Tutor: Elizabeth Nicholls
Do you need a Music tutor or piano accompanist?
Do you need coaching with your conducting and/or ensemble direction and management skills?
I can help!
*Beginner students receive a FREE folder of music and a cute tote bag!
Music Tutoring and Coaching classes will suit children and adults who:
Would like to learn an instrument to play solo or in a group (ensemble such as an orchestra, concert band or stage band)
Would like to learn musicianship skills such as theory, aural training and listening
Require a piano accompanist for their upcoming exam or recital
Would like one-on-one support for their school Music homework or assignments
Struggle with competency or confidence in Music and need tasks modified and to receive lots of support
Excel in Music and would like accelerated tasks to extend their learning.
Looking to apply for scholarships or select entry Music schools or accelerated learning programs.
Research shows that learning Music has many benefits, including intellectual, academic, social and overall growth (this includes problem-solving, resilience and overall improved academic excellence). Music is one of the only activities in life that uses and stimulates the whole brain1. Music is lots of fun to learn, too.
Here is a video that summarises music’s benefits to the brain1:
Learning options available:
All styles, including Classical, Jazz (including Improvisation), Contemporary, Pop
Musicianship Tuition: Aural Training (including Audiation), Listening, Theory
Performance Techniques, including Performance Anxiety Management
IT Support (use of Garage Band, Sibelius, Sibelius Demo, MuseScore)
Vocal training (beginner to intermediate). Singing is incorporated into all lessons on all instruments as singing is important for aural training, audiation and overall musical growth.
Conducting Coaching (for beginner and intermediate conductors):
Do you feel like you conduct like this?
Well, you can learn to conduct like this!:
Receive helpful coaching and support in how to conduct your ensemble, using appropriate technique, helpful hints with music programme selection and schedule, rehearsal time management and musician engagement.
Elizabeth’s quick tips as you begin to learn Music:
1. When should I or my child start learning an instrument?
Students should commence music lessons when they:
Demonstrate a genuine interest or willingness to learn Music.
Have a genuine desire to want to practise weekly in order to improve.
Show attentiveness, concentration and engagement for the duration of the lesson. As mentioned on the home page, lesson durations are: 20, 25, 30, 40, 45 or 60 minutes. Younger students are encouraged to choose a shorter lesson length. As a general guide, students who are at a school age (Year Foundation/Prep or higher) are most suited to music lessons.
Have a supportive environment in which to learn, such as having a parent/guardian who is willing to invest time and energy journeying with their child’s learning. There is more information on this in point #4.
2. Choosing the right instrument. Choosing the right instrument to play and learn is one of the crucial first steps in your journey of learning music. I have plenty of advice about which instrument/s to learn would suit you the best. I can also recommend the right brands, models, prices and places in which to buy the right instrument for you. If you are already learning an instrument and are hiring/own your own instrument, I will give you advice what whether or not this brand/age/type of instrument (e.g. acoustic versus digital piano) is right for you and suggest alternatives, if necessary.
3. Look after your instrument. It’s important to look after the instrument you have hired or purchased. I have numerous tips and tricks about how to care for your instrument and its longevity. This includes the recommendations of instrument repairers (accidents can happen and I will show you how to avoid them!) and piano tuners.
Instrument repairers: Stephen Wright, Legato ®, Reservoir. (03) 9460 2244
Conrad, Dr. Sax ®, Fitzroy North. (03) 9489 5818
Piano Tuner and Technician: David Farrell, Vermont. 0419 303 096
4. Look after your body. A musician is an athlete, similar to a sports athlete, so you need to look after yourself. Practise your instrument in short rather than long sessions, for example, 10, 15, 20 minute or 30 minute blocks. Use correct posture shown your lessons. Have regular breaks. Practise in a quiet and safe environment. Stretch regularly. Have a happy and balanced lifestyle including healthy eating, drinking, exercise and sleeping. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain in your body, seek professional advice. I can give you advice as to who to see as I have experienced and recovered from a music-related injury myself. I have lots more to teach and advise about this!
4. Practise your instrument regularly. The more you practise (see point 3. for how to practise safely), the better your skills will become, the better you will sound and your feeling of success and achievement with swell. The key to successful music playing is high-quality sound production and musicality, not just playing the correct pitches and rhythms! I will teach you not only how to play your instrument, but how to be musical and make good decisions with your craft (learning an amazing art form: music). Ensure you allow for time and energy to practise your instrument, along with a good physical space to practise comfortably. Have people in your life (family, friends, housemates) who can support and encourage you (but not force you) in your musical journey!
‘How long should I practise for?’
This is a question I’m asked as a teacher and tutor.
The questions given for this question are:
How much do you want to improve on your instrument? You can practise as much as you like (with breaks and meaningful practice, and not to annoy your family or neighbours) 😉 The more you practise, the better you will become on your instrument.
How old are you (children)? My basic rule is: times your age by five. This is the minimum amount you should be practising every day.
E.g. a six year old should practise at least thirty minutes a day. (Not all at once, can break it into 15 minutes at a time).
A 15 year old should be practising at least one hour a day, especially since pieces and techniques are more complex at this age.
An adult should be practising at least one hour a day and, depending on how much time they have to practise, should aim to practise up to three hours a day (this is when aiming to become a professional on their instrument).
How are you practising? Are you practising meaningfully (not just playing through pieces from beginning to end)? Are you using the strategies taught in lessons?
Why are you practising? Are you practising because you should or because you want to? Are you wanting to learn and understand deeply what you are playing (not just the notes, but the techniques, styles and ideas)? If the reason is all of the above, the more fruitful your practice will be.
Here is a helpful practice guide for all musicians learning an instrument. This was designed by Samantha Coates – Music Educator and Blitz Books Founder2:
5. Visit a music shop (including online stores) for sheet music, musical instrument accessories etc. I can recommend sheet music or books (including styles of music) that will suit your learning needs or requests. There are accessories needed, in particular, to play saxophone and clarinet, such as reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, straps and harnesses. I can advise as often as needed.
There are plenty of free music (performance and musicianship) websites for you to use. Here are a list of some free websites:
Some music shops that I recommend:
Oz Winds – Melbourne Brass and Woodwind: https://www.ozwinds.com.au/
Fine Music: https://finemusiconline.com.au/
Allans Billy Hyde: http://www.allansbillyhyde.com.au/
6. Play a Music app. If you own an iPad or tablet, browse the Apple App. or Google Play Store. There are many educational apps. that can be used to support but not replace the learning of an actual musical instrument: music theory, note reading, instrument playing apps. They are fun and educational. Ask me for a list of recommended Music apps!