• Aaron Carey

  • Ashley Turner

  • Betty Young

  • Carl Schmidt

  • Chaylah Chivas

  • Derek Galloway

  • Dimitri Vouros

  • Dr. Phillip Rutherford

  • E-Yang Liu

  • Elisabeth Jacobs

  • Emma Townsend

  • Fiona Lugg

  • Gerard Masters

  • Guy Strazz

  • Heather Hinrichs

  • Joanne Arnott

  • Joanne Mcmahon

  • Karina Hollands

  • Kevin Smith

  • Liam Burrows

  • Liisa Munnukka

  • Matthew Ardern

  • Matthew Brooks

  • Melissa Lark

  • Michaele Archer

  • Naomi Blanch

  • Nicole Wyatt

  • Patrick Brennan

  • Radu Boros

  • Rosalie Bourne

  • Sean Steele

  • Sharon Hatton

  • Steve Smillie

  • Suzie Kim

  • Tibor Szakos

  • Tim Page

  • Trish O’Hearn

  • Vicki Harris

  • Yvette Masters

Aaron Carey

Piano teacher | Keyboard Club

Aaron, who teaches in the Conservatorium’s Keyboard Club, began as a piano student at a very young age, and completed his AMEB piano studies with A+ High Distinction in Grade 8, as well as achieving a Band 6 in both HSC Music 2 and Music Extension (Performance) in 2018. He was the winner of The Pearl Beach Senior Music Scholarship and People’s Choice Award in 2018.

A former Central Coast Conservatorium of Music student himself,  who learned with Carl Schmidt, Aaron graduated from Macquarie University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in pursuit of his long-held joint passion for both music, sound and research. Aaron has secured a place to further his studies with a Masters of Research in Cognitive Science in 2024, and is looking forward to the opportunity to combine his passion for music with research in sound, hearing and the brain.

As a teacher, Aaron enjoys building great working relationships with the broad range of students he teaches. He began mentoring young students in his early years of High School in both music and other subjects, and loves sharing his passion for music with young learners. Aaron is a firm believer in the value of musical education to help young students grow, and loves seeing them build their confidence and skill by sharing his knowledge of music and playing the piano.

Carl Schmidt said of Aaron: “I have had the privilege of guiding Aaron from the early stages of his musical development. His innate passion and talent for music have been evident from the start. Aaron is a versatile musician who excels not only in playing the piano, but also in singing. He has a great spirit of generosity and enjoys passing on his musical knowledge to others, sharing his abilities and joy of music through his teaching.”

Ashley Turner

Improv Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Bass Guitar Teacher

Ash has a Bachelor of Music from the City College of New York and an Assoc. Dip. in Jazz Studies from Sydney Conservatorium. He was awarded Australia Council of The Arts grants to produce his own CD “Beautiful Open Spaces” and for study in New York, where he worked as a freelance bass player for 6 years.

Ash has worked with many of Australia’s leading jazz artists including James Morrison, Vince Jones, Dale Barlow and Bob Barnard. He has also backed mainstream artists such as Marina Pryor, Dave Hobson and Monica Trapaga.

Betty Young

Brass teacher & Concert band Conductor

Having spent many years teaching Music in both public and private schools in Western Australia, Betty moved to the Central Coast with her husband in 2023 to be closer to their first grandchild.

With a depth of experience playing trumpet, cornet and flugel, and also experience playing trombone and horn, in a wide variety of bands and orchestras, Betty knows only too well the incredibly positive impact that playing music can have on a person’s life, and she endeavours to pass on that passion to her students.

Betty has experience as a secondary classroom Music teacher, but has predominately been a Brass teacher, covering all brass instruments and teaching from beginners in primary schools through to advanced secondary students. Betty has directed a variety of ensembles, both primary and secondary, including concert bands, swing bands, brass ensembles and a symphony orchestra. She has also been integral as a teacher and director on five school Music tours to Singapore, performing to and collaborating with schools visited on the tours.

Betty is delighted to be a part of the vibrant team of music teachers in the schools’ programme at the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, and now teaches Brass and conducts concert bands at several schools on the Central Coast.

Carl Schmidt

Head of Piano, Curriculum Co-ordinator

Acclaimed pianist and Head of the Central Coast Conservatorium’s Piano Department, Carl Schmidt, has performed all around the world – from European palaces to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Concerts have ranged from intimate recitals for diplomats to grand choral masterpieces with full orchestra. In addition to his classical background, Carl enjoys listening to, and playing, music from many different genres.

“Much like appetite changes, so does my musical mood. I have a very eclectic taste in music and on my commute up and down the freeway I can be listening to anything from Rachmaninoff concertos to Elton John,” says Carl. In fact, it wasn’t until he was eight that Carl, who was born and raised on the NSW Central Coast, took to the piano after finding his mother’s old records of the Chopin Etudes. “My mum played the piano a bit, but both parents were not really musicians. My great grandmother however, apparently played piano for the old silent movies back in England,” he says.

It was always Carl’s childhood dream to study and perform in Europe, and after graduating with 1st class honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music he went on to complete a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands. He has also regularly appeared as soloist and member of various ensembles around the world and is an accomplished accompanist, chamber musician, and a senior piano examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB).

It was while living in the Netherlands that Carl was invited to give a recital for foreign diplomats and members of the international courts on a brand new Steinway housed in the grand ballroom of a historic palace in the Hague. Carl said it was that moment, plus being part of a performance of Carmina Burana at Sydney Opera House, was one of the highlights of his career. “Being on stage in the middle of such a huge orchestra and choir in such an iconic venue was definitely a memorable experience for me.”

With over 25 years’ of teaching and performing experience, including adjudicating at all levels from local scholarships through to international competitions, Carl says his main goal as the Head of Program and teacher at the Central Coast Conservatorium, is to “help students of all ages and abilities discover the amazing world of music to further enrich and expand their own world, as it has my own”.

“My affiliation with the Conservatorium goes back to the ‘80s and I am excited by what the future holds for the organisation. I look forward to being part of an organisation that provides the highest level of musical tuition and whose name is synonymous with musical excellence on the Central Coast. The gift of music is one that we have a duty to share, and it is a gift that has the ability to shape lives.”

When he’s not playing, practising, listening to, examining, or teaching music, Carl – a father to three energetic boys – enjoys learning new skills, from creating websites and designing apps to building a swimming pools and doing stand-up paddleboarding.  “Whatever challenge I take on I like to do it with 100 per cent focus and commitment.”

Carl holds a 1st Class Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Masters of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands. While living in Europe Carl was invited to perform in the 2004 International Chopin Festival in The Hague and with Steve Reich during the 2003 Steve Reich Festival. He has recorded the complete Chopin Preludes and the Brahms Fantasien Opus 116 and has been soloist with the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, Balmain Sinfonia and Sydney Youth Orchestra. He was a recitalist for the Sydney Conservatorium’s Virtuoso Piano Series and a lecturer and performer at the 2008 Summer Piano Teachers’ Festival.Carl is an experienced examiner and adjudicator and was a jury member for the 2016 Australia Chinese Arts Study & Exchange Association International Music Festival Piano Competition. He continues to give workshops, recitals and masterclasses for NSW Music Teachers’ Association and other musical organisations state-wide.

Chaylah Chivas

Violin Teacher

Chaylah began singing at a very young age and started studying Violin at the age of 10, quickly developing refined skills in violin technicality, musical performance etiquette, music theory, and musicology.

She has performed countless times with members of the Sydney Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic through Central Coast Conservatorium of Music orchestral programs, both as a student and a teacher, and has participated in multiple years of State Music Camp and State Choir camps.

After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School, she went on to complete her Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance at the Australian Institute of Music.

Chaylah, whilst teaching through the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, is a regular orchestral freelancer in the Greater Sydney and Central Coast area, performing throughout the year with various orchestras and ensembles, including Symphony Central Coast, Central Coast Youth Orchestra, Sydney Contemporary Orchestra, Sydney Concert Orchestra, and Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Sydney.

Derek Galloway

Flute Teacher

Meet Central Coast Conservatorium’s Scottish-born flute tutor Derek Galloway, who has played professionally for many years and was the founder of the award-winning Zonda Flutes trio based in Glasgow.

The son of a professional opera singer, who performed with Scottish Opera, Derek’s first introduction to music was playing piano, recorder and then tuba in the school band in Kilmarnock. “I was made to play the tuba and I hated carrying it around – it didn’t even have a case!” he says

“Our conductor was the brass advisor for the area and we practiced every school morning at 8am and recess and lunchtime then two or three after-school rehearsals a week.

The practice paid off and the band was crowned Butlins Youth Brass Band Champions of Great Britain three years in a row and played at Royal Albert Hall. “It was there that I got the music bug.

Despite his brass band success, Derek’s dream was to play the flute. So at 14, he made the switch, and has been playing ever since.  Derek went on to study flute with Sheena Cochrane art Napier University in Edinburgh and with Sheena Gordon (Scottish Chamber Orchestra).

“The only teaching job I could get out of Uni was two days a week on the Isle of Arran – only accessible by boat. If the boat got stuck you would be stuck there for days!” Instead, Derek performed in the evenings with orchestras – including Glasgow Wind Band (one Europe’s premier symphonic wind orchestras) – while also pursuing a career in catering and teaching privately

Since moving to Australia in 2008, Derek quickly established himself as a popular music educator and flute teacher, guest conductor and ensemble coach.

In 2021 Derek launched Flute Connections, an organisation that provides professional flute workshops and events in NSW. Derek also owns and runs Syrinx Music – a specialist flute and woodwind print music shop in Lane Cove

Derek is an Associate of Trinity College of Music London and has a Diploma in Music from the Open University, he is also a body-minded practitioner. He is the NSW representative of the British Flute Society and is a committee member of The Flute Society of NSW
Derek teaches flute in the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Schools Program and also takes one-to-one lessons at the Conservatorium campus in Gosford.

“I love it when they ‘get it’. When the student ‘gets’ that note for the first time,” said Derek. “My lessons are shaped for each individual personality and musical tastes and they are always going to be fun.

When not teaching flute, Derek likes musical theatre, eating good food, cooking and gardening.

Dimitri Vouros

Clarinet & Saxophone Teacher

Dimitri Vouros is a woodwind instrumentalist, educator, and composer based on the Central Coast. He has recorded and performed with many jazz artists over the years and done session work for television and radio. Before moving to the Central Coast, he taught music privately and at schools across Sydney.

Dimitri attended the Sydney Conservatorium High School, where he studied clarinet with Ros Dunlop, piano with Stephanie McCallum, and saxophone with Mark Walton. He was in the SBS Youth Orchestra at its inception. After high school, Dimitri studied at the Canberra School of Music and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. His main inspiration at the Conservatorium was the pianist and saxophonist Roger Frampton. As well as his training in classical and jazz saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Dimitri studied Indian transverse flute (bansuri) with Pandit Ashok Roy and Japanese flute (shakuhachi) with Grandmaster Riley Lee.

Since 2008 Dimitri has played clarinet with the Joseph Tawadros Quartet and is on the albums “Angel” (2008) and “The Bluebird, The Mystic and the Fool” (2018). He has performed with Joseph Tawadros (AM) and pianist Matt MacMahon at many venues, including Arts Centre Melbourne, Canberra Street Theatre, Elder Hall, Bundanon Trust, and NSW Government House. He has collaborated with the Kurdish musician Muharrem Aslan and arranged the music of well-known modern Greek composers for performances at Enmore Theatre and the State Theatre. In 2021 Dimitri was commissioned to compose and record jazz tracks for the Australian film “The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour”. In 2023 he toured Victorian Schools with the band Mara! for Musica Viva. Dimitri is currently playing alto saxophone with the Mike Kenny Sextet and will be recording original music with his own jazz quartet sometime in 2024.

Dimitri enjoys teaching clarinet, saxophone and flute, whether beginners or more advanced students, and is dedicated to sharing his knowledge of musicianship and improvisation, whether in individual lessons or in larger ensembles and bands.

Dr. Phillip Rutherford

Head of Musicianship, Brass Teacher, Conductor (School Bands)

Phillip received his PhD and Masters in Music (Composition) at Sydney Conservatorium, and received his Bachelor of Music at Newcastle Conservatorium.

He works as Head of Musicianship, teaching all aspects of Music Theory, history and composition, and has written a series of books as a new Musicianship course, The Poco Musician.

As a performer and conductor Phillip has previously been Musical Director of Gosford City Brass Band and Central Coast Youth Band, and has performed in the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, Central Coast Brass, Gosford City Brass Band and Waratah Brass.

E-Yang Liu

Brass Teacher & Youth Orchestra Conductor

E-Yang studied Composition at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he developed an interest in conducting and teaching. He studied phrase style conducting through the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association (ABODA) Professional Development course with its maestro, Jerry Nowak, eventually becoming an instructor on the course.

E-Yang has worked under several respected directors and performed with the likes of Sydney Conservatorium of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble, City of Sydney Wind Ensemble, University of New South Wales Wind Ensemble, The Occasionally Performing Symphony Orchestra (TOPS), Sydney Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and the News South Wales Detachment of the Royal Australian NAVY Band amongst many others.

Elisabeth Jacobs

Piano teacher

As Founder of the Scottish International Piano Competition who received musical training at the highest level in Sydney and Russia, as well competing on the international stage and performing with ABC orchestras, piano teacher Elisabeth Jacobs brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music.

Elisabeth began learning piano at five then received her early training at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, graduating with many prizes. Before moving to continue her studies in St Petersburg Conservatoire as a Churchill Fellow, Elisabeth won the ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition, a prize which allowed her to record and perform with the major orchestras in Australia including the ABC orchestra in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. “A highlight for me was performing Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in the Leningrad Philharmonia Small Hall on a wonderful Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano,” she says.

Upon completion of studies in Russia, Elisabeth competed in a number of International Piano Competitions in Moscow (Tchaikovsky Competition), Lisbon (Vianna da Motta), Vercelli and Leipzig (International Bach Competition). From St Petersburg Elisabeth moved to Glasgow where she took up the position of lecturer in piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

It was Elisabeth’s experience in piano competitions that she says was “invaluable” when it came to setting up the Scottish International Piano Competition, which she founded with Royal Scottish Academy colleague Bernard King. Elisabeth says her years of performing, teaching, giving masterclasses, as well as being the official accompanist for the International Competition of Junior Violinists held in Glasgow and sitting on the jury of the Scottish International Piano Competition leave her well-placed to now pass on her skills, passion and knowledge to music students on the Central Coast.

When it comes to her own favourite works, Elisabeth is moved by works by Beethoven and Strauss. “I love so many works but I am completely transported by Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the Grosse Fugue. But American opera singer Jessye Norman singing Im Abendrot by Strauss is totally irresistible.” It is this love of music Elisabeth hopes to pass on to her pupils. “To quote the Russian School of Piano Playing Book 1, as a piano teacher I aim to ‘instil in the pupil a love of music as an art and the ability to portray its different feelings, moods and emotional experiences associated with everyday life’” says Elisabeth.

Emma Townsend

Violin Teacher, Music Therapist

As a registered music therapist, violinist and chamber musician with a background in early childhood education, Emma Townsend is well-placed to understand the needs of young music students and how to nurture their talents.

“My studies in music therapy and early childhood education have given me a greater understanding of the emotional world of children. This has made me better at adapting to the client/student and their needs as well as building greater connections with students and clients,” said Emma, who is the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Head of Music Therapy and violin tutor.

“It is important to me that my violin students are provided with a nurturing learning environment in which they feel safe to express themselves creatively while being able to develop their technical skills,” said Emma.

“And as a music therapist, I’m constantly witnessing my clients’ newfound awareness and accomplishment as they achieve their goals. These experiences can be insightful, poignant, or purely joyful. I feel very privileged to be a part of these moments and it makes my job very rewarding.”

Emma grew up in Tamworth, first learning piano in her early years and then beginning violin through the Suzuki Method when she was eight. While at school, Emma was concertmaster of the Tamworth Regional Youth Orchestra, and performed in programs with the Australian Youth Orchestra.

She went on to gain a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Master of Music Studies (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying under Dr Evgeny Sorkin. Then, combining her interest in music, medicine, and psychology, she gained a Master of Music Therapy through the University of Melbourne.

She has experience as a music therapist in hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, early childhood intervention programs, community disability groups, adult mental health and in private practice.

Emma said the highlight of her career was being awarded a BBM Award for outstanding achievement in the field of music which enabled her to travel to the UK and United States where she studied with prominent teachers from the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, London Guildhall of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the New England Conservatory (Boston).

“I was able to learn from many inspiring musicians who each gave me a unique perspective on performance and life. I believe this experience gave me the motivation and confidence to share my love of music through performance, and to support others through music therapy.”

About Emma

While studying at the Sydney Conservatorium, Emma was a concertmaster of several ensembles, including the Conservatorium Opera Orchestra, and the Asia Pacific Chamber Orchestra. Emma has also been a principal second violinist in the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. She is also an alumni of the Australian Youth Orchestra. Emma performs regularly throughout Sydney as an orchestral and chamber musician. She was a member of Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Sinfonia Emerging Artists Program, and has since performed with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Concertante Ensemble, and the Verbrugghen Ensemble.

Fiona Lugg

Double Bass & Electric Bass Teacher

Fiona Lugg (MMus, BA, AssocDipJazzStud) is a bassist with a career spanning over 30 years of performing, recording and touring playing a wide range of music styles, with a strong interest in jazz.  She currently works with local and Sydney jazz bands performing at Sydney’s premier jazz venues.

As a freelance bassist Fiona has a large skill set playing dance music styles:  Argentine tango, Brazilian, Cuban, RnB, folk and indie/country. In an orchestral setting she played with the Sydney Opera House Proms Orchestra, Kuring-gai Philharmonic and Willoughby Symphony.  For several years Fionaworked overseas on ocean liners playing and arranging music for the ballroom dance band.  She lived in Cuba for several months studying music education.

Gerard Masters

Vocal & Piano Teacher

Gerard Masters grew up studying music in New Zealand and now lives on the NSW Central Coast Australia where he makes music with some of the best acts in the country. Gerard is consistently involved with many high end pop groups including Missy Higgins, The Potbelleez, James Morrison, Pete Murray, The McClymonts to name a few.

Born in Masterton, New Zealand, Gerard moved to Christchurch at the age of 10 and began studying  piano, violin and voice. In 1995 he went on to study jazz piano with Doug Caldwell at the Christchurch Polytechnic Jazz School. While there he became very active in the local jazz scene and took part in many local and national gigs, including a tour with the New Zealand Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 1996 he was awarded the best pianist award in the under 25 section at the New Zealand National Jazz Festival in Tauranga. He was also a member of the New Zealand National Youth Choir and was involved in national tours and recordings.

After completing a Diploma in Jazz Studies, Gerard headed to New Orleans to work with Carnival Cruise Lines jazz orchestra before moving to Sydney, Australia to study with world renowned jazz pianist/composer, Mike Nock at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Gerard plays regularly at top music venues and has also performed at the Australian International Jazz Festival, Sydney Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Wangaratta National Jazz Festival and St Kilda Festival.

Gerard is a multi instrumentalist, and performs on piano, guitar and electric bass, as well as working in nightclubs and private functions a DJ, spinning crowd favourites and cutting-edge dance music.

As a singer, Gerard has a wide ranging repertoire and covers songs from artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Coldplay, Daft Punk or Frank Sinatra. As he says: A good song is a good song!

Guy Strazz

Head of Program (Guitar) & Guitar Teacher

Renowned guitar master Guy Strazz grew up in a musical family going back four generations and started playing guitar when he was eight.

Currently Head of Guitar at the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, Guy has had an extensive career touring, recording, composing, and teaching. He has worked with Australian greats such as Don Burrows, Vince Jones, George Golla, Dale Barlow, Neil Armfield (Keating!), David Jones, Steve Hunter, Sandy Evans, Slava Grigoryan, Riley Lee, Nigel Westlake, and Matt McMahon. International collaborations include Iwayan Balawan, Dwiki Darmawan & Ade Rudiana (Indonesia). Ashok Roy, Sandip Chatterjee, and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (India). Rodrigo Galvao, Marilane de Mello (Brazil), Furio Di Castri & Francesco D’Auria (Italy), Martin Taylor, and Ike Isaacs (UK), and Ernie Watts, Don Rader, and Mike Stern (US). 

While Guy has played with musical greats, and graced many international stages, he is also passionate about teaching music. “There have been teachers in my family, so teaching has been part of what I do naturally” and at the core of it all, I enjoy seeing a student feeling happy to play music, whatever the standard, that’s the reward.”

A dedicated and experienced teacher his students play rock, jazz, metal, Latin, blues and more. Several of Guy’s students have gone on to establish strong music careers, such as Aaron Flower – winner of the National Guitar Jazz Awards and guitarist with Vince Jones, Wendy Anggerani and Luke Liang – pianists/guitarists with Guy Sebastian and Ronan Keating. 

His CCCM students do consistently well in being awarded scholarships such the Allen Family Scholarship, Pearl Beach Association Scholarship, and Bouddi Foundation Scholarships. 

About Guy

Guy lectures in Harmony and composition at Avondale University.  He holds a PhD and master’s degrees in music as well as B. Mus and a Jazz Diploma.

Guy’s teachers in his early development include luminaries such as George Golla, as well as Americans Mike Stern (ex-Miles Davis) and the legendary Pat Martino. His classical guitar teachers were John Della Torre (Adelaide Uni) and Greg Pickler (Sydney Con).

Guy is a recipient of an Australian Performing Rights Association APRA Award and two APRA nominations; an Australian Indi Recording (AIR) Nomination for Best Jazz Release; an Indie Acoustic Project USA Finalist for Best Global Beat Release; and an Australia Council Music Fellowship performing. composing, and researching in Europe, the US and India. 

Heather Hinrichs

Cello Teacher

Heather’s musical training has been extensive, having studied Cello Performance at Northwestern University (USA), The Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy (USA). Additionally, she won places to participate in several intensive programs specialising in orchestral and chamber music, such as Meadowmount School of Music, Interlochen Arts Camp, Kent Blossom Music Festival and more.  She is an avid orchestral, chamber and session musician who has played in musicals, operas, ballets and on recordings. Heather performs regularly with various ensembles in Sydney and on the Central Coast and enjoys teaching cello to students from school age through to adults.

Joanne Arnott

Woodwind Teacher/ Band Conductor

Like many young children, Central Coast Conservatorium of Music woodwind teacher and Schools Program Band Conductor  Joanne Arnott’s first music performance experience came when she joined her school’s recorder club. No sooner had she mastered the recorder, Jo then picked up the clarinet – firmly cementing her love of all things woodwind

While proving herself adept at playing a wide variety of woodwind instruments, it is the recorder which has always held a special place in Joanne’s heart

She went on to gain both her A.Mus.A and L.Mus.A in recorder – AMEB diplomas awarded by examination to outstanding candidates in the fields of musical performance and music theory – and a first class honours Bachelor of Music Performance and Master of Music Performance from Sydney Conservatorium

A founding member of The Australian Recorder Project, Joanne has taught recorder, clarinet and flute for 20 years and saxophone for eight. With a love of medieval and baroque music, Jo also tutors at early music workshops and has performed extensively with early music ensembles as a recorder player

Joanne said it is her dream to build an early music ensemble and recorder consort at the CCCM, and is excited to be starting this initiative as part of the Schools Program this year.

“I love medieval and baroque music, as I find it mesmerising and calming both to listen to and to play. The florid ornamentation of the late baroque period is particularly stunning and rewarding to play.

An enthusiastic music teacher, Joanne said she is passionate about creating a rewarding learning environment and instilling confidence in her students

“I love to inspire students to learn and feel excited and passionate about music, and to help create a community in which music is an integral part of everyday life.”

Joanne Mcmahon

Childrens Music Program Teacher

Joanne McMahon is an Early Childhood Music Teacher and is Director of the Central Coast Children’s Choir and Katandra Voices. She has varied musical experience and training, including experience as a chorister, solo performer, choral conductor and educator, singing and piano teacher and early childhood music educator.

Joanne has accompanied the Central Coast Children’s Choir on many tours including working and performing with Brisbane Birralee Voices, Young Voices of Melbourne and Sydney Children’s Choir over the past eight years.

Karina Hollands

Head of Program (Strings), Violin Teacher

Karina Moss-Hollands is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed her Master of Music Degree majoring in violin performance and teaching. She is principal violinist and artistic director of Concertante Ensemble, the Central Coast’s own chamber orchestra.

She is currently our Head of Programme – Strings and the Concertmaster of Symphony Central Coast.

Kevin Smith

Clarinet & Saxophone Teacher, Conductor (PWE & School Bands)

Kevin Smith is a clarinet and saxophone teacher who studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Elizabeth Lim and has performed and toured extensively with youth orchestras and chamber ensembles both regional and internationally including the Sydney Youth Orchestra, Knox Abbotsleigh Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic.

Kevin accompanied the Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic on their regional tour in 2008 as soloist, performing the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto culminating in a performance of the work at the Sydney Opera House.

Liam Burrows

Vocal & Piano Teacher

Award-winning singer-songwriter, performer and former Con student Liam Burrows is a talented jazz performer, recording artist and Australia’s Got Talent 2011 finalist and teaches contemporary vocal and piano teacher at CCCM to high-school-age students.

“I remember some of my favourite musical experiences as a child were at the Con and one of my most influential teachers, guitarist Guy Strazz, is still teaching. I can’t wait to bring my contemporary energy to such an amazing institution,” he said.

Described by jazz legend James Morrison as “a great ambassador for jazz”, Liam has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the music scene over the past decade, while continuing to develop as an exceptional and unique entertainer, performing all over Australia as well as overseas.

He has recorded two albums – All of Me (released aged 17) and Feel Free in 2019. He was named Best Jazz Artist at the Australian Music Industry’s MusicOz Awards and has performed more than 350 shows around Australia. He also supported the Pointer Sisters during their national tour.

A gifted entertainer, Liam has also performed as headline act on Australian, British, American and Norwegian cruise ships and has made regular appearances on TV shows including Channel 10’s The Circle and Seven Network’s The Morning Show and All Together Now.

Liam completed his Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Performance in 2016 and graduated from the Australian Institute of Music in 2017.

Liam says his biggest inspirations are Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and John Mayer and proudest musical achievement is when he was selected as a finalist for the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in LA 2015. “I was flown to LA and had the opportunity to perform for Herbie Hancock.”

Liam grew up in a musical family and says he I always knew he would be working in the music industry. He also runs his own successful wedding photography business.

Liisa Munnukka

Piano teacher

Liisa was awarded a Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance) from Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has extensive experience as a rehearsal pianist and accompanist and is a member of the Accompanists Guild of NSW.

Matthew Ardern

Keyboard Club teacher

Matthew Ardern is a talented local pianist from Terrigal. He is an active performer, with great teaching experience, currently completing a Masters of Music under the tutelage of Ludmila Beliaviskia at Excelsia College.

Over the course of his studies he has been highly commended numerous times by the Sydney Eisteddfod across multiple categories, including the piano polyphony, Chopin and concerto catergories. He also stood as an orchestral pianist for the Strathfield Symphony’s 2019 performance of Saint-Seans’ ‘Organ’ Symphony, and in 2023 performed the third movement from Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Concerto with the Symphony Central Coast.

Throughout these years accumulating experience, qualifications and accolades, he has also spent considerable time pouring his knowledge and passion for music into others through private teaching and time volunteered to teach at Sunday school.

Before studying music Matthew studied Chemistry and Geology at Macquarie University, however realised his passion lay elsewhere, deciding instead to engage in piano studies at Excelsia College in 2019, recognising that his long held enjoyment of playing the instrument might also be the pathway to his future.

Matthew Brooks

Piano teacher

Born into a musical family, as a youngster Matthew studied piano, violin and guitar. After choosing in his early teens to focus on the piano, he achieved considerable success in the solo performance world. Tertiary studies were completed at the Sydney Conservatorium, and it was there that he felt the pull of collaborative music making through chamber music, and the vast palette of magnificent repertoire made available.

He majored in piano accompaniment, with a focus on string and vocal music. After several years of post-graduate study and the ex-pat life in London, Matthew returned to Australia and joined the accompaniment staff of the Newcastle Conservatorium, and began teaching and performing throughout NSW.

Beyond his musical training, Matthew has qualifications in neuro-linguistic programming as well as in remedial massage, and uses these skills to work with budding musicians on both the psychology and the physiology of playing their instrument.His focus with students is on fostering creativity and exploration of the instrument, along with gaining a core understanding of simple structures underlying musical creation. He’s also focussed on making music fun.

Melissa Lark

Musicianship Teacher, Childrens Music Program teacher

Melissa studied Kodaly at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, later obtaining her accreditation with the NSW Chapter of KMEIA (Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia). Melissa also studied ‘Eurythmics’ – Dalcroze extensively and received her accreditation at Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Ruth Caldwell, Jeffrey Whilley and Karen Lemon. During this period, she also studied ‘Music & Students with Special Needs’ with Ruth Caldwell

Melissa has taught Children’s Music since 1999 and more recently studied Composition with the late Clifford Abbott, Annie Nichols and Dr. Phillip Rutherford. She regularly composes songs and works for various projects and wrote extensively for the children’s entertainment group ‘The B-Bops’, in which she was a performer, partner and composer.

Michaele Archer

Co-Head of Program (Voice), Vocal Teacher

Michaele studied in New York with world renowned voice teacher, David Jones who works with singers at the Metropolitan Opera.

As a graduate with distinction from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Opera School, Michaele has a Masters in Applied Science, researching breathing techniques for opera singers from the University of Sydney and a B.A. in Performances Studies, Languages and Australian Literature. Her research in breathing was presented in Paris at the International Congress of Voice teachers.

Michaele performed with Opera Australia in Turandot, Otello, and Werther and as a guest soloist in concert. Other roles include Emmie in Albert Herring (Opera Australia), Mrs Peachum in The Beggars Opera, and Nedda in Pagliacci and Tosca.

Naomi Blanch

Saxophone & Clarinet Teacher

Naomi Blanch is a saxophonist from Newcastle, Australia. She started playing informally at the age of 12. Since then she has completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Newcastle, during which she traveled to Sweden on music exchange. Naomi lived and studied in Sweden for a year, playing with the Arctic Youth Jazz Orchestra and several other ensembles in this time.

Upon returning to Newcastle Naomi now performs with a variety of local bands which feature jazz and funk fusion with a focus on improvisation.

Nicole Wyatt

Flute Teacher

Nicole started learning music with her grandfather, who taught her the basics of reading music from a young age. She has always enjoyed singing and learning simple songs on piano, so when the opportunity arose for her to commence formal lessons on flute, she jumped at the chance.
Fortunately, she found herself with a wonderful teacher, Warwick Elvery, who, as well as teaching the skills and theoretical knowledge of flute playing, established her with explicit instruction on the skills of learning. She was also, at that time, a member of the Australian Youth Choir, meaning that she was learning the Orff method concurrently with traditional music literacy skills.
Since graduating with a B.Mus from UNSW and a B.Teach from The University of Sydney, Nicole has spent more than 20 years teaching music, in instrumental tutorials, in the classroom, and choral conducting. She is currently a member of Symphony Central Coast, conductor of Con Spirito, an adult community flute choir, and is also working on her piano skills.
Nicole delights to see all student progress and to see students enjoying their developing skills in music making!

Patrick Brennan

Artistic Director, Premier Ensembles Conductor & Bassoon Teacher

Patrick Brennan attained his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and as a professional bassoonist performed with Australia’s leading orchestras for 15 years before pursuing a career as a conductor.

He participated in the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program whilst directing several school and community bands and symphonic wind ensembles. In 2020 Patrick won a coveted position in the Australian Conducting Academy, working with the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra

Patrick has created and developed several cornerstone organisations including the Northern Sydney Schools Wind Orchestra, Central Coast Opera, Regional Youth Orchestra NSW and the NSSWE program that now offers weekly professional development for tertiary music students, focusing on best practice in pedagogy and conducting.

Patrick teaches bassoon at Central Coast Conservatorium of Music. As a music educator Patrick has worked within the Department of Education Arts Unit, in government and non-government schools as well as in tertiary institutions, including the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

He was also appointed as the NSW representative of the Bassoon syllabus for the AMEB.

As a member of the Curriculum Development Committee for the ANSWRC Patrick is currently developing a state-wide curriculum for music students across regional NSW

As Artistic Director of the Central Coast Conservatorium, Patrick musically directs the major premier music ensembles on the NSW Central Coast including Central Coast Youth Orchestra, Central Coast Philharmonia Choir and Central Coast Concert Band.

Radu Boros

French Horn Teacher

After completing his education in Bucharest, where he graduated from the College of Music “George Enescu” majoring in violin, horn and singing, Radu held positions in professional orchestras in Romania and Germany.

Following his arrival in Australia he played in orchestras, including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Opera and Ballet Orchestra, as well as teaching and conducting school and community orchestras and bands. For several years he was in the Australian Army Band in Sydney before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Rosalie Bourne

Head of Woodwind, Flute Teacher

Central Coast Conservatorium flute teacher Rosalie Bourne credits her first music teacher – and listening to her grandmother play classical pieces on the piano – with igniting her passion for music

“I began to play the flute when I was seven and my wonderful teacher, Nicola Snekker, developed my musicality as well as my skill as a flute player,” says Rosalie, who plays many instruments but says her ‘first love’ is the flute

“She encouraged and challenged me and was instrumental in my decision to further my studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

No wonder then that now, as a highly-respected flute player and teacher, Rosalie enjoys nurturing and developing her own students

“Whether they are beginners picking up their flute for the very first time or much more experienced players, it is the students that make me want to come to work each day.

While there have been many highlights during her music career Rosalie says “the most rewarding have been the achievements of my students and sharing in their and their families’ happiness as they celebrate”

Rosalie brings broad-ranging skills and experience to the classroom, with years also spent working in the corporate sector as an HR consultant for companies including IBM, Ilco Unican and NSW Department of Commerce.

She has also owned and operated her own flute studio and performed with a number of orchestras and played for several audio productions. Recent recordings include Random Earth Band’s album Ocean Song and Christoper Sainsbury’s 2016 Scar Tree for Primal Dance Company.

Rosalie has worked as both a classroom music teacher and flute tutor teacher in public and private primary and high schools across Sydney and the Central Coast. Now in a senior teaching role at the Central Coast Conservatorium, Rosalie gives private lessons as well as teaching with the Conservatorium’s Schools Program and developing flute ensemble

She says her primary aim at the Conservatorium is to help students develop and achieve their own goals as flute players. “For those who choose to do so, I know I can assist them gain outstanding results in their grade exams,” says Rosalie, adding that past students have achieved top results in trial and HSC music performances (Music 1, Music 2 and Extension).

“They have also been successful in gaining entry into tertiary music courses, have been selected for student development opportunities with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Staatskapelle Berlin (the resident orchestra of the Berlin State Opera).

About Rosali

An active and committed member of the Australian flute community Rosalie completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has studied with Suzie Miller, Michael Scott, James Kortum and Janet Webb, as well as participating in masterclasses with many international artists

Rosalie has written several technique publications including Grow Your Technique for all band instruments – a NSW Department of Education cross-curricular technique extension for Stages 2-3 Band Program students

She also founded the Central Coast Summer Flutation Event (2015-2018) and has helped manage the Australian Flute Festival (2013, 2015). Rosalie has also been invited to be an adjudicator at the NSW Flute Society Eisteddfod and guest teacher and masterclass presenter at Sydney Flute School.

Sean Steele

Percussion Teacher

Sean completed his Bachelor of Music with an Honours in Performance Major studying under Steven Morton at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music and Daryl Pratt at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2003 he gained his Graduate Diploma in Education through the University of New England.

Sean regularly performs many orchestral percussion, Latin percussion, drum kit, and Japanese Taiko Drumming gigs and shows from club gigs to corporate and school events.
He currently teaches percussion at several Central Coast and Sydney schools as well as Central Coast Conservatorium.

Sharon Hatton

Piano teacher

As a child listening to Rachmaninov in bed on a radio she had smuggled under her pillow, Sharon Hatton fell asleep to the composer’s third piano concerto – one of the most difficult pieces ever written for piano.

“This will sound a bit of a cliché, but I absolutely love the Rach 3, even before it was featured in the movie Shine,” says Central Coast Conservatorium piano teacher Sharon. “I would fall asleep listening to the radio and the Rach 3 came on one night. Why anyone would play that at night is beyond my comprehension, but that was amazing to a young little me.”

Born and raised in Singapore, Sharon’s home was filled with music. “My parents were session and wedding musicians, and so there was always singing and music making around in the household, even after they stopped professionally. My dad had vinyl records of the London Symphony Orchestra as well so that’s where my love for classical music began.”

She started piano lessons aged five by a preschool teacher who heard Sharon playing tunes on the classroom piano by ear. “She offered me a free year of lessons if my parents bought me a piano, which they did.” After completing her AMus from the London College of Music at 18, Sharon went on to complete a Bachelor of Music from University of New England. “I look back and I am ever grateful that I had amazing piano teachers along the way,” says Sharon who realised early on in her musical career that her heart lay in teaching music and piano to young children. I enjoyed performing, but it was never as exciting as teaching for me,” she says.

This realisation was cemented after attending a workshop on the Dalcroze method – a pedagogical approach to music taught through physical movement by Dr Joan Pope OAM – former President of Dalcroze Australia. “That truly opened up the world of music and movement, and learning to lay the foundation in teaching young children.”

In Singapore, Sharon planned and taught a keyboard curriculum for Years 1 to 6 as a pilot program in a neighbourhood primary school. “It was a real honor, knowing that every single student in that school was not just receiving a general music lesson, but being taught to play an actual instrument. I hope that opened up musical doors for some of those primary school children and that they went on to use that to explore and learn more music.”

Sharon says she believes it is the right of every child to learn music properly and formerly, as part of their emotional and social growth and development. “I don’t think music education should be a privilege.” Her favourite part of her job at the Con is walking through the halls and hearing music playing from every room. “The Con is an exciting place for students to explore music and be offered various opportunities to perform and gain scholarships.”

When it comes to lessons, Sharon stresses the importance of planning and fun. “I’ve always given great thought to lesson planning, in choosing repertoire for my students, and also various aspects of developing piano technique in a fun and enjoyable way. “My goal is to instil a lifelong love for learning music in each of my students, so that they always continue to play piano and make music throughout their lives. I always enjoyed my lessons with my teachers, and I gain so much joy in music. I hope all my students feel the same.”

Steve Smillie

Guitar Teacher, Director (Guitar Ensemble)

Self-taught guitarist, and Central Coast of Conservatorium guitar teacher and director of the Guitar Ensemble, Steve Smillie’s first professional gig was on the back of a truck aged 13 at a festival in the NSW south coast town of Kiama.

But it all started five years’ earlier when he was eight and heard country music legend Ron Sutton playing in his parents’ bus shed.

“My parents owned the local bus service. There was a group of local country musicians there and they hired a bus to take them out to the first Country Music Festival in Tamworth in 1972. They all had so much fun on the trip they ended up having regular get togethers in the bus shed. That’s where I heard Ron play. I was hooked straight away, playing guitar became my life’s passion.”
Unfortunately Ron died at a young age. In his memory Tamworth Country Music Festival started the Ron Sutton Memorial Award for best instrumentalist, which still runs today.

“I entered that competition and was lucky enough to win the award two years in a row when I was 14 and then 15,” says Steve.

Since then Steve has played in many bands, toured the east coast of Australia, Melbourne and Adelaide. He currently plays in the well-known duo Open Fire with Dani Kelleher – and the pair also perform with the six-piece band The Sounds of London – an Adele and Amy Winehouse show. Steve has also recorded three solo instrumental albums and two albums with his wife Kath Morrison on trumpet.

“I have been very lucky to have had many highlights over the years including winning the Ron Sutton award twice, to playing in the Sydney Opera House and simply when the audience enjoys the music that I play.” He has also accompanied many artists including Ian Moss (Cold Chisel), Daryl Braithwaite (Sherbet), Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) and Renee Geyer.

With industry experience spanning five decades, Steve has a broad taste in music, specialising in solo finger-style acoustic guitar as well as electric style, blues rock, reggae, country rock and funk. He also plays slide guitar, lap slide and dobro. As he says: “I love any style of music that is played from the heart and with skill.

Steve has been teaching since the early 90s and said his goal as a CCCM teacher includes sharing his passion for playing the guitar and hopefully inspiring students to play well.

Suzie Kim

Viola Teacher

Known as an enthusiast for making music from a young age, Suzie started her music journey through the Central Coast Conservatorium’s Saturday Strings Program on violin. Transitioning to viola on the way, she graduated high school in 2018 while studying with Karina Hollands and now regularly plays together with her with the Sydney Philharmonia Choir Orchestra.

Suzie is a diverse viola player, specialising in Historically Informed Performance (HIP) a performance style that incorporates research to reinterpret compositions based on its contextual background to achieve a unique musical experience.

This includes using equipment most likely used during the time such as bows, strings and instruments as well as techniques and pedagogy available during its compositional period. Suzie has experienced performing and learning from Australia’s leading musicians and ensembles such as the Australian Haydn Ensemble, Salut! Baroque, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, The Australian Youth Orchestra and the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra.

Having graduated from Music Education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2022 while studying HIP viola with Nicole Forsyth, Suzie successfully juggles a dual career in performing and education, working as a school teacher in metro and regional NSW. She now inspires young musicians as assistant conductor of the Central Coast Youth Orchestra and tutor in the Strings department.

Photo credit: Wallis Media

Tibor Szakos

Piano Teacher

Tibor offers piano lessons to students of all ages, from beginners to experienced musicians, and he specialises in applying European teaching methods to piano learning. While his focus is on teaching classical piano, his expertise also covers other genres, from popular to jazz.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Tibor completed his Bachelor of Music majoring in Pianoforte at the Conservatorium of Music in Kosice, Slovakia in 1980. On his arrival in Australia he pursued further study at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music.
In 1992 he joined the piano faculty of the Australian Institute of Music where he served as Acting Head of the Piano Department and designed the curriculum for the Classical Pianoforte Major component of the A.I.M. Diploma of Music. He then joined Central Coast Conservatorium of Music where he both teaches and is active as a performer.
What Tibor’s students say…
“I have been a student of Tibor for 13 years, he was recommended by another teacher. He is friendly and passionate about his commitment to teaching music and endeavours to get the best possible musical results for his students. His knowledge is amazing and as a mature student I have improved immensely under his guidance.” Carmen Stewart, student (Wyong, NSW)

Tim Page

Vocal Teacher, Musical Theatre Teacher

Trained as an actor and singer in New Zealand, Tim Page joined NZ Opera when he was 19. After arriving in Australia in 1973, Tim joined the Australian Opera for the production of War and Peace which opened the Sydney Opera House.

He has since sung in many operas, musicals and concerts around the world. As well as recording with the BBC Radio Orchestra, Tim spent two years in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects Of Love.

Trish O’Hearn

Head of Program (Brass), Trumpet Teacher

Trish O’Hearn gained her Bachelor of Music from Newcastle Conservatorium, followed by a Postgraduate in Performance (Grad Dip) from Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

She has been a part of championship community bands since she was young and is currently Principal cornet of Toronto Brass as well as a member of the award-winning Central Coast Brass.

Trish was also invited to be a member of National Australia Brass, performing various concerts including the International Brass festival in Melbourne and is a current member of Pacific Brass.

Vicki Harris

Schools Program Administrator, Clarinet/Saxophone Teacher

With over 30 years music teaching experience, Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Schools Program Administrator and Woodwind tutor, Vicki Harris, is passionate about giving as many children as possible the opportunity to learn an instrument.

She teaches saxophone, clarinet and flute and also conducts several school bands through the Conservatorium’s Schools Music Program.

“I believe in giving everyone a go and my goal as a music educator is to make learning an instrument affordable and available for anyone who wants it, to offer a high standard of music tuition always and of course to make learning an instrument fun and rewarding” says Vicki.

Starting out on piano when she was eight, Vicki went on to study saxophone, flute and clarinet during high school and beyond. She then graduated with an Associate Diploma of Music Teaching from Sydney Conservatorium of Music before running a very successful private music studio.

“I believe I have an excellent rapport with students, particularly primary school aged children but have successfully taught students of all ages and abilities,” she says.

Vicki has also worked as a private music tutor in a number of school music programs in both Sydney and on the Central Coast and in both private and public

She has worked for the Conservatorium’s Schools Program since 2017, conducting primary school bands and teaching woodwind groups and one-to-one lessons. She took on the role of Schools Program Administrator in 2019 and now oversees the
program while continuing to work as a conductor and woodwind tutor.

Yvette Masters

Co-Head of Program (Voice), Vocal Teacher

Since graduating from Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Diploma of Operatic Art, majoring in vocal performance, Yvette has taught and consulted for some of Australia’s biggest singing stars including Wes Carr (winner of Australian Idol), Erica Packer, Lanie Lane (2011 Triple J artist and 2012 four- time Aria Award nominee), Ben Gillies (Silverchair), and Kate Akhurst (co-writer of hits on Ricki Lee’s 2012 album).

Yvette’s success is highly regarded and attributed to her unique approach to singing teaching, with breathing technique, stable sound projection with a strong focus on musicality, pitch, diction, phrasing and development of a large repertoire of music to a high-performance standard.