I began working with Delena Martens three years ago. She is the daughter of Ian Martens, gifted guitarist, teacher and composer. When she began studying with me, she was already a seasoned performer, playing in a trio with her father and sister, appearing regularly at venues in Saskatoon. In fact, before I began teaching her, I had the opportunity to listen to her singing and accompanying Ian at McNally Robinson. I was impressed by her sincere, captivating vocals and natural sense of musicality.
Delena came to me, having just completed a Grade Five Royal Conservatory Examination. She expressed a desire to possibly work towards obtaining a Grade Eight certificate. I disagreed. I felt that continuing her studies in a "traditional" manner would not give her the practical skills she needed to make her a better performer. I introduced elements of improvisation to her and encouraged her to explore her musicality, as well as studying more challenging developmental repertoire. Delena was open-minded and musically malleable. Soon she was playing brilliant spontaneous improvisations for me each week.
This year, our focus was to prepare Delena for an audition to MacEwan University, in Edmonton. Delena auditioned for both piano and voice and was accepted by both disciplines. She decided to pursue studies in voice.
Delena Martens is an extremely talented, musically gifted and amazing young lady. It was an honor and an absolute pleasure to be able to work with her and witness her growth over the past three years. I wish her all the best in her future musical endeavours. Grant MacEwan University will never be the same!