Fiona M Ryan

Music Lessons and Workshops 

I am available to teach music lessons and workshops in the Halifax area 


I offer private (or small group) lessons in the following subjects: 

Composition (and songwriting) 

Music Theory and ear training 

Music Literacy (Introduction to Reading and Writing Music)

Clarinet (Saxophone also possible for beginner/intermediate students) 

Creative Improvisation

Introduction to Choral Singing and Musicianship

Music and Creativity Workshops

I am available to lead workshops for your group (e.g. school groups, church choirs/congregations, workplaces, music classes, and community groups). I lead musical creativity workshops that help develop confidence in music creation/composition, improvisation, performance, and creative problem solving/teamwork. 

For information on upcoming public workshops please check back here or send me a message to request to be notified when workshop information is available


Private Music Lesson rate is approximately $50 per hour depending on location (this is pro-rated for beginner students who wish to take half hour lessons). 
Group discounts are available for music lessons 
I am willing to negotiate schedules/rates on an individual basis if it is not possible for you to schedule or pay for regular weekly lessons. 
Workshop fees will be determined on a case by case basis

If you have any questions or would like to hire me please click here or write to fiona(dot)margaret(dot)ryan(at)gmail(dot)com

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that everyone can, with work and practice, create beautiful music if they want to. When I teach, I try to meet students where they are and teach with their interests and goals in mind. It is important to me that I create a supportive environment for students, so that they can explore, experiment, and learn in an environment where the student's musician interests and ideas are respected and they are encouraged to build skills related to their interests, and then gradually expand upon these interests to include a wider range of musical styles, techniques, and repertoire.

While music students generally do share a real passion for music, I am aware that for many students, this does not extend beyond playing and listening to music. Many students find subjects like reading music, improvising, music theory, and composition to be daunting: some feel intimidated or lack confidence, and others do not see how it is relevant to their particular musical goals. I try to counteract student apathy or intimidation by encouraging students to take creative risks in a safe and non-judgmental environment and by explaining how newly introduced concepts can be relevant to the student's understanding of music and/or development of musical skills. In addition to exploring the freedom to experiment and try new ideas, I also believe it is important to work with students to build good musical habits that will enable to them to practice and develop skills in the most productive and effective ways. I aim to be approachable and create an atmosphere in which students can feel welcome to ask questions and participate in their learning experience. I do this by being friendly, encouraging, and honest when I give feedback.

Throughout my own musical studies, I have had the good fortune to study music with teachers who approached teaching and music theory from different perspectives, so I have learned to look at music from many different angles. Some of these approaches resonated with me more than others, but this diversity of learning experiences helped me become a more well-rounded musician and music teacher. As a music instructor, I aim to be able to  explain concepts in many different ways so that I can find the best way to help each student develop creative thinking that will help them make connections between ideas. 

I feel it is very important to encourage student participation and practical and creative applications of lesson materials. For example, in music theory classes and lessons I often encourage students to create and perform their own short pieces of music in order to improve familiarity with the concepts we are discussing in lessons/classes. I have attended teaching training courses, workshops, and teaching conferences, and regularly seek new ways of getting students to approach learning with excitement and enthusiasm, and to help them find links between the ideas they learn in lessons/classes and practical or creative applications of those ideas. 

I believe this attitude can help students move beyond merely reiterating information from classes or lessons to developing the confidence and ability to make their own well-informed creative decisions. I think that it is important for students of all levels to develop listening and music reading/writing skills and to understand the context and artistic intention of the music they perform or create. I believe this will help students become well-rounded musicians and help develop critical thinking skills.  

I take my teaching very seriously because I believe that teaching is a great responsibility. My goal is to help others listen to music more attentively, understand music more deeply, approach music more creatively and apply this ability to listen, understand, and think creatively to all aspects of their lives.