A and A+ All Round!

What an A-mazing month it has been!  Eight Top Notes Music Studio students did AMEB music exams in the recent exam series with three different examiners and I am thrilled to report that all of them passed with either Honours or High Distinctions!  Please join me in congratulating the following students on their fabulous results.
  • Anne Ma – Piano Grade One – A Honours
  • Bella Neville – Flute Grade Two – A Honoursachievement-clipart-k10639479
  • Adhav Manoj Pillai – Flute Grade Three – A Honours
  • Anika Pandey – Flute Grade Three – A Honours
  • Alyssa Collins – Flute Grade Five – A Honours
  • Ankhita Sekhar – Flute Grade Five – A Honours
  • Hannah Wang – Flute Grade Five – A+ High Distinction
  • Caitlin Handel – Flute Grade Six – A+ High Distinction

You may have been lucky enough to hear some of these students performing at the recent Top Notes Music Studio Spring Concert and I’m sure you will agree with me that their results are a well deserved reward for all their hard work.  You can see these and our other 2019 successes here on the Studio website.

A Number of Firsts in the May Exam Series

The May 2019 AMEB exam season is now completed for Top Notes Music Studio students and once again all the students worked very hard and been rewarded for their efforts.  Two students, Adhav Manoj Pillai and Menuli Silva, were complete novices to the AMEB exam experience and tackled Grade Two Flute with some uncertainty as to what to expect.  Both found the examiner very friendly and encouraging and emerged with High Credit passes.  Well done Adhav and Menuli!  Grace Chen tackled Grade One Flute, her first flute exam, although Grace has previously undertaken a piano exam.  Grace received an Honours pass which she was very pleased with.  Zeynep Unal, already an accomplished violinist, undertook her first piano exam and was awarded an Honours pass for Grade One.  And finally two AMEB exam veterans, Joyce Chen and Charlotte S both tackled Grade Five Flute.  Joyce, like her younger sister, Grace, passed with Honours and Charlotte received a High Credit grading.  A big congratulations to all the students who worked very hard to polish those scales and get their pieces up to a high standard.  Thank you also to the professional accompanists Daniel Sakoulas and Lyn Morgan who accompanied the higher grade students.  Undertaking a music exam challenges students to prepare their work to a high performance standard and to build confidence in dealing with the stressful situation of a practical exam.  It also gives students and parents an indicator of the level the student has achieved, and feedback on the written exam report helps the student and teacher set future goals.  Onwards and upwards!    

Using Music To Help Create Great Kids

Great Music Great Kids Red 300x300

Caitlin still

Music lessons and exams are more than just an end in themselves.  They give us the skills  to be able to come together with others sharing similar interests and passion, and work as part of a team using our love of music to support the wider community.  Top Notes Music Studio was so proud on ANZAC Day to see student Caitlin Handel (fourth from left in photo) march in her first ever ANZAC Day Parade in the City.  Her Mum wrote, “Caitlin was very privileged to take part in the Sydney ANZAC Day March down Elizabeth Street with the 2019 Millennium Marching Band.  A very unique experience and one she was very proud to be a part of.”   Membership of the Millennium Marching Band is open to all students in Years 7-12 attending a government secondary school in New South Wales. Opportunities exist within the Band for instrumentalists, dancers and rhythmic gymnasts. There is a place for everyone with energy, commitment and a willingness to learn.  Caitlin only joined the Band at the end of 2018 and this is already her second high profile performance with them.  Why not think about expanding your musical horizons?  There are many great musical groups in The Hills for students to join.  Ask Cathy for suggestions.



Reflecting on 2018

The last day of the year is a time to reflect on the achievements of the year gone by that have resulted from ‘the four Ps’ – patience, persistence, perseverance and practice!  And as we reflect on these achievements we also look forward to 2019 and setting ourselves new goals and challenges.

There have been many achievements both small and large at Top Notes Music Studio throughout 2018, but I particularly want to highlight the following quiet achievers who have worked consistently throughout the year and made strides in developing their playing skills.

Grace Chen who has only been learning flute for five terms, successfully auditioned to move from Training Band to Intermediate Band at her primary school.

Caitlin Handel fulfilled a long held ambition to join the NSW Public Schools Milennium Marching Band.  Caitlin will be working hard on her steps as well as memorising her flute music in 2019!  We look forward to seeing Caitlin in the ANZAC Day Parade, and at the Schools Spectacular later in the year.

Ankhita Sekhar successfully auditioned to move from the Junior to the Senior Band after only one year at her high school.  Well done Ankhita!

Hannah Wang (and her younger brother) were both successful at auditions on piano to

Hannah Piano 10OCT18

join the Junior Rising Stars program at Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2019.  We look forward to hearing them perform in the Gala Concert at the end of Semester 1.  Hannah is pictured here performing at a nursing home during her last school holidays. 



And then of course there are all the students who undertook exams and participated in the Hills District Junior Music Festival this year.
Details of their successes can be found here.

Each one of you is to be commended for your hard work and putting yourselves on the line to develop your skills and achieve your goals.

Top Notes Music Studio is looking forward to another successful musical year in 2019!   

Using Music to Help Create Great Kids


There has been much in the media over the last few years about how learning music helps students in so many other aspects of their academic and social development and this Top Notes Music Studio student is a perfect example.  Adhav was elected Band Leader for his school band at the beginning of 2018 and assumed the role and its attendant duties with a great sense of commitment and responsibility.  It has been reported to me that he attended every Band rehearsal, even those for which he was not rostered, which involved many early morning starts throughout the year, and that other parent helpers said they could not have done the job without his assistance, as only Adhav knew where everything was kept.  Adhav was also willing to jump in and assist the percussion sections of junior bands when required.  Adhav has shown a big increase in maturity and confidence this year, so much so, that he is now working consistently towards his first AMEB flute exam in 2019.  Congratulations Adhav – we here at Top Notes Music Studio are all very proud of you!        

Top Notes Music Studio farewells ‘Top’ Student

It is with great sadness that I report that Top Notes Music Studio is farewelling a ‘top’ student, Clara He, who transitions from primary school to high school in 2019 with a swag of musical achievements under her belt.  Having passed

IMG_0663her AMEB Grade Six Flute exam with a High Distinction this year, Clara has successfully auditioned for the Junior Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and will now move into an environment where she will benefit from tuition from some of Sydney’s finest flute teachers and performers.



Clara is no stranger to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music whershe is already a piano student in the Junior Rising Stars program and has completed her Certificate of Performance on Piano with Honours as well as the AMEB Music Craft Grade Four examination.

And to ‘top’ it all off Clara has been awarded a Full Music Scholarship to one of Sydney’s ‘top’ private girls’ schools.  We wish you the greatest success Clara as you embark upon these new and exciting musical ventures in 2019.  You are certainly a young lady we are going to hear much more about in years to come.  Best wishes from everyone at Top Notes Music Studio. 🎼🎵 🎹



Top Notes Family Give Back

So proud of Top Notes Music Studio student Hannah and her younger brother Sam who gave up a whole day of their school holidays to travel to Bowral with Sam’s clarinet teacher, Lindsay.  Hannah and Sam both performed on piano, and then took to their second instruments flute, and clarinet, to entertain and delight the audience of the nursing home with their performances.  It was a special moment for Sam and Lindsay, as Lindsay’s mother is a resident and was in the audience.  Congratulations to both young people for such a lovely way of sharing their talents and giving back to the community.  Lindsay said, “They played beautifully.  I am so proud of them both.”  Performing for audiences is also a great way to work on overcoming those performance nerves and developing confidence for more stressful situations like exams and auditions.

Top Performances at the Hills District Junior Music Festival Today!


It was a pleasure today to accompany three wonderful students who participated in the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW Hills District Junior Music Festival.  Joyce Chen (pictured) earned a Third Place against 13 competitors in the Intermediate Section, whilst her younger sister, Grace, gave her first public performance in the Novice Section.  Charlotte S also gave a wonderful performance and earned a Second Place from a field of 11 competitors in the Late Intermediate Section.  I was so proud of all the girls who put a lot of effort into polishing their performances and delighting the audience with their contributions.  Top Marks to these Top Notes students!

Another year draws to a close

Another year is fast drawing to a close at Top Notes Music Studio, exams are done, reports digested, results celebrated, and resolutions made for things to work more intensively on next year!  It is now time to congratulate all the students who took their nerves in hand and put themselves on the line to have their playing and their years efforts assessed.  Here they are: Caleb Chan – Grade 6 – Credit; Charlotte Choy – Grade 1 – High Distinction; Alyssa Collins – Grade 3 – Credit; Caitlin Handel – Grade 4 – High Credit; Clara He – Grade 5 (Recital) – High Distinction; Anika Pandey – Grade 1 – Honours; Caitlin Power – Grade 8 (Recital) – High Pass; Charlotte S – Grade 4 – High Pass; Hannah Wang – Grade 2 –  Honours.  Well done everybody – a relaxing holiday is now well deserved!