The Musicalia Story


2013!  Musicalia is now mobile!

Susan brings her happy heart to your child’s home for one-to-one lessons and small groups of 2 or 3 children.

Parents are saying how wonderful it is to have one less activity to drive to and the children are excited to play and learn with Susan in their own homes.


Private lessons

Creative songwriting for children

Multi-instrumental lessons (piano, guitar, voice, fiddle, recorder, ukulele)

Adapted lessons for children with special needs.

More about private lessons with Susan here.


In the beginning…

Musicalia was originally created to bring joy and the love of music and creativity into everyday life.

Welcome to Musicalia!

The roots of Musicalia

Before creating Musicalia, Susan worked as a private instrumental teacher throughout high school and university.  She completed her teaching degree at the University of Victoria and then worked full-time as a classroom teacher in the public schools teaching regular classroom subjects, special needs music classes, learning assistance and general music classes.

After a few years working as a school teacher, Susan realized she wanted more creativity in her life and decided to return to her art-making and private music teaching.

In addition to offering private piano lessons, she offered workshops for teachers at various schools, working specifically with non-specialists to help them create music and movement programs that could work for them in their classes.

On weekends Susan would conduct music-making workshops for families with school-age children at the local scout hall.

Susan also conducted creative arts workshops and courses in the evenings, designing curriculum for use with adults to explore the visual arts through creativity and process learning.

The baby music classes begin!

Susan’s nephew…the original inspiration for the Early Orff Program!

One day Susan’s sister mentioned that she had registered Jordie (Susan’s new nephew) for community music classes but the classes were continually being cancelled due to low enrollment.

Music had been a very important part of our own family life and it was important to all of us that Jordie be exposed to a community of music makers outside our own family.

Susan’s sister asked if she would do something (anything!) musical with Jordie.  So, on Saturday mornings Susan started facilitating music classes for toddlers.

The first class started with 3 babies and within 18 months over 80 families were attending classes.

The rest is history as Susan decided to take a leave of absence from her teaching position in the school district and lease a dedicated space to accommodate the growing children’s programs and her growing instrument collection.

That time was a period of intense study and learning as Susan travelled the world to learn from some of the best teachers of developmental learning and music and movement work for children, as she created unique multi-instrumental programs unlike anything offered in Canada.  After a few years, Susan permanently resigned from her public school teaching position to focus all her creative energies on growing Musicalia.

Susan-the-teacher becomes Susan-the-entrepreneur

For a many years Musicalia had a cozy home in a small house on Amphion Street, near the Oak Bay border.

Eventually, Musicalia grew from a one woman enterprise to a school with 5 teachers and close to 300 students.  Maybe a little too popular!  So…Susan recreated her whole teaching scene and went back to working on her own with fewer families.

Then one day, the wonderful, cozy building housing Musicalia was sold and Musicalia was forced to find a new home.

Musicalia moves to Fairfield

In the fall of 2006, Susan re-opened Musicalia in a new location right across the street from the Beacon Hill Park children’s playground.

The new location had a home for Susan and a separate building and home for Musicalia.  The new studio was a lovely, light-filled space with soaring ceilings and beautiful gardens.  It turned out that living and working in the same space was not quite the lifestyle Susan had envisioned. So the house and studio were sold.  Susan and her new husband, Nigel, moved their home back to Oak Bay and Musicalia moved back to a commercial space.

Musicalia moves to Oak Bay

After an enormous renovation (many thanks to Susan’s husband, Nigel Seale) Musicalia found its new home at 2284 Cadboro Bay Road, near Willows Elementary School.

The Musicalia Entrance/Coat/Waiting Area

A specially designed patterned floor was created for the music room

The new music room has enough space for all our dance activity as well as 2 pianos and a collection of large percussion instruments

The new music room has wonderful storage for all the percussion and movement props


Musicalia closes its studio doors on commercial space

Susan offered Orff-based music programs, private sessions, adapted lessons and teacher training in this beautiful new space until June 2012.

Families gathered here to dance, sing, play and create music.  We played instruments at every age.

Children developed skills as multi-instrumentalists playing string, keyboard and wind instruments.  It was the only music immersion program of its kind in Canada.

As usual classes were consistently full and there were waitlists for every program.

Business was good.

Susan put all her energies into keeping the atmosphere positive and energized.

Musicalia’s truly unique programs came to an end in 2012 after 8 months of unsuccessful negotiations with the property management company and landlords.  Increases in the rent would have created a truly unsustainable workload for Susan.

This was an indescribably stressful time, especially considering everything that Susan and her husband, Nigel, had poured into creating such a beautiful space.  Susan made a difficult decision to close the doors and retire from her amazing group work with children.

Without a hub space to work from and without easy access to all her equipment, even Susan’s community outreach work was affected by the closure.

Her music-making nights at Nigel House (Services for Adults with Disabilities) that brought the students of Musicalia together with the adults in residence at Nigel House were cancelled.   We have also had to cancel our performances at local homes for the elderly.

It was a sad spring for Susan and the families at Musicalia. _______________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Suess, of course, had the perfect words for our loss…

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”




Musicalia transforms into a mobile service

Susan continues to nurture and educate through music,movement and creativity by travelling in the community as a mobile music teacher.

Susan brings her happy heart to students’ home for one-to-one lessons and even classes for small groups of 2 or 3 children.

Parents are saying how wonderful it is to have one less activity to drive to and the children are very excited to play with Susan in their own homes.

Read more about private lessons with Susan here.