HMC provides employment opportunities for local musicians.

HMC/An Instrument For Every Child Instructors are proficient musicians, who have experience teaching music, a post-secondary education and specialize in specific instruments. Our instructors have diverse backgrounds, including; performers, teachers, producers, music therapists and composers, which ensures added depth and richness to AIFEC’s programs.

Click the names to read more about our instructors.

Abigail Henry | Violin

(bio coming soon)

Aimee Berends | Music for Wellness

Aimee Berends (MMT, BMus, MA In Progress) is a music therapist and freelance musician. As a music therapist, Aimee’s clinical focus is mental health and addictions. She has worked with clients in hospital, street-based, community and education settings. In professional music contexts, Aimee might be heard tuning the orchestra on her oboe, pulling out juicy melodies on the English horn, or jamming on the keys with any group of people. Aimee is a Music Care instructor for the Room 217 Foundation, an avid runner, a lover of cooking, and a mom to three young kids.

Amanda Jansen | Flute

(bio coming soon)

Annie Shaw | Piano / Jambassadors

Annie Shaw has been playing the piano and singing from an early age. After completing her musical studies at Mohawk College and McGill University where she earned her B. Mus Annie moved back to Hamilton to joyfully engage in many musical endeavors. As a solo musician, band leader and sidewoman she has enjoyed playing in numerous bands of many different genres (from jazz to punk to cabaret to noise). As a music educator she loves working with kids of all ages in diverse settings. Annie started her involvement with AIFEC in 2013 as a volunteer coordinator and more recently has had the opportunity to work with the awesome kids in the Jambassadors program.

Caitlin Boyle | Violin / String Ensemble

(bio coming soon)

David Baldry | Trumpet

David Baldry is a well respected trumpet player/improviser and composer in the Hamilton and Toronto music scene. As a graduate of the University of Toronto Jazz Performance Program, David has studied under Phil Nimmons, Jim Lewis and John Macleod among others. Most recently David has been cultivating his own compositions as well as working with several Hamilton and Toronto artists. As a member of the AIFEC Team he hopes to inspire his students to find joy in their achievements as well as providing accessible teaching.

David Titian | Recording Arts

(bio coming soon)

Erin Ronningen | Piano / Grade One

(bio coming soon)

Jennifer Budd | Voice / Grade One

(bio coming soon)

Liam McGlashon | Violin

(bio coming soon)

Garrett Lajoie | Ukulele / Guitar / Beats By U!

(bio coming soon)

Gosia McCarroll | Violin / Piano

Classically trained, Polish native Gosia McCarroll combines her love for performance and education. Her lifelong passion for playing gave her many opportunities to travel the world performing in small and large ensembles, taking part in various projects from the opera festivals to chamber and symphonic work in Japan, the Caribbean and Europe. Holding a Master’s degree in Music Education as well as a Suzuki trained educator, Gosia believes that every child can learn to play an instrument, given the opportunity. As a proud member of the AIFEC team, she believes that music is a great vehicle for children to elevate their self-esteem, feel important, included and inspired by what they can accomplish, and be proud of their own efforts.

Joel Banks | Ukulele / Guitar

Joel Banks is a versatile professional bassist who has performed and recorded with a wide variety of artists in southern Ontario and across the country. As a music educator, Joel has taught ukulele, bass and guitar to all ages of students in group and private settings for more than a decade, and has worked with several programs providing music and arts education to at-risk youth. Joel is excited to continue helping Hamilton youth learn and experience music with the talented team of AIFEC instructors.

Marianna Pijewska | Violin / Piano

Marianna completed her Masters of Music in Violin Performance in Poland. She has gathered extensive experience performing as a violinist for over a decade in symphony orchestras as well as a member of the entertainment department of cruise lines. Having moved to Canada and settled in Hamilton, she is excited to share her love and passion of the violin and music with others. Marianna has been actively teaching music to children since 2010 and has joined AIFEC as an instructor in 2011. Marianna’s teaching method is based on the belief that no one has insensitive ears, and that we are all created uniquely with a focus and awareness which can be developed and trained. Marianna helps develop strong ear training and sensitivity to musical tone with the understanding that every student requires a different approach and speed of learning.

Mark Caruana | Ukulele / Guitar / Jambassadors

Mark Caruana has been playing guitar and singing since age 10. He studied jazz at Humber College, and then toured extensively with Big Rude Jake from 1993 to 1997. Mark has been teaching music since 1996 and has since moved to Hamilton, now leading our Jambassadors bands as well as ukulele classes.

Matt Soliveri | Drums

Matt Soliveri is a professional drummer and instructor based out of Hamilton Ontario. Matt’s journey as a drummer began nearly 20 years ago, playing in numerous local acts before studying Music at Mohawk College. After completing his music degree, he began performing and recording with some of Canada’s top artists such as Alessia Cara, Jesse Labelle, Brian Melo. These experiences allowed him to perfect his craft as a session and live drummer. Since joining the award-winning alt-country/ roots-rock band The Redhill Valleys in 2017, Matt has continuously proven his expertise as a drummer, songwriter and performer. The knowledge and experience Matt has gained working in the Canadian music industry has funnelled into his 10-year span as a music instructor. Above all else, Matt has a never-ending passion for drumming as an art form which he hopes to pass onto future generations of drummers and musicians alike.

Melissa Dutch | Piano

(bio coming soon)

Natassja Debra | Piano

(bio coming soon)

Severine Salvador | Trombone / Flute / Piano

Severine Salvador is a trombonist/pianist based in Hamilton. Having graduated with her Hon. B.Mus from McMaster, as well as a theatre specialization, Severine is passionate about arts in the community. She performs in many genres; from military bands, to big bands, to musical theatre; which in particular she has served as an actor, a costume designer, a music director/composer, and as a multi-instrumentalist. Severine is passionate about sharing her diverse artistic knowledge with students, and is proud to have the opportunity to do so with An Instrument for Every Child.

Steve McRae | Piano

Steve McRae has been playing piano since he was eight years old. After graduating with Honours from Mohawk College, McMaster University and the Royal Conservatory of Music, Steve is in demand as a teacher, performer, church musician, and adjudicator in the Hamilton area. Mr. McRae is also very active in Hamilton’s theatre scene as a musical director, pianist, and vocal director, while also performing throughout southern Ontario in genres ranging from classical ensembles to rock tribute groups. Steve is very excited to be working with the team at An Instrument for Every Child.”


Astrid Hepner – Program Director / CEO

Jennifer Budd – School Program Coordinator

Annie Shaw – Gasworks Program Coordinator

Janice Shearer – Development Coordinator

Garrett Lajoie – Marketing & Events Coordinator

Jo Ann Salci – Community Liaison

Joel Banks – Musical Instrument Coordinator

Kristin Archer – Social Media Manager

Sue Pollon – Bookkeeper