Meet the teachers

Jen Hawley – electric & acoustic guitar & ukulelejen Hawley acoustic guitar

Lessons in Footscray

Originally from Sydney, Jen Hawley has been teaching and performing for many years.  She started playing guitar at 16 in an all-girl heavy metal band.   Now you’re more likely to see Jen pulling out some jazz licks and crooning Billy Holiday ballads.

She trained in classical guitar, cut her teeth on the cover band circuit in Sydney when she was 18 and studied jazz with Bruce Clarke.  During the last 5 years Jen has also made a name for herself as a guitar workshop tutor at community music events.  She  also taught at Kingsville Primary in the music program from 2005 to 2011.  These days Jen’s musical passions are manouche gypsy jazz and blues.  She is a co-founder of The Footscray Gypsies and Supporting Women in Blues programs.

Jen offers music lessons tailored to your goals.  Whether you wish to learn classical, jazz, rock, blues, gypsy, folk or modern guitar, Jen is a great teacher for young or old, experienced or first time player.

Currently Jen teaches from her home studio and plays concerts and gigs.


Belinda Sofra – vocals and performanceBelinda Sofra 2

Lessons in Footscray

Belinda Sofra’s technical  mastery and passion for vocal  wellbeing is the basis of her  teaching ethos. Through  dedicated and continuing  study, she has developed an  holistic approach to vocal  mechanics.

Belinda currently teaches at a number of industry focused schools and has experience preparing and taking VCE students through there final exams with successful results.   Alongside private and  institutional teaching,  Belinda maintains her strong  skills as a songwriter and  performer. With a Bachelor of  Applied Music from Box Hill  Tafe and continued study of  voice mechanics, Belinda has  extensive experience with all  styles of contemporary vocal  performance.


Amanda Grafanakis – vocals and performanceamanda grafanakis

Lessons in Footscray

Being no stranger to the medium of media, Amanda received the people’s choice award on channel 9’s “Starstruck” back in 2000, her first television appearance, she further went on to succeed in the top 13 of “Australian Idol” in 2006 and in 2010 made the top 10 of the X Factor Australia. After X Factor Amanda collaborated with many prominent industry professionals including Russell Crowe and Ronan Keating. With Amanda writing her own compositions from the tender age of eight, she has over twenty years of songwriting experience to back up her exceptional talent. Amanda’s most recent success has been her single “One Day At A Time” which she featured on with one of New Yorks finest DJ’s “Just Jack”. The single ranked #1 on UK club charts and #2 in Chicago, USA.

Amanda has sung at huge venues including The Hisense arena, Telstra Dome and Crown Paladium, captivating audiences with her powerhouse vocals and magnetic personality. She has also been featured in several different publications such as NW magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The Mercury, The Herald Sun and The Age.

Vocally Amanda combines natural talent, great technique, and ongoing drive. Not only an incredible vocalist, she is a musician, an original song-writer and a exciting and seasoned performer. Specialising in RnB/Soul vocals, Amanda is also very passionate about Rock and Indie genres. She has an easy going and patient attitude with her students and provides a great combination of fun and mentoring in her lessons.


Evan Sillence – electric and acoustic guitar, bass, drums & ukulele

Lessons in Footscray and Altona.

Evan Sillence has been playing guitar in bands in his various home towns in QLD and NSW since he was 13. Moving to Melbourne to study Jazz Guitar at NMIT, Fairfield where he achieved an Advanced Diploma of Music Performance, he learnt under some guitar greats such as Jack Pantazis and Glenn Cannon.

Moving around a lot meant he became accustomed to playing a large variety styles. So whether you want to learn Jazz, Pop, Soul, Metal, Psychedelic Rock, Folk or Blues, Evan will be able to push you towards your goals in performance and expand your theoretical knowledge of music, no matter what your age or level of ability.

Evan currently plays gigs and concerts around Melbourne in his various bands and teaches Guitar and Keyboard at St Kevin’s, St Bernard’s, Preston West and North Fitzroy Primary Schools, as well as Jen’s Music School.



Francis Dillon – electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keys, drums and ukulelefrancis Dillon Jen's music school

Lessons in Footscray and home visits

Francis Dillon began playing music in primary school, starting with piano lessons at age 10. After teaching himself guitar for a couple of years he began formal guitar lessons at age 16. Not content with just two instruments, he is also proficient on the bass, uke and drums. He studied music, psychology and science at Melbourne University and majored in Physics with honours.A strong background in physics and psychology as well as music gives Francis a great insight into music theory and perception.

However, Francis understands that for many students the priority is playing music, not music theory, and he tailors his lessons to meet his student’s goals whatever they may be. Some of Francis’ favourite bands include the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Smiths,
Radiohead, Elliot Smith and Ben Folds Five but he is keen on teaching a wide variety of music ranging from Jazz, Blues and Folk to Metal, Grunge and Pop.Francis plays lead guitar in the soon-to-be-world-famous indie garage band the Asmatics who can be seen gigging at a number of local venues. He also teaches guitar, ukulele and keyboard at a number of schools around Melbourne.

Jake Donohue – electric and acoustic guitar

Lessons in Footscray

Jake started playing at 13, falling for the sounds of Zeppelin, Hendrix and Tool. He formed a heavy rock band and started gigging around Northern NSW, and at 15 started teaching guitar to other kids at lunch times.

Jake left school to study music at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium where he got introduced to the likes of jazz, classical and world music. In 2010 Jake left Byron Bay to continue his musical journey in Melbourne.

He performs both as a solo artist and in bands, ranging in styles from jazz, blues, classical, folk, celtic, spanish and Gypsy, to funk, rock, metal and punk. Jake is a patient, and passionate teacher, and has taught people both young and old, and levels from beginner to seasoned musician.

Max Tinkle – blues & jazz harmonica,  sax, clarinet & piano

Lessons in Footscray and Carnegie

Max’s musical career started with the Clarinet at age 13, later adding Saxophone and Piano to his musical arsenal. His first band experience was playing Dixieland Jazz, a great grounding for understanding improvisation [jamming] and chord changes. Many Jazz Bands at that time also had a great respect for The Blues, usually having a few Blues tunes in their playlists. At this stage Blues Harmonica Legend Sonny Terry came to Melbourne with Brownie McGee. Max was playing in the support band and Sonny spent some precious time with him happily demonstrating his ‘Blues Harp’ technique between shows. Max was ‘Hooked for Life’.

Max’s musical journey continued through various genres, from Italian Wedding Bands to jamming on Harp and Tenor Sax with Bluesman Dutch Tilders then Bob Sedergreen’s ‘Blues on the Boil’ also playing in various jazz, funk and soul bands around Melbourne with appearances at country and interstate festivals. Recently he has featured with ‘Bop Deluxe’, ‘The Pearly Shells’ and the Matt Dwyer Band which also backed ex-Bardot star Katie Underwood .

As a teacher and performer he understands that newcomers want to play music as soon as they can and not get bogged down with too much theory. He has developed a learning method that can make this a reality in a few easy sessions. Max loves to teach and any age group fits in with his teaching method.

Leigh Raymond – violin & piano

Lessons in Travancoreleigh raymond

A versatile musician and dedicated teacher, Leigh Raymond studied violin at the QLD Conservatorium of Music in the mid-nineties before accepting a scholarship to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, where she studied for two years.

Returning to Australia in 2003, she completed a Masters in Performance at Melbourne Uni, before spending the next years teaching and taking on freelance work in diverse musical roles which included casual work with Australia’s major orchestras, playing gypsy-style violin with the band Doch, and performing with a host of contemporary music ensembles.

After living and working in Cologne, Germany, Leigh decided to broaden her mind by means of a philosophy and psychology degree, and is now an honours student in Psychology at Melbourne University. She enjoys teaching, playing with the band Susy Blue, and taking on the occasional opera or ballet gig that comes her way. She would very much like to have a dog one day.



Charlene Wijaya – piano

Lessons in Footscray  (in the studio as well as home visits) – also speaks Indonesian and Mandarin

Originally came from Indonesia, Charlene was first introduced to piano at the age of six. After attending just one lesson, her first piano teacher realized that she had a promising talent. Learning notes and rhythms were never a problem to her, and she effortlessly completed her grade eight piano performance at the age of 14. She also holds a Diploma of Music Performance under the Associated Board of Royal School of Music (Dip. ABRSM), London.

Charlene is trained in Classical style, but is comfortable in teaching and performing popular and contemporary music, too. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree from the prestigious Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne in 2011. There, she developed a solid performance technique and gained deep knowledge of all types of musical genres.  Her sight-reading skills makes her highly sought as an accompanist for examinations and also for recitals.

Charlene has won many prestigious awards including the ABRSM’s High Scorers Award and Hedy King Robinson Award. She hopes to share her skills and passion of music to all her students.

Terry Cole – recorder, folk and gypsy fiddle, mandolin.terrycole1-400

Terry is a highly experienced multi instrumentalist with many years playing and teaching experience (he’s also Jen’s husband!)  I’ll write some more nice things about him soon:)