Derek Sterling is a 25 year member of the BC Registered Music Teacher’s Association, with performance and teaching skills honed in England, Canada and the US. He was awarded his first guitar performance diploma in London, England from the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama, whilst actively engaged as a guitar instructor for the Inner London Education Authority at Raines Foundation, Bow and Langdon Park Schools. He was also assigned by the Guildhall to serve as a student warden to Henry Wood House, a dedicated residence for students of the four main music colleges in London.
Following a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of British Columbia, he went on to complete a Masters degree in guitar performance at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he won a full graduate teaching assistantship to the guitar department, renewed for 5 years with teachers James F. Smith, William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant of the LA Guitar Quartet.
Winner of USC Departmental Awards in Guitar Performance and Ensemble, the Herb Alpert Memorial Scholarship, the International Students and Scholars Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, among others, he was inducted to the Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society in 1994.
Mr. Sterling was offered DMA teaching assistantships from both USC and Arizona State University. Electing to stay in Los Angeles, he gained extensive experience coaching ensemble and sight reading classes, as well as private instruction and group guitar courses to the university at large, notably receiving some of the highest ratings and enrollment numbers in the department.
As president of the Graduate Association of Music Students at USC for 5 years, he was responsible for the weekly concert series Music at Noon and facilitating departmental master class engagements. Ensemble performances with the USC Guitar Quartet at the Millennium Biltmore, and solo appearances for GIT/Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, KUSC radio, USC Symphony Orchestra, and Cal State Long Beach Ebell Club are among the many venues experienced during his graduate studies.
Master class performances with international artists include a week-long session with Segovia protege Michael Lorimer, multiple classes with David Russell and Eliot Fisk, as well as Hector Quine, Oscar Ghiglia, David Starobin, Benjamin Verdery, Olivier Chassain and David Leisner.
A strong advocate of early childhood music education, he earned Suzuki certification under William Kossler and Frank Longay and has performed as a guest clinician. Derek’s students have won numerous RCM medals and first place prizes in regional competitions, Kiwanis and BC performing Arts provincial finals.
At the start of his career, Mr. Sterling’s first guitar studio in North Vancouver grew rapidly to more than 60 students weekly during his tenure as director of the Priceless School of Music and Arts and senior instructor for North Shore Music Ltd. Recent appointments include 10 years with Amati String Studio preparing students for all levels of RCM guitar, theory, harmony and history.
In addition to maintaining his private studio, Derek Sterling is a faculty member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.