Success can mean a million things, but public recognition and awards are great gauges for celebrating success as it happens.
There are many paths to success, but no guarantees. One of the keys to harnessing talent is hard work and commitment. At our Mississauga studio, we’ve been fortunate to keep company with a few students who have become renowned performers. We are proud to acknowledge the following students, and we are inspired by their success stories.
Jonathan Gallant, bassist, Billy Talent
The punk rock band Billy Talent has won multiple Juno and Much Music Video Awards. Jon started as just a teenager with big dreams studying the bass at the Wandering Minstrel with teacher Rob Burton. Jon and his high school friends, Ben, Ian and Aaron played on a lot of stages all over Canada, the US and Europe before they finally made it big. They continue to persevere and keep working hard at their craft. Jon still has family ties in Mississauga and you can sometimes spot him around town. We wish him and the band continued success and prosperity.
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Adamo Ruggerio, actor
When we first met Adamo, he was a young singer who was just beginning to explore the boundaries of his talents not only with singing, but acting and dancing as well. We helped Adamo prepare for one of his very earliest public performances, and he’s never looked back. Adamo is best known for his role of Marco Del Rossi in Degrassi: The Next Generation, and was television host of ytv’s The Next Star from 2008 to 2012.
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Jon Maharaj, bassist
Jon Maharaj is a popular name in jazz circle around Toronto. When Jon began his lessons as a teenager at the Wandering Minstrel he was playing electric bass and already showing off his impressive natural skills. He has since become a mainstay on the Toronto Jazz scene. He has extensive performance experience, and has played in the pit for shows such as “Forever Plaid”, “A Chorus Line”, and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Jon graduated from the University of Toronto’s Jazz Performance program in 2003. Jon has taught at the Wandering Minstrel during his university years, and since 2002 has been an instructor at Humber College’s community music school.
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Michael Shanahan – 2013 Winner, $40,000 Oscar Peterson Scholarship
In November 2013 Michael was awarded the $40,000 Oscar Peterson Scholarship for first year jazz students at York University. Ron Westray, who holds the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance at York, states that the award is “an ability-based scholarship. We only earmark students who sound really amazing. The scholarship in effect pays for the student’s entire time at the school.”
Michael plays guitar, and also studied piano at the Wandering Minstrel Music School under Wilson Man.
Some of our graduates attend college or university to pursue their passion for music. Some graduates even come back to become our teachers. Others are successfully playing and performing in local bands, and a few have become renowned performers. Our students have participated in “Canadian Idol’, achieved leading roles in music theatre shows, won awards at the Peel, Kawanis and Danforth Music Festivals, and delighted parents at school talent shows for years.
We’ve successfully prepared advanced students for their RCM ARCT exams (piano performance), as well as for countless university and college auditions.
A number of our talented and hard-working students have graduated from one following music programs:
- University of Toronto – Jazz Performance, Music Education and Theatre amp; Drama Programs
- Western University – Music Performance amp; Music Education Programs
- McGill Univeristy – Schulich School of Music; Graduate Program
- York University – Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music)
- University of Ottawa – Bachelor of Arts (Music)
- Humber College – Jazz Diploma & Bachelor of Music
- Mohawk College – Jazz Diploma
- Sheridan College – Music Theatre (Performance)
- University of Windsor – Music Therapy Program
- Cawthra Park Secondary School – Regional Arts Program
- Iona Catholic Secondary School – Arts and Culture Program
There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that studying music makes your smarter. Our students have proven that time and again. We salute our former students who’ve been admitted to some the most respected American universities including Princeton, Stanford and Cornell.