Student Profiles - Past & Present

The Ron Willmot Piano & Flute Studio

Profiles of Students Past & Present

Over the past 30 years I have taught Piano & Flute to well over a thousand people. Here are some profiles of just a few of the individuals I teach today and have taught over the last quarter century.

Dan Snaith, Caribou
DAN - Dan began his piano studies with me in the late 1980’s through the 1990’s, culminating in his achieving his Grade 10 piano. In university Dan studied and received his PHD in Math but decided music was his calling. Since then, he has travelled the world with his band, Caribou. He recently performed in 2014 to a sold out crowd at the Danforth Music Hall, Toronto. In 2011, Dan received the JUNO award for best Canadian electronic album. He was also the recipient of the prestigious POLARIS award. His band has also toured Europe as the opening act for the supergroup “Radiohead”.

Matthew Millar at Metalworks
MATTHEW - Matthew started piano lessons with me in 2005 and we worked together for the next 8 years, up until he left for college. Iris and I had a chance to see Matt in concert in 2014 at “ The Metalworks Institute” where he is in his 2nd year of music & music production. It was wonderful for us to see this incredibly talented person perform with his bandmates. Matt also paid me a visit this past summer and I had the opportunity to hear some of his compositions. The medium he enjoys writing in is “EDM” or Electronic Dance Music. Listening to his songs, and seeing his professionalism on stage I know he has a bright future ahead of him in the field of Music!
When at the concert, we had a chance to sit and chat with Matthew’s parents, Alice & Glen. Glen mentioned that, unknown to me, Matthew wanted to quit piano several times. He persevered nonetheless and at a certain point piano stopped being a chore for him and became his passion instead.

WILLIAM - Will has been studying piano with me since he was five years old. Now, several years later, he is one of my most gifted students. Through the years, though he played many a classical piece, he had no interest in the RCM examination system. A number of months ago Will asked if he could try a piano exam and we’re now preparing for his grade 8 practical for this summer, 2015. Once he attains his 8th level piano and accompanying advanced rudiments he’ll receive a high school credit and basically have the requirements, music-wise, needed for entrance into most Canadian universities. He will have accomplished this all before starting high school. At his public school in Pickering, Frenchman’s Bay P.S., Will is in demand as one of the performing pianists for school assemblies & events.
Erin - Erin studied both flute & piano with me from 2011 till 2014. During that time she mastered many pieces and has played a very active role in her schools music programs. Last fall she visited me for some advice on performing as primary pianist for her schools musical. Dunbarton High School performed Seussical the Musical this past fall. Erin really had things well in hand….the score she was performing would have been challenging for any professional let alone a grade 10 high school student!

Jonas Antilla
Jonas - Jonas started piano lessons when he was just a little guy back in 2007. From the moment he began piano, his talents shone through. During his years at Highbush Public School, Jonas was in demand as the pianist for many of the school’s events. Now enrolled at Dunbarton Secondary School, he is the accompanist for the school choir. He is pictured here (in white) playing piano at a school concert. Jonas’s incredible feel, timing and calm demeanour have the makings of him being a great pianist. (He’s already fantastic as it is!) Jonas is also very involved in his Church’s music worship team!

Jeff Szpirglas & Danielle Saint-Onge
Jeff - Jeff studied piano with me throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s. When I first met him, Jeff was age 12 and had just been freshly fired by his previous piano teacher. He had failed to learn to read music in the time she had allotted. In Jeff I found a lad who was incredibly creative and imaginative and I did my best to help him learn musically whatever he wanted to.
I can still remember pieces that he had composed and brought to his lesson for me to see. In time he became my resident expert on Meatloaf’s music (Jim Steinman). Iris & I became close friends to he and his family and we performed not only for his sister’s Bat Mitzvah but her wedding and Jeff’s wedding as well.

Though it might not have made any difference, I like to imagine that the people who encourage others positively instead of discouraging them, can make a difference as to what they do with their lives. Jeff, besides being a school teacher is also an accomplished children’s author alongside his wife Danielle.
Together they have written several books for children!