Music Lessons Award Winner

piano | Mr. David Finneran

Mr. Bashkim is the principal and head of the strings department at the Grand Staff School of Music. With a career of almost four decades as a professional cellist, teacher and highly sought after musician, Mr. Bashkim - Mr. B – is regarded as a pedagogue of the highest caliber. After studying with well-known Albanian cellist Ymer Skenderi and graduating from the University of Arts of Albania, he became head of the strings department and cello teacher at the Artistic School “Naim Frasheri” in the city of Vlora. Mr. Bashkim has been a member and assistant principal cellist of the Athens Symphony Orchestra in Greece and one of the top collaborators with world class Greek artists and singers such as Yiannis Parios. Mr. Bashkim is one of now few teachers in the world who possess the unique talent in pedagogy where they can teach anybody and everybody and they can teach them in a way that they, most importantly, love the cello and music.

piano & cello | Mrs. Campbell

violin & guitar | Mr. Jim

cello | Mr. B

Raised in Toronto, Ontario, David Finneran attended St. Michael's Choir School (SMCS) where he started his musical education. He studied piano through Grade 10 at the Royal Conservatory of Music and sang in concerts around the world, touring with SMCS.
David's knowledge and enjoyment of many genres of music moved him to learn guitar, drums, and organ. To further his education, David moved to Ottawa and completed a Bachelor of Music at Carleton University (CU). At Carleton, he focused on classical piano performance and composition while rounding out his knowledge in jazz theory and music history. He was also a member of three choirs: The Canadian Centennial Choir, The Carleton University Choir, and The Capital Vox Choir, a jazz choir led by Elise Letourneau. In 2011, David represented Carleton along with two other students at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards where William Shatner received his lifetime achievement award. In his fourth year, he co-founded the Carleton Music Showcase Radio show on CKCU 93.1 where he hosted a 30-minute (now 1-hour) program that highlighted the lives and works of music students at CU. 

Upon receiving his degree in 2013, David honed his teaching skills with the aim of making a career out of music. Now with over ten years of experience, he has filled his schedule with what he loves to do, teaching and performing live.


“Thinking outside the books: A review of Beethoven of Kids and its use in the private music studio.” The Canadian Music Teacher, vol. 67, no. 3, May 2016, pp. 30-32. 
“The Keys to Music Practice are Not Always Black and White.” The Journal of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association, vol. 58, no. 3, April 2016, pp. 14-16.
“Learning Music Later: The benefits of music lessons for older beginners.” The Journal of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association, vol. 58, no. 2, March 2016, pp. 13-14.
“Going into all that treble: A parent’s guide to starting their children on music lessons.” Canadian Music Educator, vol. 57, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 59-60.
“Reading Music: Children’s music books for inside and outside the classroom.” Canadian Teacher Magazine, Jan. 2016, pp. 14-15.

music faculty

piano & theory | Ms. Vera

Mr. Jim is a distinguished violinist and guitar teacher in Toronto. With over 35 years of teaching experience for all levels and an international performing career touring Europe and China, Mr. Jim is a distinguished musician and educator in the music performance and education field. His lessons are tailored towards proper technique, intonation and musicality for each student's good progress.

Mr. Jim is one of the original teachers of the Grand Staff School of Music and is one of the most sought after teachers at the school because of his unique ability and talent to teach any style! For over a decade at the Grand Staff, students and parents continue to praise Mr. Jim's teaching skills and passion for musicianship!


Mr. Matt Drewnowsky is a highly accomplished professional drummer and experienced music educator. As a graduate of York University, he has spent many years performing in various bands all across Toronto and GTA. Mr. Matt is not only a successful performing musician in his field but an extremely experienced teacher having taught at the Grand Staff School of Music for nearly a decade. 

Due to his attentive, caring, and methodical teaching techniques, Mr. Matt is one of the most sought after teachers at the Grand Staff, able to teach and demonstrate all kinds of genres and drumming techniques guiding students from the very beginner levels and all the way to advanced and professional. 

published Articles

Ms. Vera is the head of the piano department at the Grand Staff School of Music. Her extensive knowledge and experience in music pedagogy has made her one of Toronto’s best in her field for piano, music theory, harmony and history and chorus conducting. Right after graduating from the University of Arts of Albania, she was accepted into the University’s faculty and served as professor of Classical History. For over a decade she also drafted a number of the University’s textbooks and was a regular contributor on weekly radio broadcasts for music. Mrs. Vera has taught piano, music theory and choir in three languages over the past 38 years. Her lessons are geared towards establishing a solid foundation for her students and while many teachers may be able to provide that foundation it takes a special and gifted type of teacher like Mrs. Vera to maintain the up keeping of the students’ progress from very beginner levels to advanced and beyond. Mrs. Vera’s students who decide to take RCM exams on piano or theory successfully achieve their goals and exceed their own expectations by reaching results that of First Class Honours and/or First Class Honours with Distinction. Also note that the average result of all of Mrs. Vera’s theory students (on any level) is an astonishing 99.5%!

drums | Mr. Matt Drewnowsky

Mrs. Eriona Campbell is a music teacher and writer on music education, practice motivation and pedagogical techniques in the private lesson. She is a children's book author of "Orpheus and the Strings", a graduate of York University with a Masters degree in Education, a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Performance, a graduate of York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a graduate of the College of DuPage in Chicago with an Associate Degree in Arts. As a musician and a teacher, she is passionate and committed to passing on her love of music and learning.


With nearly 20 years of teaching experience in piano and cello, Ms. Eriona can blend the enjoyment of learning and making music with the importance of regular practice and persistence in the learning process. Her extensive teaching experience of the RCM curriculum enables her students to successfully complete RCM exams both on piano and cello with outstanding marks. 


Outside the classroom, she is the head coordinator for school recitals, concerts and class performances. She also writes regularly on numerous aspects of music education and has published articles for the Canadian Music Educators Association Journal, the Ontario Music Educator's Association Journal, the Canadian Music Teacher Magazine and the Canadian Teacher Magazine.

Music Lessons Award Winner