Yanive Feiner is a renaissance man of sorts: he’s been a music teacher for over 20 years; his photography is being used by various businesses and associations around the West Kootenay region; he’s written one of the anthems being used by the Trail Smoke Eaters hockey team; he facilitates memory-stimulating programs for residents at long-term care homes; and he’s involved in many community fundraisers. He says he loves Castlegar because of “the incredible support of the community” as well as the beauty he experiences driving his motorbike around the region. We caught up with Yanive to ask him more about what inspires him to do as much as he does.

Hey Yanive. Your music studio is in Castlegar. Is that where you grew up? ​

I grew up in Toronto and moved to North Vancouver in 1999. In 2007 I moved to Castlegar and eight years later I bought a home in Salmo and commute daily. I really enjoy the drive as it gives me time to plan lessons, reflect and unwind.

You’ve been playing music for over two decades. What’s your preferred instrument and style and what local bands have you played in?

My preferred instrument is guitar and I love all genres of music. I grew up listening to and learning heavy metal. These days I find myself gravitating toward the blues. However, I do find that the original music I’m currently writing is still on the heavy side. My last original piece has been picked up by the Trail Smoke Eaters and is being used as the entrance theme for the team during home games.

The last local band I played with was a Tragically Hip cover band called Practically Hip. I also played three seasons with the SwingSations, which is a 17-piece big band based out of Trail and led by Clark White who is a retired music teacher from JL Crowe secondary school. Over the years I have been writing, producing, recording and performing with several local singers/songwriters such as Nina Amelio, Reiss Zibin and others. For the last three years I’ve been on contract with Interior Health, facilitating a memory-stimulating, live-music program for residents at two long-term care homes, and I am also teaching music to patients at the Daly Pavilion in Trail.

What got you involved in teaching music?

I started teaching music 20 years ago to friends and family. I found it to be really enjoyable and very rewarding. When I moved to Castlegar, teaching music was something I wanted to pursue as a career. At the time I was an insurance broker and I started teaching part-time in the evenings. Within two years, I was able to build up my student base and start teaching full time. Supercat Studios has a School of Rock-type approach to teaching. We offer both group and private lessons and we cater to all learning styles for all ages.

It’s so great to watch kids transform into rock stars! Having fun and cultivating expression and confidence through music has always been my approach. It’s something I love to do every day. Theory is slowly introduced in a fun and exciting way and all of our students get to jump on stage and perform in the community every year during Spring Fling, Sunfest and at the Castle Theatre, which has supported the studio since day one. As students advance, more theory is introduced and many of my students have carried on to the music program at Selkirk College after graduating high school. I also specialize in working with kids and adults who are on the spectrum and other stretches. This brings me so much fulfillment and I love to see the positive impact it has on my students and their families. Supercat Studios has always been focused on inclusion and support for everyone in our community, providing everybody with a safe and supportive environment to learn in.

What’s the most challenging thing about teaching? What’s the most rewarding thing?

The most challenging thing about teaching is finding that particular way a student learns. We are all completely different and we all learn in different ways. Finding the right approach is paramount when helping students navigate their learning experience. I need to be able to mirror an individual student’s approach to learning and relay the information in ways that allows them to receive that information effectively. The most rewarding things are the smiles on their faces. I love watching students gain confidence and benefit from all the good things music brings to one’s life.

You also have a creative flair with photography. How long have you been doing that?

I am starting my third year as a photographer. I began learning it from my partner’s father, Bob Dyke, who is an incredible photographer. He gave me a solid foundation in photography and since then I’ve studied at YouTube University and spent hours and hours practicing and forming my style as a photographer.

What are your favourite subjects to shoot?

I love all styles of photography and I love learning new styles. My photography business has been growing organically. I shoot everything from portraits to products, website content, and real estate. As well as contract work with the City of Castlegar and other municipalities. As a licensed drone pilot, I have been branching out in other interesting markets of photography as well. I also love landscape and wildlife photography and anything that catches my eye. I really enjoy highlighting local landmarks in our area as well. Doing it in my own artistic style is so much fun. I make a point of consistently learning new techniques and styles. It’s important to keep moving forward with experience and knowledge.

Have you ever combined the two passions of music and photography into a project before?

This is something I have been thinking about a lot. I would like to start doing concert photography. It feels like the next natural step for me. I would like to use my photography combined with my original music as another way to merge and showcase both worlds. I’m not gonna lie, my combined passions have contributed to G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) and I’m always looking for an excuse to acquire more guitars and camera gear. Thank goodness I can legitimately write them off.

What do you love most about Castlegar?

First and foremost the incredible support of the community. Both in helping build my business and the incredible support for the many fundraisers the studio has put on to help the community in any way possible. Everything from concerts in support of cancer research to raising money for the local food bank as well as KAAP (Kootenay Animal Assistance Program) and families in need. Although I own a home in Salmo, I spend much of my time in Castlegar, both at the studio and with my partner. We love exploring the area, especially on a motorcycle. There is so much beauty surrounding us.

What’s the funniest moment you’ve had while working?

Running late and realizing as I pulled into the studio that I was still wearing my slippers.

What’s some advice you have for kids interested in getting into music?

Do it! Music is the one thing you can take everywhere with you. It’s something that will help you express feelings and give you an artistic outlet. It’s also amazing for the brain. Learning music creates new neuropathways, which help in so many aspects of life. I wasn’t into sports, so music was a great alternative when I was growing up.

Where can people find more information about your work?

For information about the studio the website is supercatstudios.com. My photography can be seen on my Instagram at @yanivebc. I can be reached at supercatstudios@gmail.com or via phone at 250.365.1671.