Our Teachers

Your BAM Fam

Tyler Tossounian

Owner

Tyler found his passion for music at the age of 8 hearing his uncles play. He started drumming at a music academy in Markham, ON at 12 years old. Alongside his passion for drums, he found himself extremely intrigued with music. He started to expand from drums to teach himself guitar, ukulele and vocals, eventually taking lessons in all areas. Tyler continues to broaden his expertise in music, inspiring us all with his exceptional knowledge base. Tyler is an extraordinary wealth of knowledge for all musical needs!

Awards: 2020 Business Excellence Award, Youth Entrepreneur of the Year

Education: York University Graduate, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Guitar performances, Minor in Business.

Languages: English

Xaver Dangl

Guitar/Bass/Banjo/Ukulele/Mandolin Instructor

Xaver is one of our longest standing musical instructors at the Academy. His early musical experiences are in various rock groups in the late ’60s – most notably as guitarist in two groups with Geddy Lee (“Judd” and “Ogilvie”). Xaver then began his exploration into the world of classical music through: RCM, Eli Kassner Academy, and Norbert Kraft. His roots in Flamenco began by studying with David Philips, Guillermo Rios, Jose Vahe, and Juan Tomas. Xaver has also worked with various dancers in the art of Latin music. Along with his understanding of both Classical and Flamenco stylings, Xaver has experience in jazz music with main influences like Lenny Breau and Ed Bickert. Xaver re-entered the teaching world in 1996 after a stint in the corporate world, and has been with the Academy ever since.

Influences: Lenny Breau, Ed Bickert

Languages: English, German

Luba Mahzor

Piano Instructor

Luba received her education at the National Music Teachers College in Ukraine when they were under the USSR. She continued her studies at the Religious Music Teachers College in Israel. Eventually, Luba found her way to Canada and has been teaching music since 1988. With her European background and amazing piano skills, Luba has advanced many students at the Bradford Academy of Music up to the ARCT level of the RCM.

Languages: English, Hebrew, Russian

Martin Damsell

Vocal/Piano/Guitar/Drumming Instructor

Born in Bristol, England, Martin came to Toronto and attended St. Michael’s Choir School.  At the age of 8, he was performing  at Massey Hall. During the 70’s & 80’s, Martin created ‘New Direction’ and ‘Night Fever’, showbands that toured Canada and the U.S. over a 14 year period and still found time to sing on many jingles at various studios. 5 successful seasons at Ontario Place led to an 8 month contract on a small island in the Southern Greadines.

As a songwriter and recording artist he yielded 2 singles, “Tears Runnin’ Down” and “Come Running Back” that hit 12 and 14 on the top 100 Country Chart, respectively. He is also a member of the longest running rock & roll band in Canada, ‘Little Caesar and the Consuls’, of “Hang on Sloopy” fame.  The band has released a new album in 2019 recorded at Martin’s  Southern Nights Studios.

In the past few years his passion for writing has been fueled by Meditative, Spiritual and Sound Therapy music, based around the 9 original healing Solfeggio tones.

Martin came to the Academy in 2011 teaching voice, piano, drums, & guitar. He utilizes his vast (50+ years) experience of live and studio performances combined with his St. Michael’s Choir School training to create a teaching style that keeps students engaged and coming back year after year.

Languages: English

Melinda Schneider

Flute Instructor

Melinda has been the Head Flute Instructor of the Bradford Academy of Music since 2019. She has always been fascinated by music. Her introduction to music was in Grade 9 where she started to learn the flute. She expanded her music education with private lessons in Grade 12 to prepare to audition for Post-Secondary music programs. During this time, Melinda started simultaneously studying piano. After only taking four months of lessons, Melinda completed her Grade 6 RCM practical Piano and Advanced Rudiment Theory exams, passing both with First Class Honours with Distinction! Since then, she has completed York University’s Specialized Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in Music and Nipissing University’s Bachelor of Education, and is an Elementary School teacher. Melinda is excited to bring new joys of music to the students of the Bradford Academy of Music.

Languages: English

Randolf Jimenez

Drumming Instructor

“One of the best Latin American drummers nowadays” – Billboard Magazine

With more than 20 years of professional experience, Randolf Jimenez is an accomplished
Venezuelan-born Canadian drummer, percussionist, composer, educator and published author.
Since moving to Canada in 2013, he rapidly became the most sought-after Latin drummer in
Toronto.

Randolf has worked, toured or recorded with many international artists such as: Latin Grammy-
Winners Sergio George, Guillermo Mandrafina and Jean Sanchez, Latin Grammy Nominee
Gerald Chacon, Juno Award Winner Quique Escamilla, Shahin Najafi, Babak Amini, Yahaira
Plasencia, Katie Angel, Mackie, Nikolay Devlet-Kill’deev (Moral Code X), Alexander Tischenko
(Wintergarden), Bill McBirnie, SashaBoychuk, Brownman Ali, Award-winning trio “Cruzao”, Sina
Bathaie, Miguel de La Bastide, Leonardo Barilaro, Stanislas Vitort, Serge Grinkov, Alexandra
Templier, Maria Rivas, Cheo Valenzuela, Roberto Lugo, among many more.

Randolf stays active in education by teaching an average of 70 students per week in the
Toronto area. Over the years, he has taught hundreds of students privately and has conducted
masterclasses, clinics and workshops in different parts of the world. Randolf is currently an
accompanist staff for the Dance Program at York University.

His work has been featured on websites, newspapers and magazines in South America,
Europe, Japan and Canada including: Billboard Magazine, All About Jazz, Malta Core, Drum
Fills Kafe, Acid Conga, Tokyo Jazz Review, A Uno Magazine, Caras Magazine and many others.
His drum method “The Groove Schoolbook” is currently distributed worldwide through Mel Bay
Publications.

Randolf is an official endorser for Sonor drums, Paiste cymbals, Tycoon Percussion, Vater
drumsticks, Audix microphones and Humes&Berg cases. He is also a voting member for the
Latin Grammys (LARAS).

Learn more at: www.randolfjimenez.com

Languages: English, Spanish

Kiara Botas

Social Media Manager / Front Desk Manager

Kiara started her musical journey at 4 years old when she decided to be a triple threat to show her love for singing, dancing & acting. She won her first Broadway Star Best Vocalist Award at the age of 5 and received it again at ages 8 and 9. Kiara took up piano lessons at the age of 5 and received her grade 6 RCM certificate. Afterwards, she decided to make a switch into drumming where she found her passion for the beat! Kiara has been working at BAM for several months now and is bringing her new ideas into action everyday!

Awards: Broadway Star Best Vocalist Award (3X), Broadway Star Best Performer Award, 1st place Bradford Idol, Best All-star Vocalist (2X), Certificate of Excellence in Vocal Performance, Platinum Vocal Awards (13X), Vocal Scholarship, Grade 6 RCM piano certificate.

Education: Holy Trinity High School, Bradford Academy of Music and Arts, Spotlight Theatre, Music in Motion Performing Arts, The Arts.

Languages: English, Portuguese

Diana Alecu

Piano Instructor

Diana is a recent graduate of Western University where she achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music. Diana started her musical journey at age 7 where she began piano lessons in Innisfil. Having shown a great interest in advanced piano playing, her parents decided to further her education by switching her to the Bradford Academy of Music where she studied under Luba Mahzor for 10 years. On top of her post-secondary education, Diana has completed her Level 10 RCM practical examination and her ARCT degree in piano performance. As an alumni of the Bradford Academy of Music, Diana is so excited to share her musical knowledge and journey with her students.

Languages: English, Romanian

Hayden Ryan

Guitar Instructor

Hayden started showing interest in guitar at the young age of 2 and started his musical journey at the Bradford Academy of Music. His post-secondary education in psychology has given him insight into the learning process and how the child’s mind works with the assistance of music. Hayden studied guitar under the guidance of Martin Damsell and after learning his basics, began to focus on Blues music. He furthered his knowledge on guitar by studying Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, and Metal music. Hayden’s teaching style is designed to focus on increasing student motivation to pick up the guitar and play, as well as, setting obtainable short- and long-term goals.

Languages: English

Sammi Lee

Violin/Voice/Piano Instructor

Ms. Sammi Lee has acquired Master of Music Therapy (MMT), and Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours; Specialized in Classical Piano (BFA). She has also been trained in Voice, Guitar, and Orff Instruments. She has a passion for sharing her music through performances, as well as teaching and encouraging her students.

Ms. Lee is currently an Elementary School Teacher. She is experienced in teaching Music Classroom (Preschool to G12), and Math, Science, Social Science to G4 in Ministry-Approved Private Schools in Toronto. She is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Educator Candidate, as well.

Sammi has 15 years of private lesson teaching experience. She prepared all levels of Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Exams in Piano, Voice, and Theory. She has led many students to win awards in competitions, and her students attend local music events with her every year. She is also capable of teaching Violin, Guitar and Ukulele to young beginners. Sammi also led multiple Music Camps (i.e. Ukelele, Choir, Keyboard Emsemble) with a reputation for “fun-learning” for children aged as early as 3.5 years.

Ms. Sammi Lee enjoys teaching and sharing the joy of music here in Bradford Academy of Music.

Sandra Martins

Piano/Voice Instructor

Sandra has worked in the music industry since 1985! Sandra grew up in Brazil being able to play piano by ear since she was just 8 years old. Sandra has taught private music lessons and also has taught music in schools ranging from elementary to high school levels.

Education: Licensed Teacher at “School Of Surperior Education”, Degree in Music Education, Diploma in Piano.

Languages: English, Portuguese, some Spanish