Two piano men in Kimberley

Two teachers bring a vast array of experience to Kimberley students.

Arne Sahlen and Geoff Haynes will be offering piano lessons.

Arne Sahlen and Geoff Haynes will be offering piano lessons.


While Kimberley will miss the talent, versatility and community spirit of pianist Tim Plait as he moves on to Europe, have no fear — two other talented, versatile and engaging pianists are ready to take up the slack.

One, Arne Sahlen, is a familiar face in Kimberley, having resided and  taught here at least part-time for the past 30 years.

Arne is returning to Kimberley after several years spent mostly in Cambodia and the Okanagan.  He has degrees and diplomas in piano performance and teaching, and taught all levels in Kimberley from 1981 to 2004, including the just departed Tim Plait, whom Sahlen calls “brilliant and beloved”.

New to Kimberley, and already deeply ensconced in getting to know it, is pianist Geoff Haynes, a graduate of the Grant MacEwan Music Program in Edmonton in 1993.

Haynes has recently completed courses in music therapy in Vancouver, and teacher training in the Dalcroze Method in Cambridge MA, which incorporates movement and improv into music education, He says he’s  eager to incorporate what he’s learned into his teaching. He has also been an accompanist for 15 years in Vancouver and Edmonton.

“With the departure of Tim there is a need for more music teaching in the Kimberley area,” Sahlen said.

Both men intend to take on students individually, with an eye to some collaboration as well.

Sahlen will offer his own particular brand of  Conservatory-type ‘mainstream’ teaching as well as jazz and contemporary, composing, and theory.

Haynes, who will be working for renowned choir director Chuck Bissett, is looking forward to teaching.

“I have mainly worked as an accompanist, but gradually became more serious about teaching. I have more skills now.

“I would think Arne and I compliment each other. I bring jazz, accompaniment and improv. Arne has been teaching classical, jazz and popular for 30 years.”

“I like to let the student drive what they may like to learn,” Sahlen said. “Some want to do the exam, the traditional route, and that’s fine. But focusing too much on the exam is like drinking  the milk carton not the milk.

“We need to keep the focus on actual music.”

Both men will have their own studios and a student can sign up with either one. But both also envision times where students will cross over to the other teacher, or learn in groups.

“Tim would sometimes accompany 24 different signers at the local festival,” Sahlen said. “But what if singer and pianist paired up through the years and developed skills together? Piano study is so solitary. If we can create more group events, it’s more fun for the students.”

“I might offer improv more,” Haynes said. “I want students to understand it’s not just the finished product, it’s getting into the mind of the composer, getting students’  curiousity going.”

“Conservatory has focused so much on recreating,” Sahlen said. “I think improv is important.”

To learn more about the lessons both men will be offering or to sign up, messages for Geoffrey and Arne can be left at 250-427-2159 or for Geoff at or Arne at