Darlene Irwin has a Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Toronto and an Associate Degree in Piano Performance (A.R.C.T.) from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She is a member of the Ontario Registered Teachers Association (O.R.M.T.A.) Barrie Branch and is a past-president of that organization. She is a former student of Patricia Bloomfield Holt.
Formerly on the teaching staff of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Darlene has taught private piano in the Barrie area for many years. Her interest in and dedication to young people is reflected in her many years of involvement in the Barrie Kiwanis Music Festival. As one of the founding members, she helped to establish the festival in the Barrie area in 1984 and she served for over 20 years either on the board of directors or as head of the Piano Discipline. In June 1995, Darlene received the prestigious Civic Award of Merit in Cultural Achievement from the City of Barrie for her outstanding musical work in the community.
Darlene is the author and founder of Pre-School Music for Children, also known as Music for the 'Bear-y' Young. Through this unique and creative program, many children have been enriched musically.
She is also the author of "The Student Music Organizer", a book used widely in the Barrie area and in other areas of the country.
Darlene maintains a private studio in Innisfil, Ontario. She has been teaching in the Barrie area since 1980. A number of her students have won top Awards at local Music Festivals and Provincial competitions. Students have also won many ORMTA Examination Awards for highest marks on Conservatory Exams in the Simcoe County area.
When asked to summarize how she feels about teaching music, her reply is simple and it is found in her studio motto:
"Great Music Comes from the Heart."