Teacher Bios

We are proud to bring a roster of experienced, passionate teachers to the Old Ottawa South community. Our teachers are knowledgeable in a wide range of instruments and come from various musical backgrounds; bringing a unique experience to all those who come through our doors. We welcome students of all ages and levels of experience and can’t wait for you to share your love of music with us!

Read teacher bios

Clarissa Fortin

Every aspect of music seems to be something Red Bird Live’s Clarissa Fortin is passionate about. From studying, to teaching, to performing, Clarissa is involved in many areas of Ottawa’s music community.

She completed her Grade 9 RCM exam in 2012, was selected as a Youth Performer at the 2017 Summerfolk Music Festival and has performed at venues and festivals across Ottawa including the Grassroots Festival and the Spirit of Rasputin’s Concert Series.

She has been teaching locally since 2017 and has experience both in private and group lessons. Clarissa is very familiar with the RCM testing system as well as the Kiwanis music festival and can walk her students through either if they are ready to take on the task!

Her passion for singing and songwriting expands across genres into classical, musical theater, jazz, and contemporary styles. She is looking forward to helping aspiring songwriters develop their songwriting skills and bringing her knowledge of guitar, piano, ukulele and voice to our community.

Portrait of Clarissa Fortin Photo by Laura Collins
“My goal as a teacher is to balance technique and accuracy with creativity and self expression. I try to give students a strong foundation of technical skills that they can use to find their own voice.” - Clarissa Fortin

Shaun Francisco

For almost three years, Shaun has been bringing music into the lives of others through private and group lessons. He will be bringing lessons in voice, guitar, bass, drums, and songwriting. Being a self-taught musician, Shaun loves teaching because it allows him to offer mentorship to other musicians that he himself did not have.

Having toured with his own band, Shaun will be bringing his knowledge of performance, the music industry, engineering, and production to students interested in those areas. His impressive list of accomplishments includes becoming a Top 24 finalist on Canadian Idol’s final season, winning the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot with his band Autumns Cannon, and opening for acts including Tom Cochrane, Bryan Adams, Jim Cuddy, Big Wreck, Kim Mitchell, Tragically Hip and Bon Jovi.

At the heart of his teaching you will find his desire to foster passion and confidence in his students while helping them establish a good workflow tailored to their needs. We can’t wait for you to be able to experience this for yourself!

Portrait of Shaun Francisco Photo by Laura Collins
“I am motivated to help students discover their potential, while never getting away from their true self.” - Shaun Francisco

Doug Gouthro

Doug Gouthro has been playing guitar for 38 years, and teaching guitar for 30. He earned a Bachelor Of
Music from Carleton University and has decades of experience performing. Previously, he played in the Alt-Country band ‘The John Henrys’ who regularly toured the United States and Canada. Presently, he is lead guitarist for ‘Drifting Bird’ and frontman and leader of ‘The Psychedelic Sundaes’. Doug offers guitar lessons in all styles and at all levels. His particular specialty is instruction in lead guitar, which includes improvisations, writing, and playing solos over chord changes.

Portrait of Doug Gouthro
A Music Haiku: Music is so fun Want to play it all the time Time is well spent now Doug Gouthro

Brianna Herdman

To say music is an important part of Brianna’s life would be an understatement. Growing up in a musical family in Old Ottawa South, you can see Brianna performing in Barry and the Blasters alongside her dad.

Her passion for music grew during her four years studying in the winds program at Canterbury; Ottawa’s fine arts high school. Having started taking private lessons at the young age of five, Brianna now feels ready to take on the role of teacher and bring her wealth of knowledge to students of all ages and levels.

Alongside her love for teaching and performing, she also has an interest in production, having enrolled in the Langara College Digital Music Production program. She has experience with the computer-related skills needed for sound engineering and is ready to put all that musical knowledge to work both for herself and others.

Portrait of Brianna Herdman Photo by Laura Collins
“I’ve been supported by so many great music teachers throughout my life, and I want to provide the same sense of community and support for others.” - Brianna Herdman

Sarah Howard

Sarah is an Ontario Certified Teacher who specializes in music. She holds a BA in Music from uOttawa, a BMus in Songwriting and MA in Music & Culture from Carleton University, and an Artist in Community Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University.

She has a background in classical voice, guitar, ukulele, piano, and songwriting. Sarah approaches all teaching and learning through an equity lens, and is always striving to teach as accessibly as possible to meet individual learners’ needs. Sarah loves helping learners work towards their individual musical goals, and sees important things like music theory, learning repertoire, and practicing scales and techniques as important parts of the bigger picture - becoming empowered, creative citizens who can make musical choices and have a lifelong enjoyment of music.

Portrait of Sarah Howard Photo by Laura Collins
“I believe the goal of any learning experience is to foster curiosity, creativity, and empowerment throughout our lives, no matter how old we are or what we are learning.” Sarah Howard

Erik Johnson-Scherger

At the age of six Erik began training on the violin, and followed that through to the completion of a Master’s of Music from the University of Ottawa in 2019, where he studied with Yehonatan Berick and Yosuke Kawasaki.

Erik also holds a Bachelor’s of Music Performance and a Diploma in Chamber Music from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he studied violin, viola, and chamber music with Jerzy Kaplanek and Christine Vlajk, and other members of the Penderecki String Quartet, in addition to studying improvisation with Kathryn Ladano.

Erik’s current projects include Duo d’Asyl with classical guitarist Simon Berniquez, with whom he won Ottawa Chamberfest’s 2019 ChamberPints competition, as well as the chamber-jazz quartet Side-Eye and Grace, whose first album, Liminal Spaces, was released in March 2020.

In addition to serving as the violin soloist for the Canadian premiere of Tyler’s Suite in 2019, Erik has performed with the Kingston and Ottawa Symphony Orchestras as a section violinist and mandolinist, given concerts of avante-garde and improvised music with the NUMUS String Orchestra and Improv Ensemble, and has worked as sideman, session musician, and/or bandleader for country, rock, disco/R&B, celtgrass, and jazz projects.

Portrait of Erik Johnson-Scherger Photo by Laura Collins
"What I love most about teaching is seeing the glee when students realize that they're making the sounds they wanted to hear from the instrument." Erik Johnson-Scherger

Bronwyn Kelly

Born and raised in Ottawa, Bronwyn Kelly is thrilled to be back in her wonderful hometown to begin her teaching career with Red Bird Live.

Having studied piano, violin, and voice throughout her childhood, Bronwyn pursued her passion for music in post-secondary studies in Montreal. She holds an undergraduate degree in Music as well as an MA in Music Theory from McGill University. Upon returning to Ottawa, Bronwyn stepped away from music research and onto the stage to continue her vocal studies, earning a Graduate Diploma in Vocal Performance from the University of Ottawa, specializing in classical voice and opera.

While she is classically trained, Bronwyn teaches both piano and voice in a variety of genres and has extensive experience in musical theatre, folk, and contemporary styles.

She is looking forward to connecting with Ottawa’s vibrant music community through various performances and through teaching students of all ages and levels at Red Bird Live.

Portrait of Bronwyn Kelly Photo by Laura Collins
“I am so excited to be joining the team at Red Bird! I teach because I love to connect with people through passion and expression, helping others to open themselves up to the magic and wonder of music-making.” Bronwyn Kelly

Kevin Lippert

With almost 20 years of music teaching experience, Kevin will be bringing his expertise in guitar, bass, and ukulele to Old Ottawa South.

Kevin is dedicated to building strong relationships with his students and has always been active in his community. When teaching in the Durham region, he would organize performances at hospitals to bring some Christmas cheer with his students.

His greatest passion is helping students find their love and connection to instruments, allowing them to develop music as a passion of their own. His love for music extends beyond the classroom and into performing, having performed in various bands throughout the years as well as at weddings and banquets.

We are so lucky to have Kevin as a part of our team, and we can’ wait for classes to begin in 2022.

Portrait of Kevin Lippert Photo by Laura Collins
“Music has always been a big part of my life and I enjoy sharing that with others.” - Kevin Lippert

Alex Millaire

Alex Millaire is an artist, musician, teacher, singer-songwriter, activist, and someone who’s passionate about qigong, and good food.

Alex grew up playing in rock and post-rock bands, eventually taking a deep dive into classical music that saw him earn two Master’s from the University of Ottawa, in classical guitar interpretation and composition. Moonfruits, bilingual art-folk band and life project with partner Kaitlin Milroy, is the home where his influences – rock, folk, bluegrass, soul and classical – all get to hold hands. Moonfruits has toured Canada from east coast to west coast, in the US and in Europe – some of Alex’s most cherished experiences.

For 20 years now, Alex has had a private teaching practice, with stops in Chelsea’s music school, La Petite Fanfare, and Vanier’s L’Élan social reintegration centre. He has also held workshops for a variety of organizations, including the APCM, the University of Ottawa and the City of Ottawa.

He believes in the power of loving what you do, in the friendship of trees, in the importance of wellbeing, and in a brighter, more just future for our planet and its inhabitants. He strives to have his work be a reflection of these beliefs.

Portrait of Alex Millaire Photo by Laura Collins
“One reason I love teaching music is helping students 'peek behind the curtain' and understand how music comes to be, so they can make some themselves!” - Alex Millaire

Ethan Mitchell

Ethan pursued his passion for music by studying cello performance, earning an undergraduate from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s from the University of Calgary.

While classically trained Ethan is also interested in a variety of genres including folk, indie and jazz. He has played in various rock and jazz bands and has collaborated on projects across a wide spread of genres.

His love for music extends to all forms of arts with a continuous desire to collaborate with other artists in other disciplines including theater, dance and film.

His approach to teaching is listening first, developing a critical ear and mind in his students while empowering them to be their own best teacher. Ethan will be teaching cello, piano, guitar and bass.

Portrait of Ethan Mitchell Photo by Laura Collins
“I work to open up the ears to the experience of making music, and I tailor each lesson to each individual.” - Ethan Mitchell

Curtis Perry

With over fifteen years of teaching experience, both through private music lessons and as a teacher with the OCDSB, Curtis is excited to share his love for music with his students. Beyond his experience teaching, Curtis has an impressive list of accomplishments including having his music performed by the NACO, members of Tafelmusik, and his music has also been featured on a local CBC mini documentary. His love for music extends beyond the classroom and to the stage where he has performed with the Sarah Burnell Band, and he has also supported different artists as part of Guelph's Hillside Festival and Ottawa Bluesfest. You can also find him in the photo pit as a concert photographer! With an MA Music and Culture and Bachelor of Music (highest honours) from Carleton University, Curtis will be bringing his knowledge of guitar, ukulele, music theory, and composition to Red Bird.
Portrait of Curtis Perry Photo by Laura Collins
“I love teaching because it allows me to share and grow everything I find great about music—building artistry, confidence, creativity, and an outlet for expression for every student.” - Curtis Perry

Chris Zimmerman

Chris has been teaching and performing professionally for over 10 years.
He has performed in every Province and Territory in Canada in a variety of bands and projects. Chris has also performed and recorded as a percussionist and drummer on multi-award winning record “Signal Fire” by Twin Flames. 

Other notable performances as a drummer include: opening for Trooper with Epyllion at the 2010 Navan Fair, Folk On The Rocks main stage in Yellowknife with Twin Flames in 2016, opening for Half Moon Run with Twin Flames at the 2017 Dragonboat Festival, and opening for The Backstreet Boys with Kyle Ivan on the Bluesfest main stage in 2019.

On top of performing as a drummer for hire in the Ottawa area, Chris also sings and plays guitar in his own project Chris Zimmerman & The Weather. Since the band’s inception in 2018, they have accomplished a lot. They toured across the country in 2018, played The Calgary Stampede in 2019 and opened for Canadian music icon Alan Doyle at a festival in Kuujjuac, Quebec, also in 2019.

Portrait of Chris Zimmerman Photo by Laura Collins
“As a student of mine, you will be provided with a lesson plan that suits your musical goals. Over the years I have learned that not every student learns the same way, so why should every person have the same lesson plan? We will work together and make sure that you reach your musical goals and have a bunch of fun while doing it.” - Chris Zimmerman

1165 Bank Street, Ottawa ON K1S 3X7