pianist, composer and educator, and has been teaching at Humber's Community Music School since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto jazz... program and has attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music where he studied with world renowned trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas and pianist Deron Johnson (Miles Davis). He is a member of the Harley Card Quintet and has performed with such respected artists as Melissa Lauren, Petr Cancura, Chris Gale, Rebecca Hennessy, Karl Silveira, Allison Au, Tim Shia, and Beverly Taft among many others. Read More .

New Students

Please contact for information and guidance for selecting programming before registering.

Fall 2022 Term




CMCE 001 30min Private Lesson - Bass $510
CMCE 002 30min Private Lesson - Brass $510
CMCE 003 30min Private Lesson - Guitar $510
CMCE 004 30min Private Lesson - Percussion $510
CMCE 005 30min Private Lesson - Piano $510
CMCE 006 30min Private Lesson - Woodwind $510
CMCE 007 30min Private Lesson - Vocals $510
CMCE 028 30min Private Lesson - Open $510
CMCE 008 60min Private Lesson - Bass $945
CMCE 009 60min Private Lesson - Brass $945
CMCE 010 60min Private Lesson - Guitar $945
CMCE 011 60min Private Lesson - Percussion $945
CMCE 012 60min Private Lesson - Piano $945
CMCE 013 60min Private Lesson - Woodwind $945
CMCE 014 60min Private Lesson - Vocals $945
CMCE 029 60min Private Lesson - Open $945
CMCE 021 Advanced Jazz Improvisation (Ages 12-18) $670
CMCE 022 Youth Jazz Ensemble (Ages 12-18) $685
CMCE 023 Advanced Youth Jazz Ensemble (Ages 14-18) $865
CMCE 024 Jazz Theory (Ages 12-18) $265
CMCE 025 Children's Musicianship (Ages 3-4) $395
CMCE 026 Children's Musicianship (Ages 5-6) $395
CMCE 027 Children's Musicianship (Ages 7-8) $395
CMCE 020 Children's Music: Orff Ensemble (Ages 9-11) $755