With nearly twenty years' experience inspiring cellists from diverse musical backgrounds, learning styles, ages, and abilities, Erika's teaching philosophy is to encourage and nurture students as individuals, in the way that they learn best. She uses a warm, encouraging approach with a deep sensitivity to individual needs, while maintaining a high technical and musical standard, helping students to achieve mastery at every level.
As a young cellist, Erika’s first professional engagement was playing cello for a production that starred individuals with developmental disabilities. The experience of sharing, expressing, connecting, and creating community with these extraordinary individuals sparked Erika’s passion as an educator, and fostered her love for teaching cellists of all ages, levels, and abilities.
In addition to receiving excellent musical instruction from master teachers and mentors throughout her career, Erika is certified through The Royal Conservatory and the Suzuki Association of the Americas, where she completed her teacher training with Susan Gagnon. She is in high demand as a private and guest instructor across Ontario, and has taught some of her students for over eleven years.
Erika is currently on faculty at National Music Camp of Canada and the Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki Program—a position she also held at the ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival—and is also an itinerant instructor for Havergal College and Branksome Hall. She has also coached actors to play the cello on film, including Nina Dobrev in the 2017 remake of Flatliners, and the actor in the music video Man of Two Minds by The Trews.
Erika maintains a busy "cello family" private studio, and offers performance opportunities, Suzuki Method teaching, Royal Conservatory Exam preparation, and university audition preparation. She shares her love of music and passion for educating in her bright and cozy studio in Seaton Village where she lives with her husband, bassist and composer Graham Smith. During COVID-19, Erika is offering both Skype and Zoom distance learning.
Erika's students have enrolled in or participated at institutions and ensembles such as:
- The University of Toronto Faculty of Music
- The University of Ottawa School of Music
- Queen's University School of Music and Drama, Kingston
- National Music Camp of Canada, Orillia
- Music at Port Milford Summer Festival
- The Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki Program, Toronto
- Havergal College and Branksome Hall schools, Toronto
- Etobicoke School of the Arts, Toronto
- Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Toronto
- Father John Redmond Regional Arts Program, Toronto
- Cawthra Secondary School, North Toronto Collegiate Institute
- The Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra
- Summerhill Community Orchestra
- Counterpoint Community Orchestra
- Mooredale Youth Orchestras, Toronto
- The Toronto All-City Orchestra
- The Kingston Youth Orchestra
- The Stringtown Orchestra, Kingston