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!    

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. 🎼🎵 🎹



Honours All Round!

Three Top Notes Music Studio students entered for AMEB exams in this mid-year session, and I am very excited to report that all of them were awarded As (Honours) passes and glowing comments on their reports!  Congratulations to Clara He and Carol Xu who did Grade Four, and Joyce Chen who did Grade Two.  Fabulous results and well earned rewards for regular and consistent work.  Well done girls!!  Special thanks too to Clara’s Mum, Amy, who accompanied Clara and Carol so proficiently for rehearsals and on the day of the exams.   









Hear Prokofiev’s Wonderful Flute Sonata Played Live!

Flyer 10JUL16I hope you will be able to join me and my fellow chamber music enthusiasts for a wonderful afternoon of music for voice and a variety of instrumental combinations.  I will be playing the Prokofiev Flute Sonata, a work written in Russia during the darkest days of World War II, yet one which is full of rhythmic vitality, lyrical expression, optimism and just great tunes!  

Full details can be found here.


Student of the Week – Term One Week Ten

Week Ten is the final week of Term One and so this is the last Student of the Week post.  I am very happy to award Student of the Week to 10 year old, Charlotte, who started lessons at Top Notes Music Studio  in November last year,  after completing her Grade Two exam with another teacher.  Charlotte had two major achievements in this last week of term.  Firstly, she succeeded in playing her chromatic scale perfectly first go in her lesson, not once, but twice, and with two different articulations!  Charlotte has been working hard on this difficult scale all term.  And then she surprised me again!

I had asked Charlotte to pick a new piece to learn from her Grade Three exam book.  Not only had she learnt the entire piece perfectly, but she had researched it on the interTequila Sunrisenet, listened to a piano version of the same piece (which helped her learn the difficult samba rhythm) and was able to talk very confidently about what the title, Tequila Sunrise, meant and the imagery she could associate with people drinking Tequila Sunrises and dancing the samba!  In learning music we learn so much more than just the dots on the page, or what to do with our fingers on the instrument!  Unfortunately Charlotte is too young to enjoy a Tequila Sunrise yet, so she will have to make do with the musical version which we are going to have some fun with together.  Well done Charlotte!  Great work!      

Student of the Week – Term One Week Three

Pravin in his Full Colours Blazer awarded 2014I am pleased to announce Student of the Week for Week Three is Pravin Chanmugam.  Pravin is in Year 10 at The King’s School, and is pictured here in his Full Colours blazer which he won the right to wear in 2014 for his achievements in Music.  In the midst of a hectic schedule preparing for the School Musical, compulsory Saturday cricket, School Cadets and flute and theory lessons, Pravin managed to find time this week to learn a whole Sonata, four pages long, for his next exam.  Pravin passed his Grade 8 exam with Honours at the end of 2015 and is now working for the Certificate of Performance in June.  Pravin is an excellent example of that old saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person”!  He truly amazes me at how much he packs into his weeks, and how well he achieves at everything he does.  Keep up the great work, Pravin!!