Definitely my university clarinet teacher. After spending five years in high school (five years because I did OAC) getting sort of lost in the shuffle of the band, with solos being assigned on the basis of seniority and popularity rather than actual musical ability (I got NONE for four years, then I suddenly got pretty much all of them in OAC), and the fact that the music teachers didn't really have enough time or resources to devote to individual students as much as some of them (including myself) needed it, whether those students were struggling, or they had the opposite problem.....guess which end of the spectrum I was on? I took lessons from a private instructor in Toronto beginning at the end of grade twelve and all through OAC, when my parents finally got the sense that I was serious about doing music in university, but they were expensive, and my dad couldn't drive me on a regular basis because they would conflict with his precious golf games, so that wasn't really adequate.
So, I arrived at Bishop's with some major rhythm problems, and since the mentality of high school was "we have to learn this piece quickly," I didn't really slow down and think about what I was doing. Enter "Claire" (I'd probably embarrass her if I posted her real name on here, lol). At first, she completely tore me apart, and at first, I was SO frustrated, because it felt like no matter what I did, it wasn't good enough for her. But after a while, something clicked (no, not just the metronome she kept forcing on me, lol), and I started improving, and we became really close. Long story short....well, I can't say she *made* me love music, because I did before I started taking lessons with her, but she definitely made a difference. Before Claire, I was afraid to perform onstage as a soloist (the "solos" I'd played in high school band were just excerpts of full-band pieces), but by the end of my first year, I was not only performing, I won a performance award. Ever since I started with Claire, I've played in chamber ensembles, chamber orchestra, and as a soloist, and solo is by FAR my favourite. I told her that I really wished she could continue to be my teacher for grad school, and she said that if I went to McGill or Concordia, it might actually be possible. Now she's doing everything within her power to get me into McGill (everything ETHICAL, that is, I still recorded my own audition CD and filled out my own applications), which was her alma mater. She went there for her Master's, I think, and she also just finished a Doctorate there in the fall.