The Vancouver Island Music Academy takes a holistic approach to learning and playing music. We believe that being a musician is more than just playing an instrument at a high level. Regardless of age or experience, every student at VIMA learns how to be the most complete and versatile musician possible. This is reflected by the enormous breadth of our class offerings.

Private Lessons (Strings, Piano, Composition, Conducting)

Each student at VIMA will receive a minimum of six (6) private lessons with our distinguished faculty members. Private lessons are offered for Strings (as a principal or secondary instrument), Piano (as a principal or secondary instrument), Composition and Conducting. Students will have the opportunity to indicate the teacher(s) of their choice during the application process, and every effort where possible will be made to match them with their choices. Students will also have an opportunity to indicate how many private lessons they would like for each category. For example, a violin student can indicate to have all six private lessons on violin or four (4) private lessons on violin, and two (2) for conducting. A piano student can indicate to have all six private lessons on piano or three (3) private lessons on Piano, and three (3) for composition. Any combination which equals to six (6) private lessons is acceptable. For students who wish to have more than six private lessons during the two-week Academy, this will be accommodated with a surcharge of $150 CAD per additional private lesson.

*Private lessons are held every other day at VIMA.*



Directed by esteemed Canadian composer Christine Donkin, the musicianship group workshop offers students instruction in Composition, Improvisation, and Ear Training.

Composition offers an exciting experience for young musicians of all levels with a passion for composing, writing and discovering new music, and an interest in developing their compositional technique. 

Improvisation offers students an opportunity to learn about the art of improvising. During the 17th-19th centuries, it would be commonplace for performers to improvise Cadenzas and short pieces in a concert! The skill of improvisation has largely been forgotten and neglected in the recent past, and thus it is one of the most important workshops offered at the Academy. This class will greatly enhance the overall musicianship of each student. Skills and techniques needed for improvisation in any musical genre will be discussed at length. 

Ear Training introduces and covers all the basic skills and techniques required for any musician. Topics to be covered include: development of ear training skills through performance and dictation; study of melodies, intervals, harmony, and solfege in major and minor keys; development of sight-singing skills; study of rhythms, meters, conducting patterns, and notation; keyboard harmony; part singing; contrapuntal and harmonic dictation.

*The Musicianship group workshop is optional for all students and is offered at least twice at VIMA.*


Directed by Maestro David Bui, VIMA offers a unique opportunity for young musicians to gain hands-on experience and expert tuition in conducting. Our conducting group workshop encompasses all the essential rehearsal and performance aspects for the aspiring conductor. Topics to be covered include: score reading and preparation; score analysis and its historical context; baton technique; rehearsal and time management technique; controlling, shaping and phrasing techniques through hand gestures. Selected students will have the opportunity to conduct the VIMA Senior Orchestra and recieve feedback from our resident conductor in our Conducting Masterclass. 

*The Conducting group workshop is optional for all students and is offered at least twice at VIMA.*


Singing in a choir is one of the most crucial disciplines in music and this training is integral to the development of any musician. Directed by David Bui, the choir program at VIMA is designed to improve a student’s solo and ensemble (choir) singing and solfege abilities, as well as exploring a diverse range of choral styles. Through the choir program at VIMA, students will find invaluable benefits like improved breathing, muscle tension regulation, listening, matching pitch, and teamwork. 

*Each student at VIMA is required to attend Choir rehearsals. It is a mandatory program at VIMA, held every other day for one-hour.*

Rhythm Bootcamp

Where math meets music - Rhythm is one of the core components of musicianship. The ability to subdivide time both in our mind and in our body enables our ability to coordinate relaxed technical movement into organized and expressive sound. Violinist and conductor, Kevin A. Lefohn, shares his sequential methodology of rhythm training in this series of interactive workshops. Open to all musicians, this energetic course culminates in a competitive "Rhythm Olympics”.

*Each student at VIMA is required to attend Rhythm Bootcamp. It is a mandatory group program, held every other day for one-hour.*

Chamber Music and Ensembles

Participation at VIMA's Chamber Music and Ensembles Program is mandatory for every student. Students will receive a minimum of six coachings with faculty members. Placement and pairings are established according to the student’s chamber music experience that was described in the application form as well as the audition tape. At the discretion of the Director and Faculty, students may be moved from groups as necessary due to individual music ability, group dynamics, and/or coaching preference. Most students will be assigned to one chamber music group for the duration of the Academy. Some strings and piano students will have two groups.

Chamber music groups consist of duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and octets if necessary. There will be a minimum of four Chamber Music Concerts during the Academy. 

Piano Ensembles: each piano student (as their principal instrument) will automatically be enrolled in the piano ensembles program at VIMA. There will be daily rehearsals and coachings with faculty in the afternoons while the orchestras are rehearsing. 

*Chamber music is a core discipline at VIMA and scheduled rehearsals/coachings are held every other day. Piano ensembles rehearsals and coachings are held everyday.*


Participation at VIMA's Orchestra Program is mandatory for each string student. Students will take part in either the VIMA Senior Orchestra, Intermediate Orchestra, or the Junior Strings. Placement will be determined by the audition video recording that accompanies each student’s application. 

The orchestras perform regularly in various on-campus venues. The rehearsal and performance schedule is rigorous, and performances are at a high professional standard.

The VIMA Senior Orchestra is directed by our resident conductor, Maestro David Bui. The Orchestra will present two complete programs in the Academy. The VIMA Intermediate and Junior Strings are led by our faculty which specialize in working with and accomodating young students. 

*Orchestra is a core discipline at VIMA and rehearsals are held every day of the Academy.*

Orchestral Audition Preparation Class

Open to strings students, this seminar is specifically designed for those aiming to excel in orchestral auditions. Those wishing to audition for professional orchestras and youth orchestras will find tremendous value in attending this class. Led by Concertmasters and Principal players of major orchestras, the setting for the class will mimic a “masterclass”; each student will play orchestral excerpts for the faculty member whilst the other students listen and watch. Apart from the orchestral excerpts, there will be much time devoted to discussing the “art” of auditioning, as well as preparing for an audition.

*The Orchestral Audition Preparation Class is an optional seminar held once at VIMA.*


Led by our distinguished faculty, numerous Masterclasses are held throughout the Academy. Every student will have the invaluable opportunity to perform in a Masterclass. Through consultation with students and their private teachers, the faculty member who leads the class will make the final determination of who performs and the repertoire they will play. Each Masterclass is open for everyone, and students are encouraged to attend each class to hear the thoughts and ideas of faculty members, as well as support other students who are playing.

*VIMA will host at least two strings and piano Masterclasses during the Academy.*

Scales, Etudes, Technique Class

Led my various faculty members, the Scales, Etudes, and Technique course is one of the most important ones offered at VIMA. This class offers tremendous insight into the fundamentals of instrumental playing. There is a class for strings students, and a separate class for piano students. The class is arranged in a group workshop setting, where every student will have an opportunity to play and ask questions pertaining to instrumental technique. The faculty member(s) leading the class might also have a focus topic for a class, and the entire workshop would be centred around that topic.

*The Scales, Etudes and Technique Class is a mandatory seminar held twice at VIMA.*

Performance and Creativity

Led by Cintia Cristiá, this workshop provides the opportunity for students to have a deeper understanding of the works that they are playing (solo or chamber repertoire) by exploring the connections between those pieces, their own perception and emotions, and extra-musical elements in a creative way. Theoretically, it is based in the concept of Deep Listening and in the writings of artists and composers about the connection among the arts (Klee, Kandinsky, Wagner, and Messiaen, among others). 


Students work individually, in pairs or in groups, taking turns to perform their pieces in front of the class, talk about them, or provide a creative reflection of the pieces. Guided by the facilitator, students reflect on music in a creative way: what emotions does the music evoque in the listener? What thoughts, memories, or ideas spark in the listener? What actions does music incite in us? Students are invited to use different materials to express their ideas: movement, words (poems or stories), drawings. Exploring the other direction (from emotion, movement, words, and drawings, to music), students will be asked to express musically a thought, an image, a story. 


- Drawings, poems, and stories will be exhibited during the last few days of the academy. 

- Compositions or improvisations may be recorded and shared with the other students

*The Performance and Creativity group workshop is optional for all students and is offered at least twice at VIMA*

Concerto Competition

The Concerto Competition offers students the opportunity to perform an entire Concerto with the VIMA Senior Orchestra during the final concert of the Academy. The Competition is divided into two rounds, and each faculty member will serve as a judge. There will be one grand prize winner from the Strings category, and one from the Piano category. The winning Concerto must be scored for string orchestra or have a readily available transcription for string orchestra. 

*Participation at the VIMA Concerto Competition is optional.*