Founder and Executive Director
Erin believes that all children have the capacity to learn and enjoy music as long as they are in an environment that takes them where they are and uses their strengths to allow them to grow. Erin also believes in addition to simply being an enjoyable activity, that music education can lead to positive improvements in many areas including fine and gross motor, focus and attention, creativity, social development, coordination, sensory issues, auditory processing, and others.
Erin founded the Lotus Centre based on three things: her experiences teaching children with special needs, the diagnosis of her son with autism spectrum disorder, and her doctoral research. All three indicated a pressing need for a specialized centre that could provide music lessons, conduct research to determine most effective methods, and train other teachers to work with children with special needs. Erin passionately believes that music lessons can provide tremendous benefit to students with special needs.
Erin received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts in musicology, and graduate certificate in piano pedagogy from the University of Ottawa. She is currently completing her doctorate in music education at McGill University where she is researching music education for children with autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities. Erin has been teaching music since 1996 and has worked with students of all ages in a variety of settings. She frequently presents at conferences and guest lectures on music teaching for students with special needs, as well as other issues in music education.
Music has been part of Erin’s life from a young age. Beginning piano lessons at the age of 6, Erin continued to play through her undergraduate degree at Brock University, where she focused mostly on piano performance. In addition to being involved in piano, Erin has participated in various choirs, and has training in voice, clarinet, and organ. Through the RCM, she has completed her practical grade ten piano and grade nine voice examinations, as well as the accompanying theory qualifications. After completing her Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree at Brock University, Erin came to Ottawa to pursue her Master’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy with the goal of expanding her knowledge of teaching techniques and theories. Her research area of interest is music performance anxiety in children and teenagers. After completing her program in August 2015, she began her Ph.D. in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. She continues to focus her research on piano pedagogy and explore the relationships between self-efficacy and performance anxiety in young musicians. Erin began teaching piano lessons privately during her undergraduate degree, and eventually started teaching at a studio where she gained exposure to students of all ages. After taking a break from teaching to focus on her academic studies, Erin is eager to return to instructing piano lessons. After having the opportunity to complete some volunteer work with special needs children, Erin discovered that she really enjoyed working with special needs children in an academic capacity. She believes that music is a gift that children of all abilities should have the chance to experience. The knowledge she hasgained in academic and professional pursuits allows her to create a personalized teaching approach for each unique student. Erin is very passionate about helping students explore their musical potential andexperience the same joys that music has brought her throughout the years.
I started formal music studies late in life, at the age of 28. I have always wanted to play piano. Both parents were very musical, between the two they played piano, guitar, alto sax, organ, banjo and accordion, Both played for enjoyment, my mom even brought her piano to senior's apartment.
Sarah Tomaszewski is pursuing her Bachelor of Music with specialization in Music Education at the University of Ottawa. She is also completing a diploma in Early Childhood Education through Algonquin College. Sarah plans to advance into a career focused on music therapy and child development.
Sarah regularly volunteers within the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board and has experience working with students of all ages, from pre-school to high school in both musical and non-musical settings. She has specialized training in music education for children with special needs, including a two-day teacher workshop focused on students with Autism Spectrum Disorder offered through Lotus Centre.
She is also an avid performer within the musical theatre and opera community.
Receiving his Bachelor of Music degree with Honors along with a Minor in Business from Carleton University; Chris practiced in both classical and jazz guitar at University.
He believes that anyone in the right environment with the right lessons can learn and accomplish their musical aspirations. Chris is interested in teaching students with special needs to discover new and creative ways to teach and assist students dealing with their special needs while learning music.
His material consists of lessons being as simple as they can be by using a step-by-step approach in order for his students to fully understand and grasp the material while building their skills and confidence in their playing. Every student learns and progresses differently and like his lessons they are all tailored specifically to the student’s goals.
Becky believes that every child has an abundance of potential. Although some children may need different supports or adaptations, with the proper environment, each child can achieve their own personal goals.
Becky has been a member of the Lotus Centre Board of Directors since its inception in 2012. She brought with her a wide range of both administrative and children’s programming experience. Becky enjoys her work with the Board but was excited to become our studio director so that she could spend more time with students and offer more direct assistance to our families.
Becky helps to provide an encouraging and engaging atmosphere as she is often the first point of contact for students, parents and teachers at Lotus Centre. Although Becky does not have a background in music, she uses her administrative skills to facilitate an easy transition for students coming into Lotus Centre. Becky knows that families affected by special needs can have a more difficult time participating in extra-curricular activities, and she is happy to provide flexibility and understanding as needed. You will often see Becky volunteering at our day camp programs where she loves getting to know our students and has fun playing and doing crafts or art projects.
Kim is a fun loving teacher, musician, song leader, arts administrator and coordinator and choir director. She teaches piano and voice, and thanks her parents for giving her the best gift ever ... music lessons! Growing up in rural eastern Ontario, she began studies in piano at age 7, and singing lessons at age 10, and began to work as a church musician at age 12. Since that time, she has enjoyed teaching private lessons, as well as singing and playing piano with a number of choirs, groups, and working as a wedding and life celebrations musician, and as a music teacher offering private lessons. Kim's inspiration for working with special needs children comes from her family, and former students. "I believe it is a most precious gift, to have the opportunity to inspire others by giving them the time, education, and opportunity, to sing or play their own song,' she says.
Rebecca has recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree at Carleton University, with a focus in the classical stream while dabbling with various styles.
Music education is a development of skills over a period of time allowing each individual to create a relationship with music. Rebecca enjoys approaching music in such a way, that the process and progress of each student is completely specific to their needs and goals. Accomplishments are as personal as the journey, and no two will share the same experience. She believes that this is the beauty of music education and thrives on creating an open-minded and friendly learning environment.
Expanding our knowledge with any branch of education is often improved when it is shaped around the personal strengths and weaknesses of the student. Rebecca's interest in teaching students with various special needs is a way to explore an even broader horizon of possibilities!
Bio coming soon!