Dmitri Gritsaenko

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A teacher, as well as the manager at Lynn Valley Music, Dmitri has run the school for over 12 years, continuing the outstanding service, and further establishing a personal relationship with each and every one of his clients.

Dmitri’s musical career began at a young 14 years old, when he began to play at a local lounge in his home town, Gubkin, Russia. His school teachers were concerned, but when his grades remained exceptional, they too realized that music is as much of a brain stimulant, as it is an art form on its own.

After graduating from college, Dmitri worked in several Olympic cities as a pianist, including Lillehammer, Norway, and Sochi, Russia before travelling to Turkey. There, he continued to establish his career, playing as the solo pianist in a 5 star hotel, as well as with local bands, and finally performing for the former Turkish president, Kenan Evren. Dmitri made his way to Vancouver, sailed as a pianist with several high-class cruise ships, and worked for The Pacific Ballet Theatre School as an accompanist. He continues expanding the experiences he passes on to his students, performing at the HSBC Atrium in the heart of downtown Vancouver for the past 13 years, and participating in many local groups, including performing with local jazz titans like Bill Runge and Randall Stoll.

At Lynn Valley Music Dmitri teaches piano, but over the years he has also perfected his skills at the saxophone, guitar, bass, trumpet and drums. Being fluent in Russian, his students have the option of being taught in their first language, as well as getting a culturally new perspective of the music. Dmitri successfully prepares students for the RCM examinations, while teaching them to improvise and play by ear, a skill not all schools choose to teach. In his lessons, he enjoys the challenge of finding a way to have the student understand something that is difficult for them. If a student shows little or no progress, he will introduce a different method, approach and motivation, rather than assuming the student lacks skill.

Remembering what I liked, and especially didn’t like, when I was being taught music as a child helps me connect with my students, and ensure progress.

One of the many privileges of being a teacher is collecting memorable and humorous stories from students and their families over the years. Dmitri reminisces of a young mother who had signed up for beginner piano lessons. As her daughter grew older and began to crawl restlessly around the classroom, they would have to feed her treats to keep her quiet and satisfied, while continuing on with the lessons. Another, a 9 year old, never practiced at home, but learned to read the music, and managed to complete three levels of the piano beginners course.

There was also this 70 year old autoshop owner who had started beginner piano lessons with me – he was constantly chuckling to himself at the lesson, ‘What am I doing here?’ Despite, or perhaps because of, the laughs we had, he learned to play most of his favourite songs.

Dmitri favours listening to and playing jazz, pop and classical music, but believes the right song in any genre can be enjoyable. Among many, Brazilian Ivan Lins is one of Dmitri’s favourite composers. Aside from his deep passion for music, Dmitri also enjoys learning about history, science and truly enjoys a good game of tennis.