Our Management Team

Shane Dobbin – Chief Executive Officer 

Kapil Bhuta – Projects Director

James Judge – HR Consultant

Agency 9 – Marketing and Communications

Penny Bate – Administration Officer

Allison Schollar – Finance Manager

Our Tutors

Ragnel Jansdotter, Violin

Ragnel is an experienced performer and teacher. She regularly plays with ensembles such as the Canberra Sinfonia and the Canberra Youth Orchestra. Ragnel enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill levels. She makes a point of tailoring her pedagogical approach to the individual requirements and abilities of each student, avoiding rote learning and ensuring a comprehensive understanding of music and violin technique.

Rita Woolhouse, Cello

Rita attended the NSW Conservatorium of Music High School then enrolled in tertiary study, graduating with a DSCM in performance. She has performed in numerous Australian ensembles and orchestras including the John Gould String Quartet and the Majorian Ensemble. She has taught cello and chamber music for many years and worked as a strings examiner for the AMEB. Rita currently performs and teaches in Canberra and Illawara.

Thomas Powles, Cello

Thomas is a fourth-year music student at the ANU.  He is an experienced performer and composer, receiving multiple awards in the arts, music, and cello performance.  Thomas cares deeply about the long-term success of his students, and chooses to focus on approach, understanding, and musicality early-on, rather than simply covering techniques.  His goal is to help his students find joy in what they are doing, no matter their age or skill level.

Abel Lawson, Guitar and Ukulele

Abel began playing guitar at the age of 12. He completed his AMEB guitar grades at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga while studying with Jeff Donovan and Dr. Harold Gretton and is now currently completing his Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University. He has experience in performing at various events and venues including the Sydney Eisteddfod, ANU Whitworth Roach Classical Music Competition, and the Croatian Embassy.
Abel has an interest in classical guitar, baroque music, and music theory. He is passionate about teaching and learning and enjoys helping his students improve their skills and enriching their music experience.

Nataliia, Violin

Originally from Russia, Nataliia received her music education in State Special Music School, also taking lessons during this time at the Astrakhan State Conservatory with Irina Barabanova.
After graduating high school, she continued her music studies with concert violinist and pedagogue Tatiana Avazova and piano pedagogue Elena Mstislavskaya at the Saratov Conservatory of Music.
In addition to her musical talents, Nataliia attained a Bachelor in Linguistics in St. Petersburg, providing her the opportunity to teach fluently in English.
Nataliia then taught in schools in Russia and has continued teaching in Australia since her arrival in 2019. She has taught piano and violin to individuals and small groups in her private studio as well as in schools and community music centres.

Wei Tsai (Harry), String Ensemble + Violin

Wei Tsai (Harry) started his violin journey at the age of 4 and developed a perfect pitch since. He was awarded A.MUS.A and L.MUS.A in the same year when he was only 13. He graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Music with first class honor in the performance stream.
Wei (Harry) played on Elman Stradivarius 1722 and currently plays on Giovanni Francesco Pressenda 1830 violin proudly supported by the foundation of Chimei Museum. Harry was a member of Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra and Taiwan Soloist Chamber Orchestra.
Wei (Harry) holds Master of Teaching from University of Melbourne and has both full VIT Registration and TQI Registration and is fully equipped with the latest pedagogy to maximize students’ performance by providing individually tailored tuition for each unique student. Wei is also experienced in teaching students with Autism. Wei (Harry) was the String Coordinator at Mount Scopus Memorial College for 9 years and also worked at Wesley College Melbourne where he took his student orchestra to perform at Hamer Hall. Wei (Harry) moved to Canberra in May 2022 to work with Canberra Grammar.
Recent Career highlights from my violin students’ achievements:
1. First Price Music Society Victoria Competition (2022)
2. L.MusA with Distinction (2021)
3. A.MusA (2020)
4. VCE Music Performance near perfect score 49.17 (2021)
5. Hone Full Scholarships Melbourne Grammar (2019)
6. Half Scholarship Camberwell Grammar (2019)

David Brown, Woodwind

David is a highly experienced musician, as a performer, studio musician, ensemble director/conductor and instrumental tutor for  the flute, clarinet and saxophone family of instruments. David was a part time member of staff at ANU teaching aspiring jazz instrumentalists and creating a full size band from Prep Jazz Course students. Big Bands have played a big role in David’s professional career as has his performance degree. David enjoys teaching flute, clarinet and saxophone to beginners and players of all levels of ability. 

Brass & Percussion

Kapil Bhuta, Drum Kit & Hand Drumming

Kapil Bhuta is a student in ANU and has been drumming for 10 years in Sydney, Singapore and Canberra. He enjoys performing and has been doing so consistently since young. His most accomplished performance is being on the drums with The Killers at the Formula One race in Singapore last year, in front of a 60,000 strong crowd.

In addition to drums, Kapil also plays the guitar, bass, piano, mandolin and the ukelele. He has been involved in a vast array of ensembles ranging from rock, soul, pop, acoustic, orchestral and jazz. Kapil loves to share his passion of music with all whom he interacts with.


Susan Reid, Piano

Originally from South Africa, Susan Reid has been a piano teacher for over 40 years, teaching children of all ages and adults. She is always pleased when her pupils enjoy their music. Her qualifications are LTCL (piano teaching), and B Mus (Honours in Ethnomusicology) from the University of Adelaide. She leads a church choir in Canberra, and has taught piano with Music for Canberra since 2019.

Vivenne Tran, Piano

Vivienne Tran began studying piano at the age of six under the tutelage of Laura Wong, before starting with Marie Cull in 2010. She gained her Associate Diploma of Performance in October 2018, and is currently studying for her Licentiate Diploma. Vivienne has been teaching students preliminary and under for three years, and her main focus is to share her passion of music and performance with young children, as well as help them develop their technical ability and sense of musicality.

Linus Hanul Lee, Piano

Linus is an active pianist/organist. Linus graduated from the Australian National University with a classical piano performance major in 2018. In 2017, he became a Wesley music scholar, where he resumed his organ tuition. He attained the LMusA with distinction for the organ in 2019. Linus looks forward to working with many future musicians to share the joy of music making.

Music Play/Music Craft

Emma Zen

Emma Zen joins Music for Canberra as our Music Play/Music Craft Teacher.
Emma is an Intergenerational Music Educator connecting all stages of community from Early Childhood through to Aged Care. She is a passionate advocate for the transformative power of live Music Play and the Performing Arts. She is dedicated to continuous professional development, a growth mindset and Excellence in Music Play.
Emma comes to MfC with a wealth of Music Education Experience in schools, early learning centres, community organisations, cultural institutions, theatre groups, aged care, business, studios, conferences and public speaking events.
Emma has a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Music and a Graduate Certificate in Orff Music Education. She holds a Kodaly Certificate of Early Childhood Music, Orff Teacher Certification, Level 4 and AMEB qualifications in Piano, Clarinet and Theory.
Emma was awarded the ACT Government of Excellence Award, 2020 and COTA Intergenerational Award, 2019.
Experience the joy of music through singing, storytelling, movement and percussion in our fun Early Years Music Play program! Monday and Wednesday with the renowned Emma Zen.

Mixed Abilities Program (MAP)

Katie Cole

Katie Cole is an accomplished singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, writer and music director who loves sharing her passion for music making with people of all ages and abilities: from beginner to advanced; from hobbyist to professional. She founded and directs a band, ‘The Ukeladies’, improvises on violin at many venues around Canberra, is conductor of ‘Andante Andante’ ABBA choir, and for many years was the director of the German Harmonie Choir in Narrabundah. Currently, Katie teaches ukulele at Music for Canberra and is a tutor in the Open School of Music at ANU.
Katie has performed in many venues around Canberra including the High Court, National Gallery of Australia, Fitter’s Workshop, Albert Hall, Llewellyn Hall and the National Film and Sound Archive as well as at many community events including school fetes, church fairs, and local festivals. She is a guest host of Classical Capers at Smiths Alternative and has performed a number of times with the vocal ensemble Clarion in the National Portrait Gallery.
In 2019 her musical The Auction was performed to great acclaim in Tocumwal park, O’Connor.

Shaw Herron

Shaw Herron is Registered Music Therapist with the Australian Music Therapy Association. He started his own music therapy business in February 2008 after completing a Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy at UTS. He has successfully run individual and group music therapy sessions for the elderly and people with dementia at community organisations and many aged care facilities in Sydney and Canberra. He has also run individual and group music therapy sessions for children with autism and other disabilities. More recently Shaw has run group music therapy sessions for children with hearing impairments to assist with their development while adapting to their hearing aids and cochlear implants. He run educational sessions with a speech pathologist for parents of children with hearing impairments on how to use music at home to assist with their child’s development. Shaw also worked as Disability Community Support Worker when many of his music therapy sessions were cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Shaw’s music sessions have been well received by clients, carers and family members. Shaw aims to bring enthusiasm and fun to all his music sessions while providing inclusivity for every client and a variety of musical activities that promote wellbeing.

Theodore Ong

Theodore Ong is studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations and Human Rights at the ANU. He began learning violin at the age of 5 and completed AMEB grade 8 at the age of 13 in 2013. With violin starting as a childhood hobby and evolving into a passion, Theodore was able to ascertain a music scholarship in violin at Geelong Grammar School (2013 – 2018). Using this platform, he was given opportunities in ensembles both within and outside the school environment. Such experiences including performing with the Geelong Symphony Orchestra for their “Russia with Love” Concert Series (2016), Melbourne Youth Chamber Strings (2013), leading Geelong Grammars first overseas music tour as concert master to France and Belgium (2017) and held the post of concert master of The Geelong Grammar Symphony Orchestra (2016-2018). Theo has also performed with the National Boys Choir of Australia as a soloist and has been teaching violin and music theory to students aged 5 to 15 for 3 years.


Mandy Philipse, Camerata

Mandy has been Camerata’s conductor for the last seven years and absolutely loves working with kids. She has been involved with MFC (formerly CYO Society and Canberra Youth Music) since she was eight years old and playing the violin and viola.

Louis Sharpe, Canberra Youth Orchestra

Since Louis’ move to Canberra in 2018 he has been welcomed into the local arts organisations to develop and add to the wonderful cultural landscape of the city. With orchestral education a passion of his, Louis is thrilled to be the conductor of the Canberra Youth Orchestra. Louis also performs in the percussion section of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Louis has also assisted at the Australian World Orchestra whilst undertaking his Masters in Orchestral Conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Jenny Higgs, String Ensemble

Growing up in Lithgow, NSW, Jenny always knew that she would make music her career. After graduating from the Australian National University, Jenny pursued a path that combined music and education. Now a professional musician with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a teacher at Orana Steiner School. Jenny challenges her young students to explore works from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras and contemporary works written for string ensembles. She allows provides players with the opportunity to consolidate and develop their technical skills.

John Ma, James McCusker Orchestra

John Ma is a Violinist/Violist and Viola d’amore player specialising in Early Music. He has
performed with groups around the world including Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (NL), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (UK), Academia Montis Regalis (IT), Bach Collegium Japan (JP), Musica Poetica (NL), Apollo Ensemble (NL), Fantasticus (NL), New Collegium (NL), Collegium 1704 (CZ), Helsinki Baroque Orchestra (FIN), B’Rock (BG), Trondheim Baroque Orchestra (NOR).
In Australia, John has appeared with Pinchgut Opera, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Haydn Ensemble, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Salut!, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and Sinfonia Australis.
As a teacher and ensemble leader, he is keen to have his students seek a balance between
technique and exploration. A robust technique by itself is meaningless if it does not form the basis for a playful exploration and communication with colleagues and the audience.
John is an avid gamer and tech-nerd, he retains an interest in scientific developments and tries to stay up to date with the latest news and advances from his previous studies. He currently plays on a Duke violin from 1770.

Tobias Cole, Canberra Children’s Choir

Tobias Cole is an award-winning singer and conductor with a passion for quality ensemble performance and for creating pathways for children and adults to achieve this. He is a regular guest singer in one of Australia’s finest vocal groups, The Song Company and in 2014 established his own professional ensemble in Canberra, Clarion, to perform Evensong a monthly program in the National Portrait Gallery.In 2013 he founded Turner Trebles primary school choir and, in 2014, Vocal Fry for high school students in the ANU Music Development Program.  As a singer he has performed principal roles with all the major Australian opera companies, including Opera Australia and has performed as a soloist throughout Australia and overseas.

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