Music & Technology

Explore the music you want to play, the best that each music genre has to offer, from rock and blues to jazz, folk and world music in our unique program that readies you for the commercial music industry.

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  • Selkirk is one of the best places where you can go to really discover who you are as a musician. When I entered Selkirk I thought I was a folk singer, but I explored all these different styles and it’s turned out that I’m this electronic, diva, house musician.


    Music, 2009Pop Star
  • The smaller classroom size enabled me to connect with my peers and instructors on a closer level. It’s the best place to go if you want to learn in a welcoming and safe environment. I graduated from Berklee afterward but I still preferred Selkirk College.

    Tom Samulak

    Music, 2009Guitarist and Producer in Nashville, TN
  • I built on my previous skills, learned a wide variety of new ones, and was surrounded by educators who continually supported and pushed me. I was given the uninterrupted time I needed to immerse myself in my passion. I made lifelong friends. And I had the pleasure of living in one of the most magical places in Canada.

    Ami Cheon

    Music, 2016Ami is a Winnipeg-based Musician
  • Selkirk College’s Music & Technology was the first place to introduce me to recording and production techniques, which are crucial for what I do today. Additionally, the core requirements of Ear Training & Theory are something you must use every single day to be a working composer or musician of any kind.

    Sean Hayden

    Music, 2006Television, advertising and film composer
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Laura Landsberg


“Through my teaching I find great joy as I witness my students’ discovery of their most authentic voice.”

Born in London, England and raised in Vancouver, BC, Laura received her formal education at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s since taken part in numerous vocal workshops to further develop her skills as a performer and teacher. Laura has studied with Bobby McFerrin, Rhiannon, David Worm, Axel Thiemer (Voice Care Network), Dee Daniels, Kiran Ahluwalia, Joey Blake and many other inspiring teachers. She has been teaching music since 1985 and joined the Selkirk College Music Program in the fall of 2004.

Laura has been the featured soloist with the Universal Gospel Choir, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra and the Vancouver Ensemble for Jazz Improvisation (VEJI) with special guest, Cuban piano master Chucho Valdez. She has been blessed to play with many talented jazz musicians including, Hugh Fraser, Donnie Clark, Chris Brubeck, and her very talented father, Ian McDougall.

Laura has performing her unique blend of jazz, blues and gospel music throughout North America for over 20 years and in addition to having a rich performance life, she is also an experienced session singer. Laura lives in Nelson with her husband Paul and their six daughters.

Although Laura been described as “a remarkably fresh and unpretentious singer,” by the Spokesman Review, she feels perhaps Paul Grant of CBC Radio’s Hot Air put it best when he stated, “with so many singers trying to sound like someone else, it’s a treat to hear Laura Landsberg’s fresh and original voice. She’s a natural.”

Instructor: Voice, Ensembles

Don Macdonald


“My varied musical background includes experience as a performer, conductor, educator, and composer.”

Don studied violin and saxophone at the University of Victoria. He has performed on saxophone alongside artists such as Dee Daniels and Mike Stern, and on violin for a wide range of performing ensembles as well as soundtracks and studio recordings.

Don’s been fortunate to study with some of the finest contemporary style violinists in the world including Mark O’Conner, Billy Contreras and Christian Howes. His vocal background includes being a founding member of “Musica Intima” and “Chor Leoni,” two of Canada’s premier vocal ensembles, freelance work with the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and solo work with a variety of ensembles including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Don’s conducting experience includes Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir, Musical Director of the Simon Fraser University Choir and studio conductor for film and TV sessions.

Don has scored music for films featured at all the major film festivals and his score for Cannes’ Film Festival winner “Shoes Off” was recognized as “one of the most compelling original scores attached to any Canadian film, ever……” (Vancouver Province). Don’s evocative scores continue to gain special awards in the industry including five Leo nominations and two Genie nominations. Don scored the cult classic zombie movie “Fido,” starring Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix) distributed by Lions Gate. The score was recorded in Prague with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a composer of choral music and currently has five titles published by Cypress Publishing.

Instructor: Violin, Composition, Film scoring, Improvisation, Ear Training, Computer Application

Darren Mahe


“When people ask me what my job is I say, “Job? What job?” I get to hang out with 100 other musicians all eager to learn, play, share and talk about music all day!”

Mahe received his Bachelors’ of Music and Education from UBC in Vancouver and has studied classical guitar, composition, and Chinese music. He’s travelled extensively across Western Canada performing in rock clubs and has opened for acts such as Trooper, Prism, Haywire, Kickaxe and Great White.

Credentials: BMus, BEd (UBC)

Instructor: Guitar, History of Rock, Harmony

Steven Parish


“Growing up I was very lucky to meet, study and work with bona fide living legends in the field of music. My two most important mentors were Les Paul and Frankie Dunlop and they are the main reasons why I still teach. These two gentlemen, who are internationally recognized as leaders in the fields of music and recording, were so generous with their time and their passions, I feel honored to be able to continue in their footsteps.”

Steven Parish started the Music Program with Darcy Hepner, Jeff Link and Paul Landsberg in 1989. Steven’s Computer Applications to Music class was the first Computer Music (MIDI) teaching lab and curriculum in Canada. His Recording Techniques class made Selkirk the first two -year college with a state-of-the-art recording studio and curriculum in Canada.

Steven earned his BA in Audio Engineering from the Berklee College of Music. In addition to studying Drum Set at Berklee, he also studied jazz drum set privately with Frankie Dunlop (Thelonious Monk, Lionel Hampton), Latin rhythms with Frank Malabe and attended master classes presented by the great Buddy Rich.

Parish expertise comes from 52 years of study and performance in drumming with world class mentors and teachers. He has 40 years of experience in the study and operation of industry standard equipment from analog to digital.

“I get to study and play drums EVERY DAY! Doesn’t everyone want to do that?”

Instructor: Drums, Labs, Recording Techniques, Ensembles

Credentials: Studio Co-ordinator, BMus (Berklee), Percussion/MIDI

David Restivo


“…simply one of the most exceptional jazz pianists of his generation that Canada can boast of…” (Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal)

David is an award-winning pianist and composer. Born in Lansing, Michigan, molded by the mountains and coasts of New England, and based primarily in Toronto, Canada since 1982, he has been a sought-after and influential figure in Canada’s jazz community since the late 1980s. And since 2018, David has taught at School of the Arts in the Music Program.

Well-known for his work with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, the Mike Murley Quintet, and legendary songwriter Marc Jordan, David has performed and recorded with such renowned artists as Dave Holland, Curtis Fuller, Mel Tormé, Kenny Wheeler, Jon Hendricks, and David Clayton-Thomas. A dedicated music educator for over 20 years, he currently serves on the music faculty at the University of Toronto. His own teachers have included Muhal Richard Abrams, Jim McNeely, and Kenny Werner.

Immersed in the arts from birth, a chance discovery of a Dizzy Gillespie recording at an early age led him to eventually focus on jazz and improvised music, though he derives inspiration from a wide range of musical and non-musical sources, including John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Genesis, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Gustav Mahler, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Marc Chagall, and J.S. Bach.

Music Instructor: Piano, Keyboard Labs, Arranging, Recital Preparation

Credentials: MA, Composition (York University, Toronto, Ontario)

Mike Rud


Mike Rud is a Juno award-winning jazz guitarist and songwriter. He is also a music instructor at Selkirk College in Nelson, BC.

As an instrumentalist, Mike has played alongside some of the greatest jazz musicians of the era like Peter Bernstein, Kenny Wheeler, Herb Ellis and Joey DeFrancesco. As a songwriter and arranger, Mike won the 2014 Juno Award for his album Notes on Montreal, a critically acclaimed musical portrait of the city. It was inspired by the great literature set in Montreal (Michel Tremblay, Gabrielle Roy etc.) and sung by Sienna Dahlen. Mike’s subsequent 2015 solo release, Miniatures, delighted audiences across Canada, creating the effect of a small group with only his voice and his guitar. He has a master’s degree from McGill, and studied privately in New York City with one of the fathers of modern jazz guitar, Jim Hall. in 2007 Mike spent a year studying how the brain processes music, in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Levitin (author of New York Times bestseller This is Your Brain on Music).

Mike has taught at McGill, Western Washington and Carleton universities, and speaks frequently at other music schools. He is the proud father of two daughters, Kelly and Abby.

Mark Spielman


Mark’s professional career extends back 30 years, starting with a degree from the University of Miami.

First and foremost, he’s a bass player. His career has been divided equally between live performance, studio session and education.

As a member of “The Circle,” a Florida-based contemporary jazz group, he’s performed in a variety of large venues including doing opening concerts for Hall and Oates, Chicago, Rod Stewart and George Benson.

Other performance credits span a variety of styles including jazz dates with Frank Gambale, Dee Daniels and Jimmy Haslip, as well as pop/rock artists such as Ellen MacIlwaine, Shari Ulrich and Paul Janz. The list of studio session dates include jingle and live broadcast for CBC, plus numerous album productions in the role of player/producer. Currently, he arranges and writes for the 10 piece R&B group What It Is.

Instructor: Bass, Ensembles, Computer Music Courses, History of Jazz, Harmony

Credentials: Contemporary Music and Technology; BMus (Miami), Bass

John Tucker


John is a music composer/producer with professional activities including scoring and production for television series and commercials; CD production and mastering, songwriting, as well as composition for the art/dance/theatre community. My television series scoring work has appeared on CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, HBO, CBC, YTV and TeleToon, and includes three Gemini Award-winning animated series: Stickin’ Around; Sam and Max; and the Emmy-nominated Angela Anaconda. John’s commissions for Toronto dance choreographer Bengt Jorgen and Nelson, BC’s Hiromoto Ida have been performed across North America.

Prior to relocating to Nelson in 2001, John founded and partnered music and sound-design company KEEN Music in Toronto, creating hundreds of soundtracks for such radio and television advertisers as Ford, Toyota, Kellogg’s, Labatt, Rebok, Tim Hortons, IKEA and VISA.

John has a BFA from the University of Victoria, have been awarded a Golden Sheaf Award for his score to the film Inside Out, and has received Canada Council Grants for audio production. John continues to generate music for KEEN and other clients from his home studio.

Instructor: Advanced Midi, Mix & Edit, Live Sound, Music Studio Production, Ensemble

Credentials: BFA (UVic)

Melody Diachun

School Chair
“My approach to teaching promotes transparent technique, musicianship, and freedom of expression.” – Melody Diachun

I believe that singers who are confidant, well-rounded musicians are best able to function, communicate and flourish. I also believe that songwriting is a craft to be learned, and inspiration is most likely to spark when songwriters are encouraged to be themselves.

I am a vocalist, songwriter, educator, recording artist, and JUNO nominee. In 2009 I was nominated for ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ at Canada’s National Jazz Awards. I have released three critically-acclaimed albums, and appeared on award winning recordings of other artists. I am a favourite on CBC Radio and have made television appearances on BRAVO, COOL TV, Joy TV and The BET Network.

My love of music has provided me with a deeply satisfying career, one which continues to inspire and challenge me. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with fellow music lovers, and believe this enthusiasm, combined with my education, open mind, and professional experience, make me a valuable asset to the music program at Selkirk College.

My own career has been greatly enhanced by a solid music education. An early interest in singing and writing songs lead to piano lessons and later to an involvement with the school band program. By age fifteen I was doing professional singing “gigs.” I am a graduate of McGill University’s Jazz Performance program “with distinction” in Jazz Vocal Performance. In the mid-90s I was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study with Sheila Jordan in New York City.

My learning has continued on the West Coast with an invaluable, fifteen-year-long education on the bandstand, in the recording studio, and in the practice room. I enjoyed a successful singing career in Vancouver for twelve years, then joined the faculty of the music program at Selkirk College in the fall of 2012.

In 2018, I released my EP Get Back to the Groove which reflects my love of funk while letting my soulful voice shine.

Instructor: Voice, Ensembles, Songwriting, Business of Music

Frequently Asked Questions About Music & Technology

I don't live near Nelson, BC. How do I audition for the Music Program?

Don’t worry, if you live a long distance from the College, other arrangements can be made.

I nailed my audition but didn't meet the theory and ear training requirements. Am I out of luck?

Applicants who perform an exceptional audition but do not meet the theory and ear training standard will be required to attend a two-week theory preparation course in August. This class will provide basic level entrance requirements for the applicant. The applicant must have a minimum final grade of 75% in both the ear training and the theory sections to be accepted into the Music Program for September. However, applicants who do not meet the minimum standard in matching pitch will not be accepted into the Music Program.

What kind of job can I get after music school?

Many students go on to perform, become recording engineers, and/or composers, and teach private lessons.

What is the application process like?

Are my credits transferable to other schools?

The Berklee College of Music and Selkirk College have an agreement that allows students to continue on in their third year. All schools will assess you for placement into their programs. Former students who have continued their studies at other institutions have received credit for most of their Selkirk College credits. Each student’s skills are different so placement may vary.

What technology is used in the Music Program?

The recording studio uses a Protools HD system with a Pro Control digital mixer.

What instruments can I study at Selkirk College?

Private instruction is offered on guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, voice, saxophone, trumpet, mandolin, violin/fiddle. Every student will take a piano course called basic keyboard. Additional private lessons in more instruments are not available. The private lessons along with the courses are a demanding workload.

What type of music will I play at Selkirk College?

Every student will be exposed to many different styles. Jazz, rock, pop, R & B, are common but every style of music is accepted.

How many students are enrolled in the music program?

There are 85 to 90 students attending the music program across two years.

How much does the Music & Technology Program cost?

Your program will cost domestic students $9,650 to $10,500 in tuition and fees for the two-year diploma depending on specialty. International students will pay $35,930 to $26,780.

Do I need to bring my own amplifier or drums to audition?

No you do not need to bring an amp or drums. Bring your personal instrument and amplifiers for bass and guitar are available here. Keyboards (both acoustic and digital pianos) and drum sets (including cymbals and double pedals) are available for warm up and audition. You may bring your own cymbals and/or pedals if you choose. There is limited time for set up so bringing a full drum set is not advisable. Our drums may be set up for both right or left handed playing.


Start your Music application process today

The School of the Arts at Selkirk College prepares students for successful careers in the creative, craft, and industrial arts.

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