Peer to peer teaching is a vital part of OrKidstra and we encourage and foster mentorship with all of our students – whereby the child who knows 4 notes can help the child who only knows 3.  We took this philosophy to another level from our very first classes in 2007 and with partnerships with Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy, and local high schools, we have been able to attract talented, compassionate youth who want to make a difference.

We have enjoyed and benefited from the support and friendship of many amazing mentors of all ages a year since 2007; mentors make such a profound and positive impact on OrKidstra students. The mentors also benefit, because there is no better way to learn about your playing than to teach it! All high school students can also use this opportunity to fulfill his/her required volunteer hours.  Most of our high school mentors have continued mentor experience with us for many of their high school years.

Our mentors for the 2016-2017 year are as follows:


Mentor Spotlight

Carolyn Farnand, Viola

Carolyn_Farnand_s_photode8921030fa2Carolyn Farnand, shown here with her OrKidstra stand partner Jennifer Wang, was a Canterbury High School student who volunteered every week as a mentor in the OrKidstra program for 4 years. Carolyn started playing the violin at age 6, switched to the viola 4 years ago and began studies for a B.Mus. in viola performance at the University of Toronto in the fall. In January 2013, Carolyn gave a recital at St. James United Church and donated the proceeds to OrKidstra. Thank you, Carolyn, and good luck in your studies!


Miguel Borges-Porteous, Violin/Viola

2013-05-26 19.12.06

As a volunteer through the academic year 2012/13 Miguel Borges-Porteous was involved with the Senior Strings and Chamber Music groups. Upon graduation of his undergraduate degree in language and history, he was attracted to the OrKidstra program believing it would be a meaningful way of  supporting the local community.

He told us that it was something of a surprise for him at how much he took away. His passion was not only rekindled in the violin (which he played since a young age but had not taken the chance to pursue professionally) but the enthusiasm and warmth of all the participants and staff were a great support to his personal development and further studies. He is now back in University pursuing post-graduate studies abroad, but he and the Quintet stay in close contact.