Stoney Creek vocal teacher inspires students through music

WATCH ABOVE: Teresa Cirillo is not only an accomplished recording artist, she’s also the founder and director of Studio E, a music studio that welcomes anyone and everyone despite financial challenges. Located in Stoney Creek, near Hamilton, Ont., Studio E offers a full range of training and the studio has grown from 20 students in 2009 to 400 this year. Susan Hay reports.

TORONTO – In 2009, Teresa Cirillo founded Studio E Music and Arts, a music studio that provides a range of vocal, instrumental, and performing arts training in a nurturing environment.

The studio welcomes anyone and everyone that wants to explore and indulge in their musical curiosity.

“They’re learning all kinds of music — classical, jazz, pop, contemporary, musical theatre. But all in a cool way,” said Cirillo.

Aside from being the founder and director of Studio E, Cirillo is an accomplished recording artist that has performed professionally both in Europe and North America. Her real passion, however, is to nurture, mentor, and discover the raw talent in her students.

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“We do a lot here at the studio at no charge — we accept them all,” said Cirillo.

“We feel that every student is entitled and should be entitled to have music in their lives.”

Anja Jakovina, a vocal student at Studio E, has been working with Cirillo since the age of nine.

“I got to watch her, probably when I was about 12, actually buy Studio E and start building it up from what it was — nothing,” said Jakovina.

The studio is the product of Cirillo’s vision — to create a place where her students would feel comfortable enough to explore and cultivate their musical talents.

Dylan Coneau, a student at Studio E, believes that Cirillo has given him far more than the gift of music.

“Financially, I couldn’t afford to do this and I had Teresa sponsor me. So ever since then, my life has been about music,” said Coneau.

“I stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd. I stopped doubting myself. I finished high school. I went from attending class twice a week to attending every single day.”

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In 2013, Cirillo had the opportunity to meet Oprah Winfrey.

“I get so excited when I think of that moment. I spoke to her about sponsoring children through education,” said Cirillo. “Her advice to me was to start with one person, and it will create a chain reaction. And that’s what I’ve done.”

“She’s taught me to be confident, to not care what others think,” said Jakovina. “She’s taught me that I’m beautiful inside and out, and just to really pursue my dreams.”

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