Karen Nakajima

Karen is a pianist, trumpeter, music theorist, and educator in Delta, BC.  She has been teaching music since 2005, privately and in the classroom.

Karen has her Master of Arts in Music Theory (UBC, 2013) and her Bachelor of Music (UBC, 2010).  She has also received her Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT), the highest level of Piano Performance in the Royal Conservatory of Music.  Furthermore, she has studied music in Vienna, Austria at the Universität Wien and Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien.

Unlike many musicians, Karen is proficient in three different musical areas: piano, trumpet, and music theory.  See below for more about Karen's musical background. 


Karen teaches private piano, trumpet, and theory lessons at the Delta Community Music School

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Karen conducts the wind ensembles of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra

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Teaching Approach

Karen's teaching approach focuses on:

  • Primarily on learning music and having fun doing it!
  • Building students’ confidence and self-esteem
  • Adapting my teaching to fit the individual needs and learning style of each student
  • Providing students with effective practice strategies
  • Using your body efficiently when it comes to playing trumpet and piano
  • Offering performance opportunities
  • Encouraging students to listen to recordings and go see live performances
  • Inspiring and motivating my students by being a positive role model and showing love for music



Karen began piano lessons at the young age of five and continued with them through to university.  In her university studies, piano was her principal instrument.  Her teachers were David Vandereyk and Terence Dawson.  She has participated and won prizes in local festivals, and in 2008, she placed first on piano in the Capilano College Scholarship Competition.  Later that year, she was the featured piano soloist with the Capilano Wind Ensemble, playing George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  She performs locally at many different kinds of events around the Lower Mainland.  She also accompanies singers and instrumentalists and plays piano for the Holly Elementary school choir.


Karen discovered the trumpet when she was twelve and became highly involved in the elementary and high school band programs.  Karen’s teachers were Steve Woodyard, Martin Berinbaum, and Alan Matheson.  She performed in the Capilano Wind Ensemble, UBC Concert Winds, UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and many other university chamber groups.  She currently plays with several bands who perform in the Lower Mainland, has led brass ensembles and runs brass workshops at schools.  She also performs solos often for holiday occasions.  Her interest in trumpet has led her to also conduct elementary band at Cliff Drive Elementary in Tsawwassen, and also the Wind Ensembles of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra.

Music Theory:

Karen’s university studies focus strongly on music theory.  She wrote her Master thesis on the “Effects of lessons in Schenkerian analysis upon students' performances of tonal works”.  Furthermore, she presented her paper, “Conception of Meter in Japanese Taiko Drumming” at the Pacific Northwest Graduate Student Conference in 2012.  Not only has she taught and tutored music theory privately, but she also taught first-year Musicianship and Remedial Theory courses at UBC during her Master studies and is currently teaching Studies in Musical Form at Capilano University.



I took piano lessons from Karen in 2010/2011 for one year while she studied in Vienna.  I was a total beginner with no musical background and Karen made me love and appreciate playing piano.  She is a remarkable, very talented and passionate teacher with lots of patience and enthusiasm.  Karen's teaching style is very encouraging and I was very inspired by her love of music.  I would highly recommend Karen to anyone.  

H. Weegh

Karen made my beginner's trumpet lessons in 2013 fun and inspiring! A fine musician on a few instruments, she is also an excellent and patient teacher in theory and practice. Karen is creative and has a good sense of humour as well as a sense of healthy discipline when it comes to practicing your instrument!

C. Clennan

In 2012 I started my Masters of Music (in Trumpet Performance) at the University of British Columbia. One of the components of the course is Piano Proficiency.  Although I had already studied music for about eight years I had only briefly played the piano and therefore the Piano Proficiency Exam was very daunting! I started taking weekly lessons with Karen from the middle of 2012 to the middle of 2013. In this time Karen took me from level zero to a University Piano Proficiency level and I was able to pass my exam the first time due to her help. I really enjoyed learning from Karen! Even when I had started to learn harder pieces she provided me with fundamental exercises, which greatly increased my technical skill and therefore my learning speed. Lessons were always very relaxed and yet still very productive. There is no doubt in my mind that Karen is a very gifted teacher and as a music teacher myself I highly recommend her to all ages and abilities.

N. Hall

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