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Blog TO 

featured us in their list of top music schools in Toronto 

“For ages 5 to adult, On the Off Beat will teach private lessons for bass, cello, drums, flute or fife (fife!), guitar, piano, violin, and voice. Cool ensembles are available from this east end school as well, such as youth rock band, 4 – 8 hand piano, jazz trio, latin drumming, and chamber ensemble. All their teachers are professional musicians.”


SavvyMom Magazine 

featured us in their top 6 music schools in Toronto 

“On the Off Beat”

“Leslieville’s hip music spot is run by two married jazz musicians and offers almost everything from a musical instruction standpoint: violin, voice, piano, guitar, drums, ensembles and more for kids as young as three.”



We were named in the “Top Seven Music Schools in the Toronto” April 2016


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What do MOMS have to say about OTOB?


Little Gem in Leslieville –

On The Offbeat is Leslieville’s newest best-kept secret. My 7 year old daughter has been a student there since September, starting piano lessons. She was so inspired at the student/teacher winter holiday recital – in which she performed a simple duet with her teacher – that we stayed the entire afternoon to watch every set, and now she’s added in singing lessons.  The fact that the OTOB teachers are working musicians, often performing around town (many of them in more than one musical genre) makes the learning experience so rich and meaningful. My daughter and I loved going to see her piano teacher in a jazz gig at a club last month.

Carissa and Michael have a lovely, understated yet highly professional way of managing their growing school. They seem to know just how to keep it real and personal. Thanks!

– Mother of a 7 year old daughter


Motivating Students through Performance Opportunities –

My 11 year old Anika wanted to study with Carissa after attending a jazz masterclass where students  performed with Carissa’s jazz trio in 2010. Carissa, herself, performs  regularly in well known jazz establishments.

Carissa motivates students through many performance opportunities : performance nights at her home, masterclasses with professional jazz musicians, and participation in festivals and exams.  Carissa is on the executive of her ORMTA chapter and initiated the ORMTA Central Chapter Jazz Masterclasses to provide professional feedback and performance opportunities for students.

Carissa challenges students to assess their own performance and practice. She supports the use of practice plans and audio journals. Carissa is able to expertly model and teach students to be musical and expressive in their playing. Carissa is experienced in working with adults and teens but I find her to be particularly skilful at communicating jazz concepts to young students. This is not easy to do and I appreciate Carissa’s ability to motivate students to appreciate this art form. Being able to improvise has been an inspiring journey for Anika. It has helped Anika feel greater ownership of her music. Carissa challenges her to develop her musicianship, read charts and apply theory knowledge to her own playing. Carissa’s teaching has helped my daughter feel confident in her ability to express herself through music.

In Anika’s own words, “Ms. Carissa is awesome!”


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