Instructor Feature: Anna Nykonova

 

Next in our new bi-weekly Instructor Feature series: singer, pianist, songwriter, and composer, Anna Nykonova!

Choosing a Musical Path

My story is not as much about how I got into music, because my parents brought me to an arts school when I was 4 years old, but it was about how I decided to make music the main part of my life. When I was graduating from this school, I was sixteen and was starting to think about what university and path in my life I have to choose. I just thought… I can’t live without music. Literally, I can’t live without rehearsals and concerts, without singing, playing, composing, all this stuff. So I chose pop singing at the Kharkiv Academy of Culture.

 

A Variety of Styles

I actually like many, many styles of music. In every style, you can find something interesting to work with. As a singer, I prefer things like musicals or pop style, sometimes rock, and some songs with folk elements. It’s very interesting, because I’m from Ukraine and we have a lot of interesting folk stuff and national pecularities that you can use in pop music.

For playing piano and composing, I like very much styles from baroque to impressionism. A special place in my heart belongs to movie soundtrack music… but I don’t like avant-garde! Though it can be useful for some things… like a horror movie.

 

Current Projects

I would like to tell you, I am just on the beginning of my musical path. I got my Masters degree only two years ago, and I’m still starting to work on different projects. So after graduation, I took part in many shows, concerts, musicals, and different projects not only in Ukraine, but also in Poland, where I felt like a city star.

Here in Canada, I am trying to find my own way, and to understand how it’s going to work for me here. I’m also performing in concerts with the Ukrainian community here in Halifax to share our culture. It’s actually very interesting right now, and I’m still singing and creating my own music. I’m also taking a composition class and feeling very happy about this, because it was one of my dreams to be able to compose.

So right now, I’m trying to improve all the things that I am able to do. To sing, my piano skills, my composing skills, etc. I’m trying to make the most of my time around my teaching schedule to keep building my career as a musician.

 

About Teaching

I was very worried about becoming a teacher originally—I didn’t want to become like one of the boring teachers from my past. I never want to be strict or boring; that’s my greatest fear. Working with my students, I always try to find the things they like and to work especially with the music that they like. Even if the music is something very hard for them, I try to make my own arrangement for them so they will be able to play exactly what they like. To work with what you like is the most successful, easiest, and most interesting way to learn. The same is for vocalists: I help people to discover the possibilities of their own voices using songs they like. In my opinion, to feel comfort and feeling that the teacher really hears you is the main part of learning. I’m trying to find the key to every one of my students.

I also try to combine the Canadian teaching programs, like Piano Adventures, with my European schooling, and try to use the best and worse parts of both these schools. So I’m trying to make use of the best things from all the schools that I know, and to draw on my experience from Ukraine and from Poland.

 

Favourite Thing about Canada

You know, there is no war here, and that is my favourite thing. Because of peace, that is my favourite thing being here in Canada. Also after more than a year of living here I surely can tell that I like people here. Their kindness, joy and helpfulness. I thought it’s a joke about friendly Canadians before, but now I see it’s true, and it makes me feel very safe and comfortable here. 

 

Anna teaches piano and voice lessons with Ekko Studio, Tuesday through Saturday. You can read Anna’s shortform biography and also book lessons online via her page: https://ekkomusic.ca/anna-nykonova

A live performance of Anna’s song “Це Сон” (“The Dream”), is available for listening on Spotify, and other major streaming and music platforms.