Director, M.A. Community Music, Certification Levels I and II
Sasha took Music Together® classes with her children and was thrilled to find a music program which embraced such a rich variety of musical elements. As a child Sasha enjoyed making music from a young age and since has played in all sizes of musical ensembles, from duets to symphony orchestras.
Favourite food: tomatoes
Instructor, M.A., Ph.D.,
Ana Lorena Leija was born in Mexico City, where she studied theatre and worked as actor, assistant director, production assistant and director. Having completed a master’s degree in Perpignan, France and a doctorate at Université Laval in Quebec City, Ana Lorena began working in theatre in Toronto in 2009. She has enjoyed making music since an early age, and she particularly likes to sing, in the kitchen, in the bathtub or on the street. Singing keeps her happy and helps her in the daily task of taking care of her two children. She encountered the Music Together program as a parent in 2014 and immediately fell in love with it. The variety of rhythms, tonalities and lyrics of the collections fascinated her and enabled her to foster her son’s, and later her daughter’s, musical development. From her own experience, she can confidently guarantee that you’ll be taking home the opportunity to create a music-rich environment at home in which to develop your children’s innate musical ability. She absolutely loves to share the joy of making music together with her families and witnessing the little ones’ development throughout the sessions.
Favourite Food: chocolate
I grew up in Owen Sound, Ontario and I have always had a love for music. I took piano lessons for many years growing up and was always singing, whether it was in the school choir, the church choir, or at home at the dinner table! I also loved to move, dance, and play sports, and as I grew older I found that I had a love for working with children - to sing with them, dance with them, and play with them! I worked many summers as an outdoor day camp leader, which lead to my career in teaching. I graduated from Brock University with a degree in Physical Education as well as my Bachelor of Education. I have taught Junior Kindergarten, Grades 4 & 5, and have qualifications working with children with special needs.
I now live in Guelph with my husband and 3 daughters. Being home with my family has taught me that my love of music and movement is still very much a part of me, and now it is a part of my children’s lives too! We love to have dance parties at home, and spontaneous music sessions where everyone plays a different music maker. I think the best part about this is that there is no right or wrong way to move to music, and that is why children love it so much. I love creating a loving, and supportive environment for my children to experiment with their voice and bodies along to music, so that their confidence grows. I look forward to creating this experience with other families too, while teaching Music Together classes.
Sam was the kind of grade 5 student who loved the plastic recorder lessons he received at school so dearly that he begged his parents for private lessons. This love of music soon found all sorts of outlets as Sam grew up, ranging from school choirs to folk-rock bands. It was during his time working with children at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts summer camps that Sam realized just how rewarding (and ridiculously fun!) it could be to explore music with kids of all ages.
Immediately after learning about the dynamic, inclusive, and engaging curriculum that Music Together offered, Sam knew it was not only a special way for children to engage with music, but a chance for families to bond in a unique way. The silly smiles in a Music Together classroom are the proof!
Other than working with children as a camp counsellor and private music teacher, Sam is an active member of the Guelph folk community. A singer-songwriter (under the moniker Samson Wrote) and a member of several folk groups (including Guelph-based band The Lifers), Sam has released several albums of original music and has toured across Canada. He loves sharing the joy of music, whether on a festival stage, with friends in the living room, or in a Music Together classroom!
Favourite food: muffins
Music which always makes me dance: Shania Twain, "Up!"
I experienced the wonders of creative freedom in childhood due to exceptional parenting that involved early exposure to art. I was exposed to music through a mother who loved to sing. I loved it when she sang to me and I demanded a nightly bed routine of 8 german songs sung in the exact same order before I went to sleep. She transmitted to me an uncomplicated love and joy for music. My other early influence was a Canadian children’s musician named Charlotte Diamond, who sang with that same joy, and with a range and complexity that seemed rare in children’s music, which I found inviting and inclusive. I remember feeling euphoria when I listened to her music.
Singing has always felt natural to me due to this early exposure, and I have continued to sing through community activities and personal experimentation. I feel most drawn to communal, tribal style, and improvised singing - essentially, music together!
Before discovering Music Together, I worked for more than 15 years as a child caregiver, and now as a french and ESL teacher. I find joy and fun in the many routes to nurturing and enlivening education for the incredible thing that is a young mind. Children are always keen to learn, and will respond when you find the right route for them. Learning is fun and natural for all of us when we feel safe to open and express ourselves.
I pursuit of my interest in the mind and art, I landed myself a BA in psychology and a certificate in Expressive Arts, taking particular interest in what conditions give people of all ages the freedom to express and play.
Favourite food: homemade icecream sundaes