Meet Your R.H.M.A. Teachers

Rev with Hat

Michael McKenzie

Owner and Founder of Red House Music Academy

Guitar & Bass

Michael grew up in the small town of Medicine Hat, Alberta. He took guitar lessons from Tim Deis at “Tones and Tunes” music school and that changed his life forever. He thought, “wouldn’t it be amazing if I could some day play guitar for living?” This pursuit of all things guitars and rock ‘n roll, involved studying guitar briefly at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, three years in Calgary teaching at Guitarworks, while playing in bands, and eventually ending up moving to Toronto in 1994. He landed a gig with Canadian band Universal Honey, and spent years touring North America as support for The Goo Goo Dolls, Wallflowers, The Tragically Hip, 54:40, Alanis Morissette, and various other touring acts stateside.

Though he still loved teaching, Michael always thought of having his own music school some day. This would involve a fresh new approach to teaching and inspiring students with the latest technology available. Incorporating recording, and a rehearsal space where students could play together as a band. Thus Red House was born in November of 2009.

In addition to teaching, and running Red House, Michael plays and records with Canadian music stalwarts, The Lowest of The Low, The New Mendicants featuring Joe Pernice (Scud Mountain Boys, Pernice Brothers), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), and Mike Belitsky (The Sadies, Neko Case, The Good Brothers) as well as The Mick McKenzie Band, and Big Beat Corporation with Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde) and session drummer Justin Kadis (Platinum Blonde, Yoko Casionos, The Mean).


Al Cross


Born in Montreal, 1953, Al has always loved the drums.  He played in high school bands, inspired by local heroes The Rabble, and various bands of the day.

A life changing moment occurred as a result of a generous invitation from Art Blakey, one of the greatest drummers of all time. He and The Jazz Messengers were just about to start playing an outdoor concert when suddenly it began raining ‘cats and dogs’. The crowd went running for cover. Al and a small group of die hard music fans were left standing in the rain, staring up at the stage. Mr. Blakey motioned for this small pack to join him on stage, which was covered and dry.

Perched beside the drums, Al was treated to a life changing concert.  After high school, equipped with a little Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell and a lot of Art Blakey in his heart, Al went on to study percussion with Pierre Beluse at McGill University while working with many of Quebec’s top performers such as Dianne Tell.


Devin Herbert

Voice and Piano 

A versatile singer and pianist with experience in all styles of singing from pop/rock to musical theatre to classical, Devin is a dedicated teacher who believes that music can change lives.

 Performing professionally since childhood, early credits include singing with Juno Award winning children’s entertainers Judy & David and making it to the Top 100 of Canadian Idol at the age of 17. In addition to teaching, Devin now works in both the theatre and classical music industries, singing regularly with the Mississauga Festival Choir, at Humber Valley United Church and performing in musicals (The Wedding Singer, La Cage Aux Folles, The Pansy Craze).

Devin has a Master’s Degree in Musical Theatre Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is a graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts, and trained in classical Piano and Theory with the RCM. With experience teaching all ages/skill levels, and a passion for making music lessons both fun and rewarding, Devin can help you meet your musical goals, whatever they may be!

Deanna Mann

Piano, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Saxophone, Recording and Live Audio

Deanna grew up in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia where she followed in her family tradition of exploring music from a young age. Throughout her upbringing she had the opportunity to study and practice music in many forms, picking up a handful of different vocal styles and instruments in the process, including piano, bass, guitar, ukulele, tenor and alto saxophone, flute, and drums. Upon graduating high school, she attended St Francis Xavier University for jazz studies, majoring in voice. Soon after, she moved to Toronto and studied Musical Theatre at Randolph College for the Performing Arts, where she graduated in 2021. Deanna is proud to be a teacher, and grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn alongside her students.

Evan Sokolowski Headshot

Evan Sokolowski

Piano, Voice, Guitar & Ukulele

Evan is an actor and musician based in Toronto. He is a graduate of the Randolph College program, where he received a performing art diploma in musical theatre. He teaches voice, piano and ukulele. Evan was born in Toronto, and has always called the city home. Ever since he was young, he was involved in music. He has been involved in choirs, plays and musical performances all throughout school, and has continued with that in his professional career. He has performed at the Lower Ossington Theatre, Hart House, and has toured schools and theatres all across Ontario with Electric Moon and Big Kid Entertainment. Evan believes learning music is very important, and has enjoyed teaching with the Randolph Kids program, Electric Moon and at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. He wants to find the areas of interest for his students, and help them grow to achieve the most of their potential!


Alie Babiak

Voice, Guitar, Ukulele, Songwriting and Piano

Alexandra Babiak is a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. She began studying music at three years old at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Mississauga, studying violin and voice, and was a member of the Mississauga Children’s Choir. In November 2017, she was an independent musician in residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where she was mentored by Linda McRae, and subsequently attended a songwriting workshop in Nashville, Tennessee, June 2018 at her home. Alexandra has worked at Hazelton Place Retirement Residence as a musician in residence. She has worked with children and adults, including adults with Alzheimer’s disease. She has worked for Music Can Heal since 2018, a non-profit which provides music to those in need.

She has completed all of her Royal Academy of Dance Ballet exams. In 2011, she completed a diploma in dance and movement at École Superieure de Ballet Du Quebec. In 2011, she studied Theatre, voice and speech, and singing at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Toronto in June 2018. She has studied with teachers such as Beth Anne Cole, Brian Katz, and Stella Walker. She released her first EP “Luna”, on August 27th, 2017, which was recorded and produced by Calvin Love. Her first full length album was released January 18th, 2019, which was recorded and produced by James Gray. She has performed at festivals such as Canadian Music Week, Indie Week UK, and Northside Festival in Brooklyn, NY.


Aaron Knight

Drums and Percussion

Aaron has been studying and performing on drums, and other percussion instruments for over 35 years. Aaron has a depth of knowledge in many styles, from rock, pop, jazz, blues and beyond! His studies have included instruction at Drummers Collective in New York City, and with Jim Blackley, and Dave Weckl. Aaron’s performance experience is in diverse styles such as Musical Theatre (Mama Mia, Lion King) to Small Combo Jazz (Bob Mover, Glenn McDonald) to high volume Rock shows (Simply Saucer), and many others. He currently plays for 2017 Juno Award Winner, Paul Reddick.

Teagan Johnston

Voice, Piano and Songwriting

Teagan Johnston is a singer-songwriter who has been performing professionally
since 2013. She was born in the Yukon, raised between South Africa, Spain,
Switzerland and the West Coast of Canada and moved to Toronto to pursue a
career in music in 2014. She began studying piano at age 5 through both Suzuki
and RCM training and later began studying vocals, jazz and composition with
Vancouver Island based artist Anne Schaefer.

Previously performing under the artist name Little Coyote, Teagan has
professionally released two full length albums and two EPs. Her first EP she
recorded while still in high school with Canadian artist Aidan Knight and their
duet from the EP earned her the Youth Song of The Year award at the Vancouver
Island Music Awards in 2014. Her first full length album was released in 2017
with American record label Egghunt Records and was described as
“supernatural” by Noisey (Vice). In 2019 Teagan released a follow up EP which
she recorded in New York City with Erin Tonkon who is a recording engineer
known for her work with Tony Visconti and David Bowie. In 2022 Teagan
released her most recent full length album Sentimental Ballad for which she was
funded by a JSR grant from FACTOR. The album received play on radio
programs such as CBC’s Strombo Show and Indie88.

Teagan has extensively toured throughout North America and Europe, she will
also be touring in Japan throughout fall 2023. Teagan’s past performances
include playing a set at David Lynch’s prestigious private nightclub Silencio in
Paris FR, opening for artists such as Lucy Dacus and Japanese Breakfast as
well as playing festivals such as Canadian Music Week and SXSW.

In 2019 Teagan played her breakout acting role as Catherine in a Canadian Indie
Horror movie called The Strings as well as composing original music for the film.
Outlets such as The New York Times, The A.V. Club and more have called
Johnston’s performance and music in the film “commanding” and “magnetic.”

In addition to her career in music Teagan has been a regular contributor to the
Toronto Star’s Opinion Editorial section as well as occasionally contributing
articles for local publications such as The West End Pheonix and She Does the