Bluesfest School of Music & Art

private music lessons-playing ukulele
bsoma logo-music lessons

Music & visual arts classes are presented by our partner, Bluesfest School of Music & Art (BSOMA)


Founded by Dovercourt Recreation Centre and RBC Ottawa Bluesfest in April 2014, BSOMA is dedicated to supporting cultural development within the greater Ottawa community by creating opportunities through education that will allow students to discover, explore and deepen a relationship with the arts. BSOMA is operated by Ottawa Bluesfest and Dovercourt Recreation Association. Throughout the year, we offer group classes and workshops, special events, camps, private and semi-private lessons and concerts for all ages.

The Bluesfest School of Music and Art would like to acknowledge the contribution and support we have received from the former Westboro United Church Council. In recognition, the hall in which the school is housed has been named the Kitchissippi Community Hall.

In 5 years of operation, here’s BSOMA by the numbers:

Active Staff
private music lessons
Bluesfest shows
CityFolk shows
bluesfest school of music and art festival house building

Festival House, 450 Churchill Avenue North Ottawa, ON K1Z 5E2, 2 blocks south of Richmond Road.
Please access the school via our Ravenhill Avenue entrance.


  • General Inquiries and Private Lesson Booking: Kate Evans –, 613-627-2762
  • Phone registrations and inquiries during non-operational hours can be made at Dovercourt Recreation Centre 613-798-8950 ex.0

School Hours

Regular Hours

  • Monday -Thursday: 2pm to 9pm
  • Friday: 12pm to 5pm
  • Saturday: 10am to 5pm

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BSOMA Music Classes

Learning to play a musical instrument develops dexterity and coordination, improves academic skills, cultivates social skills, builds discipline and patience, while also building self-esteem. In addition, belting out your favourite tunes is awesome. Rock on.

Why Learn Music at BSOMA?

  • Learn from practicing and performing teachers
  • Flexible lesson packages
  • Teachers with music degrees and/or many years of teaching experience
  • Clean, comfortable and bright facilities
  • Welcoming administrative staff
  • Connected to one of Ottawa’s biggest and most attended festivals, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest
  • Special Events
  • Classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced students
  • Annual Spring and Winter Recitals

Group Music Lessons

Learning with others will enhance your experience in music education. Co-learners push each other to excel while making classes more fun and engaging. BSOMA Group Classes will help you to achieve individual success in an engaging group setting. Group lessons are for adults, youth, and kids. Our series of Family Classes encourage parents and children to learn (and practice!) together. Classes include choir, guitar, harmonica, musical theatre, rock university, and ukulele.

Browse group music lessons.

music-group lessons learning guitar

 Private Music Lessons

We offer lessons in vocals, guitar, ukulele, piano, drums, saxophone, harmonica and more!

Private lessons provide the most impactful experience in music education. Our teachers are equipped to prepare students for formal musical examinations, professional/semi-professional performances and casual play with friends and family. In-person, one-on-one lessons under the guidance of our teachers provide personalized instruction that corrects errors in technique, builds upon the experience and abilities of the student and focuses on tricks of the trade, as appropriate for the student.

Read instructor bios here.

Contact Kate Evans, our School Coordinator ( or 613-627-2762) so that we can match you up with the teacher who best suits your interests and abilities.

The Fine Print

$101 for four 30 minute lessons. Lessons are purchased in blocks of at least 4 lessons. Lessons can be purchased over the phone with credit card at 613-627-2762 or 613-798-8950 ext. 0. They can also be paid for in person at BSOMA or Dovercourt with exact cash, credit, or debit.

At BSOMA we maintain a 7-day cancellation policy regardless of the reason for absence. If 7 days of notice is received, a credit for the cancelled class will be given and applied at a later date with no penalty. No refunds or credits will be given if fewer than 7 days of notice is not given

Lessons are available Monday-Friday between and 2pm and 9pm and Saturday between 10am and 5pm. Lessons take place once a week on the same day and time each week. Provided your lessons are paid for in advance, the date and time you have booked is yours until you withdraw from your lessons. You will, however, forfeit your lesson date and time if you do not come to class without notice twice in a row.

There are no refunds given for unused private lesson credits, but the credit can be transferred to a friend or family member new to BSOMA. Full credit will be given to those who withdraw from a group class up to one week in advance of the program start date of the course. Pro-rated refunds for withdrawal will be given with a medical certificate for all programs. Private Lessons are non-refundable. There will be a $20 administrative fee charged for all refunds and returned payments.

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BSOMA Visual Arts

Our visual arts classes are your weekly creative outlet. Stimulate your brain and release the creativity inside while developing the skill set to present your ideas, in just the way you want for others to take in. Whether with a brush, a pencil a crayon or with paper maché, everyone can be taught to create a visual representation their thoughts, emotions and psyche. Side effect: even your doodling will improve!

Classes include adult art classes, watercolour, exploring visual arts, family art, afterschool art club, cartooning and more.

Find a Visual Arts Class

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bsoma Music Instructors

picture of daron mccoll teaches guitar and ukulele

Daron is a Canadian guitarist and composer who recently completed his M.A. in composition at York University where he also did his undergraduate degree in jazz performance. An experienced performer, he has worked in many different musical settings, from jazz duo performances to pop and Motown groups, as well as work in musical theatre, performing in pit bands for musicals such as Footloose, The Spitfire Grill and The Boyfriend.

Daron has performed in and around Toronto and Muskoka at events such as Concerts on the Dock, the Huntsville Festival of The Arts, The Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival, Kensington Market Jazz Festival, The Barrie Jazz Festival and the York University Jazz Festival. He has played in venues such as The Rex, The Algonquin Theater, Rene Caisse Theater, The Emmet Ray, Deerhurst Resort and The Jazz Bistro.

Recently he has also been making a name for himself as a music teacher. He enjoys inspiring the next generation of musicians by focusing on developing musicianship. Daron is comfortable teaching a variety of styles of music including rock, jazz, funk, blues, folk and classical. He also enjoys teaching students other skills in music, from theory and composition, to stage presence and performance. Daron is a gentle, inspiring and creative teacher who will help you achieve your musical goals and aspirations!

Find out more about Daron at

shelby taylor- visual arts instructor

Shelby is an instructor who teaches a different type of instrument – the mind. She has taught visual arts for the last 15 years, with the last 4 here with us at BSOMA. With a background in Social Working, Shelby graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Minor in Psychology in 2014, moving her further into a well-loved career of teaching drawing, painting and mixed media.
Shelby enjoys the feeling of a student incorporating a technique that she taught them in an unrelated project because it shows that they appreciate what she showed them. Teaching is reciprocal, and she learns as much from her students as they learn from her.

keith mccuaig- guitar, bass, and ukulele instructor

Keith has been a musician for almost 25 years having played guitar and bass in several blues, rock, and reggae bands over the past 20 years. Keith has a B.A. and M.A. in musicology, both from Carleton University and wrote a thesis entitled “Jamaican Canadian Music in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s: A Preliminary History.” Keith has also lectured at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and presented at several international musicology conferences. Each week, Keith teaches around thirty guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons, and plays with his band, Airliner, works with youth bands through the Bluesfest Be in the Band Program, and teaches group lessons at the Bluesfest School of Music and Art. A love of music has led to a life of playing, teaching and writing about music.

shann bailey vocal instructor

Shann Bailey is the Vocal Producer, Vocal Arranger and Artist Development Coach at Sound of the Muse Records. Shann is also the lead singer for the adult contemporary touring groups: “The Life of Pearls,” “SleepWalk Plaza” and “The Jazz Lounge Quartet.” Rounding out her expertise in the Canadian music industry, Shann also serves as the Administrative Manager of the prestigious Ottawa Choral Society, Canada’s premiere large ensemble symphonic choir. Shann also has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Toronto.

Drawing on her experience of 20 years working as a professional singer, co-songwriter, recording artist, in-studio vocal producer, and vocal coach for hundreds of young singers, Shann specializes in the development of young artists through the design of engaging vocal coaching programs for both beginners and advanced professional singers.

Shann’s unique vocal training method draws on the specific musical interests and inspirations of her students while demonstrating and teaching a host of beginner and advanced vocal techniques and disciplines, appropriate for the different genres of music. To demonstrate vocal excellence on the concert stage and on recording, Shann has authored “The Body Voice” program and “The Pop Vocal Master Class.”

If you are learning to sing just for fun or looking for advanced vocal coaching, preparing for an audition or vocal competition, vocal repertoire for the concert stage, or vocal arrangements for the recording studio, Shann can design the appropriate vocal coaching program for you.

Shann Bailey is available at Bluesfest School of Music and Art on Saturdays.
For a preview of Shann singing click here.

jesse green- guitar, piano, ukulele, vocal instructor

With over ten years of teaching experience under her belt, Jesse Green comes to BSOMA with a wealth of music knowledge and playing experience. She has spent 20+ years performing a variety of genres, ranging from vintage blues sounds, hard rock, folk and classical. She has come up in the Ottawa scene, gaining experience at Canterbury High School, achieving her Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 9 level. If you’re looking to learn guitar, piano, ukulele or voice with instrument accompaniment, she could be a great match for you!

ric denis- quitar, ukulele, harmonica, drums, instructor, and band coach

Ric Denis is a professional guitarist, teacher, singer/songwriter and performer with five CDs. He has over twenty-five years of teaching and performance experience in many styles, including jazz, rock, blues, folk and country. He honed his craft through the Jazz/Classical Musical Education program at Mohawk College, enabling him to develop a curriculum for his students, which includes: Chords & Progressions, Rhythms & Notation, and Styles & Strum Patterns. If you’re looking for beginner drums, guitar, harmonica, ukulele or band coaching, Ric Denis can help you achieve the music skills you’re looking for!

tony komery- guitar instructor

Whether you’re looking to pick up the guitar for the first time, or looking to hone your skills – Tony Komery can bring you to the level you’re looking for. He was first inspired as a teenager by popular Flamenco group, The Gypsy Kings, & the music Paco de Lucia – loving the power, the rhythm and feeling of the Flamenco guitar. Having spent years learning Classical Guitar, Tony became a teacher and performer in Syria, Jordan before moving with his family to Canada in April 2016. Since arriving in Canada, Tony has performed the 1000 Islands Jazz & Blues Festival to a full house gaining the attention and love of accomplished musicians in the area for his beautiful tone, versatility and talent.
Tony enjoys sharing his love of music with his students and will help beginners to advanced students achieve their musical goals, in all styles, whether it be classical, flamenco, acoustic or electric guitar.

albert kaprielian- piano instructor

Albert Kaprielian is a pianist/singer originally from Toronto.  Albert attended St. Michael’s Choir School, a school noted for its excellent music program, weekly choir duties, and annual Christmas concerts at Massey Hall.  After high school Albert continued his musical studies at the University of Western Ontario, studying piano with Peter Simon, who later became the President of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

In addition to his classical music background, Albert has developed a strong repertoire in other genres of music including jazz, blues, R&B, classic rock, musical theatre, country, Celtic, holiday, and more.  Since making Ottawa his home in 2004, Albert has performed, as a solo act, or with groups from duos to sextets, at many of Ottawa’s hotels, museums, banquet halls, restaurants, retirement homes, golf courses, and other venues.   His trio can often be found performing for private events at the National Arts Centre.

Albert has taught piano and music theory in the past and enjoys the excitement of sharing his experience with others. Albert is available for piano lessons on Mondays at BSOMA.

jesse kelly- guitar, drums, bass, ukulele, piano instructor

Jesse Kelly is a local multi-instrumentalist, writer, performer, and recording artist.

Jesse currently teaches guitar, drums, bass, ukulele and piano throughout the week at various institutions. He is a dedicated and passionate educator and musician.

He has done it all when it comes to music: he has shared the stage with bands from all over the country, helped develop music for local artists, done session work on folk instruments for emerging artists, and performed throughout Toronto, Montreal, Nashville and every venue imaginable in Ottawa.

Growing up he spent years working in camps and libraries, assisting in the development and implementation of educational programming for children, before turning his sights to music as a writer, performer, and instructor.

Jesse has established himself as an Ottawa staple, instructor, and creative. He prides himself on inspiring students of all ages to find their own love for music, and their own space for it within their lives. Jesse is available on Thursdays for lessons at BSOMA.

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