Our team of 27 teachers have outstanding qualifications as both performers and teachers and have been associated with many prestigious international and national institutions including: Julliard School, New York; London Opera Centre; Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Opera Australia; Australian Institute of Music and the Mozart Academy in Salzburg.
With a wide variety of approaches, philosophies and knowledge our teachers can meet your specific needs to guide your musical journey into the future.
Teachers at a glance.
Click on a teacher’s name to view their information.
Saadet Dagistanli - Piano
A.Mus.A, B.Mus., ASCM...(Chamber Music) L.Mus.A Grad Dip.Ed.
Saadet started studying piano at the age of eleven and gained entry to study at the Conservatorium High School where she attained her NSW Higher School Certificate. She continued her tertiary music education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree majoring in both performance and accompaniment. She has been the recipient of many music awards and prizes over the years and has been soloist with both the Sydney Symphony and the Conservatorium Symphony orchestras. Saadet has over 20 years of teaching experience and has been a member of staff at the following Sydney schools: St Joseph’s College (Hunters Hill), St Ignatius’ College (Riverview), SCECGS Redlands (Cremorne), Marist Sisters College (Woolwich), Manly Selective High School. Since moving to the Nepean area over a decade ago, Saadet has taught at both St Paul’s Grammar School (Cranebrook) and St Dominic’s College (Kingswood). Shecontinues to enjoy teaching students ranging in age and ability from Early Childhood through to HSC candidates and mature-age.
Michelle Foreman - Voice
B.Ed., LMUS., Diploma of Operatic Art
Michelle uses her international and local experience in Opera as a singer, director and choreographer to prepare students for both leisure and professional performance pursuits and to create joyous music. Her students have worked for Opera Australia and are regularly accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, excelling in AMEB and HSC exams, appearing on TV and enjoying all kinds of musical escapades. A teacher for over 25 years, she loves teaching the skills that allow singers to fulfil their dreams.
Karin Hentschel - Flute
Sydney Conservatorium of Music-ASCM Diploma, A.Mus.A Diploma, L.Mus.A Diploma
Karin is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and has attended masterclasses with Wolfgang Schultz, (Vienna) and Julius Meissen (Munich), and taken specialist tuition in Baroque music with Howard Oberg. Karin has a wealth of teaching experience, incluing the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music, Kincoppal Rose Bay, Barker College, Ascham School and Sydney Grammar Preparatory School. Her performances and recordings include The Whitlams, the SBS Youth Orchestra, television, and radio. More recently Karin has specialised in teaching children and young people, developing sound technique in a fun environment. Karin can cater to all ages, including beginner adults. Karin will teach all AMEB grades and above, but also enjoys teaching flute for pleasure. She is also very enthusiastic about flute ensembles and is planning to commence a program at Penrith Conservatorium.
Jennifer Hammond - Piano
AMusA, LMusA, LTCL, Die KunstlerischeReifepruefung (highest performance degree from Mozart Academy, Salzburg)
Jennifer is a highly experienced teacher, performer and conductor, having commenced piano studies at the age of 4. She has been awarded an OAM for her services to music and the AMEB Shield for the best results in grade 7-diplomas 1998. Jennifer has studied piano at the NSW Conservatorium of Music under the late Frank Hutchens, graduating with a Performer and Teachers’ Diploma. Jenny has also studied at the “Mozartium” Academy in Salzburg, Austria obtaining the highest degree, the “Reifepruefung”. Jennifer still performs regularly and has made 3 CDs.
Amanda Handel - Piano
MA (Hons. Composition) A.Mus.A., ATCL (T Dip.), Sydney Conservatorium Accredited
Amanda is a well established composer and performer piano teacher with a special interest in twentieth century and new music. She has extensive teaching experience with a long record of successful students working with the AMEB, HSC and UWS performance syllabi. Amanda has a Master’s Degree in Composition from the University of Western Sydney where she has also worked as a part-time lecturer and tutor in harmony and counterpoint, analysis and musicology. Amanda is a fully represented composer with the Australian Music Centre, where her music is catalogued and published under license. Her music is also available commercially through Wirripang Publications. Amanda’s work has been featured in national and international festivals and radio broadcasts, and her compositions regularly appear on the concert programs and CD recordings of renowned performers in Australia and abroad.
Ross Harries - Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
BMusEd (Clarinet & Piano), CGSMD (Perf)(Saxophone) High Distinction LGSMD (Perf)(Flute), LTCL, ATCL, LLCM, ALCM (TD) ALAM (Public Speaking) Hons ALAM (Recital) FCIM
Ross has a wealth of experience in the performing arts both as an educator and performer.
As a musician Ross has worked in the classical, jazz and rock/pop fields both in Australia and overseas.
As a teacher Ross loves to share his passion for music with students of all ages. He has taught from the very young all the way through to retirees. Students have excelled in exams, auditions and school performance work. Several students have entered tertiary programs in music on various instruments under his instruction.
Ross’s high level of training and wealth of experience is beautifully blended with his natural love of people. This makes learning music fun!
Rebecca Hilder - Voice
B. Mus.Ed (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), Dip.Op (Sydney Conservatorium of Music)
Rebecca is a highly experienced teacher and Soprano performer, with over ten years of teaching experience. She has performed a variety of roles in fully staged productions of traditional operas and new works. Most recently she completed a year with Opera Australia’s OzOpera Schools Company. Rebecca has worked with international directors such as Moffat Oxenbould, Elke Neidhardt, Cathy Dadd and Constantine Koukias. She has performed in master classes with Richard Bonynge, David Wakeham, Anke Höppner, Andrew Dalton, Barry Ryan, Jane Edwards, Janice Chapman, Nicole Dorigo (Italian and French diction) and Elisabeth Pillgrab (German diction). Rebecca worked regularly for three years with international director and movement and stagecraft coach Anna Sweeny, and has worked with Australia’s most respected vocal coaches including Michael Black, Andrew Greene, Stephen Mould, Simon Kenway and Sharolyn Kimmorley.
John Hines - Piano, Composition
M.Mus, A.D.M.T, Bach. Prim. Edu. StudiesJ
John has been teaching piano and music theory for over 30 years. Active as a composer, he has had works performed by The Sydney Symphony Orchestra as well as other ABC Orchestras and ensembles. With a keen interest in jazz practice and theory, he is active as a jazz pianist for the Hawkesbury Jazz Society.
Teri Hughes-Everard - Voice
Dip. Vocal Ed., ADIPA (Classical Voice), Advanced Cert. (Music Theatre)
Teri is a versatile performer and songwriter who teaches contemporary, classical and music theatre. She has also completed her examiner training in voice.
Teri is also the Music Director for The Joan’s Music Theatre Ensemble.
Joshua Isaac - Percussion
Bachelor of Music (Hons) Western Sydney University
Joshua is a drum kit player, percussionist, performer and electronic music producer who has completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours at Western Sydney University. An experienced teacher, Joshua’s aim is to give students a lifelong appreciation and love of all things musical.
Joshua has been teaching drums and percussion since 2010. He currently works in 4 Sydney schools enabling students to succeed in their personal instrument study or in preparation for performance and ongoing band work. He also prepares students for AMEB graded examinations upon request.
Joshua designs his lessons to build a strong understanding of music theory along with the technical skills required for drum kit and percussion performance. His lively and engaging teaching style ensures that students grow technically and as confident performers. As well as individual tuition Joshua currently directs primary school rock ensembles along with regular conducting of percussion groups to encourage students work together as a dynamic team.
Complimenting his teaching Joshua has extensive performance experience having played and recorded with jazz and improvising groups, hip hop and funk bands, rock bands and musical theatre orchestras. He has released electronic music compositions on Sydney music labels Frequency Lab and Skydreams and is currently working on new material and collaborative projects.
Cameron Kinsey - Guitar
ATCL, BA (Mus)
Cameron is an experienced solo acoustic performer and teacher based in the Blue Mountains. He has over twenty years of experience as a professional guitar player in which he has developed a fluid and expressive style. Cameron has a passion for the pure, soothing sound of the guitar and is equally at home playing and teaching classical and modern styles. He has a degree majoring in music from Monash University in Melbourne and is a registered teacher with the AMEB.
Catherine Laws - Piano
CmusA Piano, Certificate of Performance Singing, Kodaly Certificate of Early Childhood Music
Catherine’s passion for music began at the age of eleven years initially playing the organ. It was this introduction that began her life long passion for music and performance.
Catherine has been teaching piano for twenty years and more recently singing, which enables her to pass on her experiences gained by performance at weddings, restaurants and cafes to her passionate music students. Catherine teaches all ages and abilities, her teaching has been in both her private studio, Blue Mountains and
St Paul’s Grammar Prep and High Schools.
Catherine is qualified in the Hungarian Kodaly method of music teaching for infants up to five years of age, this enables her students who begin music as infants to develop their abilities to then move on to learning an instrument.
Yoko Noguchi - Piano
Yoko is a piano teacher and accompanist based in Penrith. Prior to arriving in Sydney Yoko studied piano in Michigan and California before completing her Bachelor of Music in Sydney. Yoko has worked as a dance accompanist and musical accompanist. Yoko is very passionate about teaching and the well-being of her students. She enjoys bringing fun to her lessons as well as hard work and dedication.
Lyn Phillips - Voice, Piano & Musicianship
L. Mus. A. , A. Mus. A. ,Perf Cert
Lyn is a singing, piano and musicianship teacher who shares a birthday with Beethoven (minus a few years!) She moved to the Blue Mountains in 2009 after many years on the NSW far north coast, having previously worked at the Clarence Valley Conservatorium (Grafton) and as a private teacher in Yamba.
Lyn has a keen interest in Baroque sacred vocal music, as well as art song, music theatre, gospel, jazz and folk. She has directed adult, junior and community choirs and a capella groups, arranges choral music and piano pieces and accompanies at exams, eisteddfodau and other performances.
Lyn is a regular vocal soloist in the Blue Mountains and is actively involved in church music, choral direction (Leura Singers) and private and school music tuition.
Lyn combines skill, humour and kindness to teach others how to love music for life.
Finn Pursell - Piano
Finn is a piano teacher specialising in Baroque harpsichord repertoire. At Bard College, in Upstate New York, Finn studied piano with German Diez and harpsichord with Dr. Fred Hammond. During this period, he has given recitals as both an accompanist and soloist, including a performance with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein. Since arriving in Sydney in 2000, Finn has completed research at UNSW concerning musical aesthetics and psychophysics, and continues to perform, compose and write about music. Lessons are centred around exam and recital preparation, and focus on theory, fingering, technique, interpretation, and memorization. Students perform works at the end of the year at a student recital held at the conservatorium. Click here to see Finn’s composition portfolio. Contact details: Email – firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel – 0417034642
Jessica Randall - Violin, Viola & Nyckelharpa (folk harp)
Jess first picked up a violin at the age of 3. She didn’t really know what it was meant to do but when she heard those lovely crunching sounds she was hooked for life.
Jess studied classical violin with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music until the fateful day she heard gypsy violin and was never the same again. Now she plays and composes in a Prog-Celtic Gypsy-Metal ensemble called The Crooked Fiddle Band. www.crookedfiddleband.com. They have performed throughout Australia, Europe and Scandinavia where Jess also learned to play a Swedish instrument that looks like a violin crossed with a typewriter. It’s called a nyckelharpa! www.nyckelharpaaustralia.com.
Jess likes to prepare her students to perform and enjoy music in the real world and is not a fan of exams. Her students are encouraged to play in ensembles, learn music theory and improvise.
Clare Richards - Voice
Clare began her musical studies at the The Joan on violin at age 5, and by the age of 16 also began studying classical voice. Her focus shifting just to the voice after finishing high school, completing her exams in 8th grade voice with distinction through Trinity College London, and then continuing onto a Bachelor of Music Performance in Voice from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. A recipient of the Elizabeth Todd Leider Prize, and with a great passion for new music, Clare was thrilled to round out her time at university, performing Steve Reich’s, Music for 18 Musicians with Splash Percussion at the Sydney Verge Festival, and also featuring as Amy, in new musical Just A Second.
Also while at university, Clare performed with MUSE, singing as lead soprano in Sondheim’s A Little
Night Music, and was vocal director of their inaugural compilation show. Clare has also performed as both a chorister and soloist with both the Sydney Philharmonia Choir and St James Cathedral Choirs, touring Melbourne and Singapore with the St James in 2014.
Selected as a young artist for the Canberra International Music Festival, Clare performed alongside the Song Company in various concerts across the capital city, and recently was a participant in the WAAPA International Song Academy. Clare is also a regular performer with the Voci Stupende ensemble, performing concerts in regional New South Wales.
Clare continues to work alongside coaches from Opera Australia on various projects, and looks forward to working with young people at The Joan, helping them master the best possible vocal techniques, encouraging the importance of music education, and a love for all sorts of music.
Rotraud Schneider - Violin & Viola
Teacher & Performer Diploma, (Staatl. Musikhochschule Munich, Germany),Soloist Diploma (Lucerne Conservatoire, Switzerland)
Rotraud is a well established performer and teacher having taught at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre since 1991. Previously she was a lecturer at the Wollongong Conservatorium University from 1982 – 1991. Rotraud completed her Teacher and Performer Diploma at the Academy of Music in Munich, Germany and her Soloist Diploma at the Conservatorium in Lucerne, Switzerland. She has extensive performance experience, making her first concert debut in London in 1977. She has followed this with concert tours throughout Europe and Australia, recordings for the BBC, ABC, 2MBS FM, and several CDs for Jade, NEA Music Label and the Anthology of Australian Music on Disc, Canberra School of Music.
Brittanie Shipway - Voice
Dip. Musical Theatre (NIDA)
Since graduating from NIDA (Dip. Musical Theatre). Brittanie is a Performer and a Teacher in both Voice & Drama having appeared in Ordinary Days (Chapel Off Chapel), Big Fish (The Hayes Theatre Co) and has workshopped Muriel’s Wedding as Rhonda (STC) and Evie May:A Tivoli Story (The Hayes Theatre Co, New Musicals Australia).
A corporate entertainer and cabaret artist, Brittanie has made appearances on various children shows on Channel 9 and was a Top 40 contestant on The Voice (S3). Since then, she has opened for artists such as Damien Leith (Australian Idol), Marlissa (X-Factor), and Taylor Henderson (X-Factor). In 2015 Brittanie was selected to study Method Acting in New York at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute, and went on to perform at Don’t Tell Mamma and Birdland.
Lyn Sibley - Speech & Drama
BA Theatre (Theory & Practice), Dip. Ed (Drama & English), Association Dip. (Speech & Drama)
Lyn specialises in teaching speech and drama, with her qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Theory and Practice, a Diploma of Education for Drama and English, and an Association Diploma for Speech and Drama. With over twenty years of teaching experience, Lyn has enabled many students to achieve highly in Australian Music Education Board, Trinity College and the Australian Speech Communication Association exams.
Barton Staggs - Guitar & Composition
Barton is an acclaimed composer, sound designer and teacher. Barton began studying classical guitar at age 14 and has actively performed and promoted contemporary Australian guitar music. Barton holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and an Honours degree in composition from the University of Sydney. He has won many awards including the Tait Memorial Trust Scholarship to undertake further studies in composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Barton’s music has been performed by leading performers and ensembles including Ensemble 24, Ensemble Offspring, the Tankstream Quartet, the BBC Philharmonic and other artists. His music has been broadcast by ABC Radio in Australia, BBC Radio 3 in the UK, the National Radio Network of Argentina and Polskie Radio in Poland. He has also been a feature composer at major Australian festivals including at the Next Wave Festival and the Barossa Music Festival. He currently works as a freelance composer/sound designer with the ABC Audio Arts Unit.
Jillian Talbot - Piano
Born and raised in the Blue Mountains, Jillian has been playing the piano since she was four years old. Jillian was fortunate with her musical education studying with Jenny Hammond OAM, Lily Cowen (Theory), Igor Hmelnitsky, Brian Stanborough, and achieving the Early Childhood Music Certificate with the Yamaha Music Foundation. Jillian enjoys the many uplifting tonal colors of the piano and likes to relax in her own time either playing or listening to music. More recently, Jillian has provided entertainment for fundraisers, community plays and to add the finishing touch to a special event or occasion. Jillian is passionate about learning and teaching the piano, and believes in lifelong learning, continuing her own musical education at UWS while teaching students ranging in age from 4 to 94. Should you wish to undertake exams or perhaps just enjoy the pleasure of the piano, you will be supported in whatever musical path you desire for either yourself or your child, regardless of age.
Gaye Thomas - Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet
Gaye’s musical studies began at an early age with piano, brass and recorder lessons. In high school she studied flute, saxophone and clarinet. She studied flute at tertiary level at the NSW Conservatorium of Music with Jane Rutter. Her extensive teaching experience includes Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Mackay), Mitchell Conservatorium (Bathurst), state and private schools as well as her home studio.
She is currently teaching music in several private schools in the Sydney basin, as well as public schools in the Blue Mountains. Gaye has performed and recorded with classical, latin and contemporary ensembles. She currently leads contemporary tango jazz group, Alturas. Their CD’s have received regular airplay on ABC classic FM, Radio National as well as regional radio stations.
Gaye’s latest musical ventures include developing her skills in the flamenco and Brazilian choro genres. In addition to teaching and performing, Gaye was artistic director of a successful concert series in the Blue Mountains featuring local and internationally acclaimed artists.
Sussane Towers - Voice
MMus(USA), BMus (USA), Diploma of Operatic Arts and Music Theatre (AUS)
A graduate of the Opera programs of The Sydney Conservatorium – Australia, The University of Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois University (The Marjorie Lawrence Opera Theatre) – USA, Sussane’s extensive experience as a professional performer in Opera, Music Theatre, Cabaret, Folk and Popular music has allowed her to acquire expertise in a wide range of vocal styles.
Many of Sussane’s students become graduates of prestigious tertiary colleges such as the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, WAAPA, the University of Western Sydney, the Australian Institute of Music and the prestigious Young Americans College of the Performing Arts in Corona, California USA.
A combination of extensive study in the Estill Voice Training System and E Herbert – Caesari’s belcanto concepts provide the perfect platform for a wonderfully balanced approach to the development of each client’s voice to suit their specific performance needs. Sussane has a great passion for the rapidly expanding advantages of voice science and it’s abundantly practical application for anyone wishing to be empowered to make the most of their voice. This applies as much to speech performance as well as singing.
Sussane’s clientele now includes those in a wide variety of genres of the professional speaker in the development of essential skills required by all successful presenters and actors; whether it be drama, radio, voice over, corporate presentations, public speaking, debating or improving confidence and polish for that special occasion.
Sussane also directs The Joan’s Opera and Music Theatre Ensembles.
Timothy Wells - Voice
Since completing a Bachelor Of Creative Arts (Per) Timothy has been working in all aspects of theatre. As an Actor, Singer, Director and Coach he has taught internationally in Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, SIB KL Productions, and the Malaysian school system. His experience includes working with voice, movement, and direction, crossing all styles of singing from classical to Music Theatre. Theatre credits include Talking With, Hating Alison Ashleigh and Going Nowhere. As a founding member of Cufflink Productions in 2005 the company produced Card Board Box and Popular Mechanicals. The last of which was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award and had a return season in the Big laugh Comedy Festival. He recently began teaching Voice (Singing) class for Wesley Institutes’ Drama Department and also taking on other private students.