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Our Teachers


“Teaching music isn't like other jobs - it's a calling, one that requires dedication to being the best teacher you can be.”

Royal Conservatory of Music

Karen Emmond

Piano, Violin, Guitar, Clarinet, Music Theory


What is not to love about the multitudes of talents who bless our world with musical treasures?

Here are four that inspire me in my own playing and studies.

Karen’s deep passion for music, learning and teaching fuels the energy and enthusiasm she puts into every student lesson. As a Canadian National Conservatory of Music medalist and a certified teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music, she is committed to ongoing professional development. Karen’s students consistently score high marks in conservatory examinations and have been recognized with Royal Conservatory, Canadian National Conservatory of Music, and community awards.

Classically trained, Karen’s firm belief that ‘music is for everyone’ ensures all ages enjoy a wide variety of musical stylings in a structured, customized curriculum. Her strong communication skills and creative, encouraging teaching style inspires her students to strive and succeed in their musical goals, eager to tackle new pieces and levels of learning.

An expressive and keen musician, Karen’s extensive knowledge of musical artistry builds the study of music into an exciting experience, as students explore the power of music to express emotions, relieve stress, and connect with others, while fostering a lifelong source of satisfaction and personal well-being.

  • Founding member of the Okanagan’s Westside Music Festival

  • Long-time member of the Alberta Piano Teachers Association (APTA) 

  • Regular performance opportunities through student concerts, local festivals, senior residences, and community events


​"Karen is a gifted musician and teacher who truly has a way of connecting with her students.

It’s been a joy this past year to watch my daughter’s musical ability improve and her confidence grow. She loves playing violin and looks forward to lessons each week. I’m so grateful to Karen, who I feel, has gone above and beyond to encourage and support that learning and development through lessons, performance opportunities (both solo and ensemble performances), extra practices (when needed for a performance), and constant encouragement. I highly recommend West Kelowna Academy of Music."

Miranda Schulz


Julia Emmond

Piano, Ukulele, Beginner Guitar, Music Theory


1. Favourite classical piece: “Clair De Lune” by Debussy 

2. Favourite pianist: Peter Bence “Black or White” cover

3. Favourite song to relax to: “Song of Simplicity” by Elijah Bossenbroek

4. Favourite everyday song:  “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton 

Music has always played a major role in my life, and has the power to uplift, communicate and heal.


Here are some of the pieces that i love to listen to on a daily basis!

Julia is a Canadian National Conservatory of Music (CNCM) medalist whose passion for teaching is well known in the music community. A certified instructor with the Royal Conservatory of Music, her students consistently achieve First Class Honours and First Class Honours with Distinction in all piano examinations. Her piano and ukulele students love her fresh approach grounded in a thorough and skilled knowledge of musicianship, performance, and music theory as well as her obvious passion for music.

Julia began her music studies at the early age of four, and has been awarded numerous composition music awards for her abilities in piano, percussion, and saxophone. As a University of British Columbia Alumni, Julia brings a unique skillset to the Academy, with a first responders accreditation with the City of Kelowna together with University studies involving psychology and creative writing.

Julia’s passion for people and music continues to inspire her students. She blends a contemporary approach with a solid foundation in technique, while encouraging creativity through aural skill-building, composing, games, and teaching by rote. Her energy, joyful personality, personal drive for further musical goals, years of performance experience, and love for and understanding of today’s music, all combine to make her a fabulous teacher for all music goals and all ages. 


​"Julia is a fun and positive teacher and my (teen) daughter has expanded her confidence in playing and loves her lessons, including the new online ones! West Kelowna Academy of Music helped her find her own motivation to play and she is committed to completing her next level and has no plans on stopping there."

Sara Cousins

Max Kluftinger

Drummer, Composer, Student Teacher


Drummers are the backbone of a band; they keep the rhythm, the beat, and the tempo. Learning to drum develops hand/eye coordination, multi-tasking abilities, and the internalizing of rhythm, beat and tempo. This strengthens the musician for all other instruments.

Drumming also relieves stress, enables you to explore your own creativity, and introduces you to different genres of music from all over the world. You don’t need an elaborate drum kit to ‘Max’ the benefits of drumming, just your own drumsticks and a mouse pad. Then you can upgrade to whatever you want to play, including practice pads, pocket kits, digital drum kits, travel kits, even your kitchen pots and pans!

Max’s primary goal for his drum students, any age, is to enable them to find their own drumming voice. He believes in a solid foundation of drumming technique, learning to read sheet music, the internalizing of a steady beat, and developing the ability to play along with their favorite bands and songs.

Max received his first acoustic drum kit at age 3. His parents recognized his ability and passion for rhythm.  Piano lessons commenced at age 5, followed by formal drum lessons 4 years later. 

The past five years, Max has studied with Vancouver performer and drum teacher, Greg Jackson. Over the years, summer and lessons programs have included Rock Band camps, live performances, session drumming, and online teaching programs. Max’s Instagram and YouTube Channel accounts (maxkluftingerdrums and Max Kluftinger Drums) include reviews by Jaka Sinko as well as the Vater Drumsticks company.

Max began teaching students in person and online in the summer of 2020, as well as honing his teaching expertise through the guidance of experienced teachers.  Along with his passion for rhythm and drumming, he enjoys composing on the Garage Band app. Max is excited to welcome students through online instruction at the Academy, using our in-house digital drum kit and online set-up. At this time, as a student instructor, Max’s fee is just $15 per half hour private lesson but registration is limited. He looks forward to meeting his students for some in-person teaching this summer!


"Max's passion for drumming and willingness to push himself to the best he can be as a drummer and a teacher has helped me find a new desire to play one of my favourite instruments. His ability to teach the simple knowledge that grows into complex knowledge is far beyond what I expected. Thanks Max for the experience so far! I can't wait to keep working with you as time goes on!"

Trevor Hamilton

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