To develop their musical skills, students need regular lessons and regular practice –therefore each student must be receiving instrumental tuition to be a part of our Music Ensemble Program.

Students may make their own arrangements for lessons or learn at the college from a MEP tutor. We have a stellar line-up of professional musicians providing tuition through the MEP and highly recommend that students take advantage of their experience and skills. Names and contact details are below; you can contact the tutor directly or, if you have questions, contact the MEP program director Murray Jackson.

Learning an instrument is easier (and will end up being much better value for money) if parents/carers offer support at home. Help your child make practising their instrument part of the daily routine. Talk to your child’s tutor to find out how you can help them learn.

Tutors for 2020

Instrument Tutor Email Address
Brass Danny Carmichael Carmichael_daniel@yahoo.com.au
Piano Steve Barry stevenjamesbarry@gmail.com
Perc/Drums Alysa Portelli alysa.portelli@gmail.com
Flute Visnja Kosanovic kvisnja@gmail.com
Voice Cassy Darvall cassy@bigpond.net.au
Saxophone and Clarinet Sava Dobrinsky savva.dobrinsky@gmail.com
Guitar Sean Windsor seanwindsor@gmail.com
Bass Brendan Clark brendan.clark.music@gmail.com

Meet the Tutors

Steve Barry, piano

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Dr Steve Barry is a New-Zealand born pianist, organist, composer and improviser based in Sydney, Australia. A sessional lecturer in improvisation and jazz piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Steve maintains a busy schedule composing, teaching and performing across Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Steve’s music reflects his parallel interests in jazz and 20th century classical music, dancing between dense composed structure and free improvisation, and reflecting a fascination with harmonic colour and an eclectic palate of influences ranging from Paul Bley to Elliott Carter. His doctoral thesis and portfolio investigated the uses of pitch class sets, serialism and intervallicism as tools for composition and solo and collective improvisation.

Steve is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year (2013), 2nd place in the National Jazz Awards (2013), and a BBM Travel Scholarship (2011). He was a finalist in the 2019 & 2017 APRA Professional Development Awards and a nominee for the 2016 Freedman Fellowship.

Steve is the Co-founder of Orbiturtle, an artist-run organisation dedicated to curating new collaborations between artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting the sharing of creative practices and philosophies between eastern and western musical and artistic traditions. Orbiturtle was awarded an APRA Development Grant in 2016 to undertake a week-long residency in a Buddhist temple in Osaka, Japan with the acclaimed koto player and experimental improviser Michiyo Yagi.

In 2017 Steve attended the Banff Centre’s two-week Composer-Pianist Collaborative, where he composed and premiered new works for solo piano and studied with leading American improvisers Craig Taborn and Cory Smythe.

Steve’s recent release for avant-garde jazz quartet, Blueprints & Vignettes (2018), received a 4-star review in the Sydney Morning Herald. Past recordings Puzzles (2014), Steve Barry (2012), as well as the Australia-Japan collaboration Orbiturtle’s Sakura (2015), also received 4 star reviews in the Australian.

As an improviser Steve has performed with a host of acclaimed international artists including Jay Rodriquez, Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, George Coleman Jr. and Arun Luthra (USA), Michiyo Yagi and Yoshio Suzuki (JPN), as well many prominent Australian musicians and groups – among them The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Dale Barlow, Jamie Oehlers, Sean Wayland, James Muller, Andrew Dickeson and Andrew Gander.

Steve grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and began playing the piano at age 4. As a teenager he received the Most Outstanding Musician (2007), Best Pianist (2007), Best Keyboardist (2006, 2008), Best Composition (2008) and Band of Festival (2007, 2008) awards from the Tauranga International Jazz Festival Youth Competition. Relocating to  Australia in 2009 to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance) with First Class Honours in 2011.

Cassy Darvall, vocal coach

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Cassy Darvall has been working as a performer for the past twenty-five years in many different areas of performance but primarily as a singer with her own band Cassy and the Bossa Beats, and Heartbeat, an a cappella quartet.
Since 2008 Cassy has been teaching singing at Bondi Beach Public School as well as coordinating and running the school choir, which has performed at many community events including Festival of the Winds and Carols by the Sea in Bondi. At Bondi Pavilion, Cassy has been a regular teacher of singing and song writing to adults and children. She has also taught at the Australian Institute of Music as well as the Sydney Theatre Company’s Outreach Program, the Opera House’s Bennelong Program, the Powerhouse Museum’s school holiday program, and the University of New South Wales’ Union.
Having completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, Cassy studied singing and musicianship with Kerrie Biddell, jazz fundamentals at the Conservatorium of Music, and has had various intensive vocal workshops with Jo Estill (USA). Cassy has also studied acting and improvisation with Lyn Pierce and Gale Edwards.
Cassy is a sought-after MC and has been a regular speaker at the Media Entertainment &Arts Alliance annual Graduates’ Day, giving advice to graduate performers on work opportunities in the performing arts. Cassy conducts the Rose Bay Secondary College MEP Choir.

Danny Carmichael, brass

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Danny Carmichael holds diplomas in both trumpet and trombone from the AMEB and also a graduate certificate in contemporary performance from the Australian Institute of Music.
Danny has taught in Sydney schools for the last seventeen years as both an instrument tutor and band director. He has successfully taught music to students from beginner level to diploma and HSC, and believes in fostering a lifelong passion for music.
As a performer he has been an associate artist with many major Australian artists, has led his own small group and large ensemble, and performed for live and pre-recorded television.

Brendan Clark, bass

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Bassist Brendan Clark has been active on the Sydney music scene since he begun paid work in 2006 at age seventeen. Since then he has completed a Bachelor of Performance (Jazz) at the Sydney Conservatorium and performed with many influential musicians including Bernie McGann, Dave Panichi, Dave Theak, James Muller, Phil Slater, Warwick Alder, Andrew Dickeson, Dale Barlow, Matt McMahon, Tim Firth, Gerard Masters and Evan Mannell. Today Brendan regularly performs outside the jazz idiom in various groups including his own collaborative project ‘Broken Mountain’ as well as with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters, Ollie Thorpe, Spirit Faces, Fiction Writer and Tesse.
In 2007 Brendan was awarded runner-up in the Performing Arts division of the Hills Youth of the Year Award, and in 2009 he was selected as a finalist in the James Morrison Generations in Jazz Instrumental Scholarship. While at the Conservatorium of Music he was regularly a member of Mike Nock’s Advanced Ensemble and the Conservatorium Big Band under the direction of the late Bill Motzing. He now performs with groups of his own and those under the leadership of fellow musicians and has performed in cities as diverse as Sydney, London, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Melanie Forbes, Rock Band tutor

Melanie is a professional singer songwriter and performer of music. Voice, guitar and piano are her main instruments. Most recently, she was the lead guitarist in an epic music event ‘Hear me Roar’ staged at the Sydney Opera house.She has had her own bands and as well she has played and sung with many Australian and NZ artists. She is currently recording a new project with a musical colleague and preparing for imminent public release. She is also a teacher in the music department at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney where she has been delivering courses from Certificate Level through to Advanced Diploma and she has a private stable of piano and guitar students.

Visnja Kosanovic, flute

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Visnja received her Bachelor and Master degrees in flute performance at the Academy of Art in Novi Sad, Serbia. Playing as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician – both flute and piccolo – she performed extensively in the Serbian National Opera and Ballet, M Ex Media, Ambiental Orchestra and New Art Forum chamber ensemble. Visnja also made many recordings for Serbian Radio and Television and has performed in master classes throughout Europe.

In 1999 Visnja moved to the US and performed in the Washington area with groups such as the National Gallery Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Southwest Chamber Players and Levine Woodwind Quintet. At the same time, she was teaching at Levine School of Music and the International School of Music.

Since moving to Sydney, Visnja has joined RHH Symphony Orchestra and continues her work as a freelance musician and flute teacher. Recently she was acknowledged as Teacher of the Year 2013 at Ebenezer Mission Music School in Burwood for the excellent results that her students achieved.

Sean Windsor, guitar tutor and rock band director

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Sean Windsor is a guitarist and music producer who has worked with some of the biggest names in Australian music, including M-PHAZES, Illy, Kimbra, 360, Drapht and The Potbelleez. Sean has played with established acts such as Lior, Illy, Andy Bull, Steve Balbi (Noiseworks/Electric Hippies) as well as written and performed original music with smaller bands and individuals. Sean has featured in and produced songs and albums for countless local and international artists, contributing to ARIA-award winning albums from Kimbra to M-PHAZES. Sean also has experience producing music for television. As an in-demand session musician, Sean has recorded with US artists such as Amerie, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli and Redman.

Sean is also a gifted and highly-experienced educator, with over fifteen years’ experience helping people of all ages to nurture their love of music.