DR. NINA SOYFER, PHD, MA, BFA, LRCM, ARCT
Dr. Nina Soyfer is a Ukranian-Canadian composer, conductor, pianist, vocalist, musicologist, prize-winning painter, poet, dancer/choreographer, and developer of the Integrated Arts Method (IAM) for teaching. She recently completed her PhD in musicology at York University. She has had over 25 years of music education and practice. Born and raised in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, she graduated from secondary music school as a piano and theory major and completed a post secondary specialized program in theory, piano, voice, composition, and conducting.
After moving to Canada and studying Classical Piano Performance at York University‘s Music department (with renowned pianist Christina Petrowska-Quilico), Nina graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 2009-2010 Nina received an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance (ARCT) with First Class Honours, and a Master of Arts in Music from York University. She has received various awards in piano performance, academics, and visual arts (including Thomas W. Doherty Prize in Piano 2008, Dean’s Prizes for Excellence 2007, Prize-Winner of “Israel in Dance and Colour” 2003, SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada, and Ontario Graduate Scholarships).
Teaching is Nina’s passion. Her teaching expertise includes piano (all levels, including RCM examinations, and improvisation), theory (all levels), voice, songwriting, and composition. In addition she enjoys practicing and teaching African percussion, visual art, movement, guitar basics, and sopilka (Ukrainian folk flute).
Nina started teaching musicianship, theory, solfège, and voice at the M.D. Leontovich Music College of Culture & Arts (Ukraine). Since 2009 she has been teaching in the music department at York University (i.e., Piano for Non-Majors, Counterpoint and Harmony). From 2007-2009, she conducted dance and music workshops in addition to developing and leading after school programs (i.e., Rhythm and Drumming, Integrated Arts, Visual Arts, and Choir) for Theatre Peace company (www.theatrepeace.ca) in several public schools of North York. This enabled her to envision an effective method of teaching and developing musical and artistic talents within students, which in turn inspired her PhD research.
While offering students the typical piano lessons (towards deep understanding of music structure, sight reading, theory, composition, interpretation, and heightened awareness of the performer who ‘becoming’ music), she also offers piano lessons in combination and interrelation with other arts (visual art, percussion, voice, movement).
Although Nina specialized in piano performance for most of her life, her all-rounded arts education and practice always went hand in hand. Her artistic experience includes: solo classical piano recitals, voice and piano recitals featuring her original compositions, visual art exhibitions, dance choreography and performance as lead dancer and soloist, choirs, ensembles, and solo vocal performances in various styles.
Nina’s career as a composer began in 2003 with her prize-winning piano miniature Frolicsome Polka, which was published in Suzir’ya Muz magazine and premiered in the Ukraine. She has since completed over 100 compositions, mainly for piano, voice, percussion. guitar, bandura, as well as string quartet and orchestra. She has also completed West African percussion inspired arrangements of intercultural folk tunes and collaborative works with composers from Tanzania, America, Russia, and the Ukraine. Her works have been performed in Canada and abroad.
PHYLOSOPHY OF TEACHING
I truly believe that each human manifests part of themselves through creative and artistic processes and expressions…
“Teaching is a joyful process where both student and teacher learn, grow, and develop. My intent is for my students to learn with great joy and highest quality, to discover and accept themselves to such a degree that I am no longer needed! In piano performance, for example, my students are encouraged to become comfortable with independent learning, reading, playing, enjoying, and interpreting any piece of music they choose.
“I truly believe that each human manifests part of themselves through creative and artistic processes and expressions (such as playing music, creating, inventing) and it is among the teacher’s roles to assist them in becoming fully integrated and developed artists.”