Meet the teachers

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

Lessons in Newport and Myrniong.

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, performance and keysBelinda Sofra 2

Lessons in Footscray (wed, thu, fri) and Sunshine (Mon)

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 Mondays.

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.

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

Lessons in Footscray (Tuesdays) and Carnegie .

Max’s musical career started with Clarinet at age 13, later adding Harmonica, Saxophone and Piano. His first band experience was playing Dixieland Jazz, great grounding for understanding improvisation [jamming] and chord changes. Jazz & Blues Music became his specialties then he met Harmonica Legend Sonny Terry in Melbourne. While Max was playing in the support band, Sonny spent some precious time with him happily demonstrating his ‘Blues Harp’ technique between shows. Max was ‘Hooked for Life’.

His musical journey continued through various musical styles, from Wedding Bands to jamming on Harp and Tenor Sax with Bluesman Dutch Tilders plus Bob Sedergreen’s ‘Blues on the Boil’ and also playing in various jazz, funk and soul bands around Melbourne plus appearing at country and interstate festivals. Recently he has featured with ‘Bop Deluxe’, ‘The Pearly Shells’ and the Matt Dwyer Band.

As a teacher and performer Max understands that newcomers want to have fun while playing and making that music part of their lives as soon as they can without getting too bogged down in theory. He’s developed a learning method that makes this happen in a few easy sessions and has also developed a quick, simple way to learn how to Improvise / Jam. Any age group fits in with his teaching method. From mature folks to young players starting out. Contact Max on 0418 587 687 – 7 days a week. Or Email

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

Lessons in Footscray (thursdays) and Seddon.

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.

Jake Donohue – electric and acoustic guitar

Lessons in Footscray (Mon, Fri and Sat)

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.


Charlene Wijaya – piano

Lessons in Williamstown. – 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.