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About Advantage Music Academy

The Academy was established in 2018 as an alternative to the backyard and mobile music schools to give the public access to a musical education of a professional standard. The Academy offers a comprehensive musical education that includes theory and aural instruction, and performances opportunities. The quality of the Academy's programs and level of professionalism is recognised by the wider musical community through accredited internships to students of the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music. 

Academy Leadership

Advantage Music Academy is under the direction of Steven Armstrong, a former lecturer of musicology and recipient of two university teaching excellence awards from The University of Western Australia and from the Student Guild of the same institute. Steven has over 20 years of instrumental teaching experience and holds a Bachelor of Music (Performance) with First Class Honours and received several awards and scholarships across undergraduate and postgraduate studies. He was accepted into the PhD program at UWA but withdrew after 3 years abandoning academia to focus on education and has now completed postgraduate studies in Educational Leadership.

Teaching Team

All Academy teaching staff have had at least 3 years of a tertiary music education or at least 10-years' teaching experience and a demonstrated high work ethic. Our teachers are a community of practice that collaborates, collectively forms pedagogical strategies, shares ideas, experiences and research to improve the learning experience and outcomes for each individual student. We do this through informal conversations in the studio, formal training sessions, one-to-one mentorship, and paid professional development with recognised organisations such the Australian Music Examination Board and the Kodaly Music Education Institute. 

NAMI CHENG

Piano

An experienced classroom and instrumental teacher with a Bachelor of Music, Master of Teaching, and Master of Education (Leadership & Management).

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

BROCK STANNARD-BROWN

Piano

An experienced teacher with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Teaching, both from UWA. 

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday - Saturday

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GRACE CHEN

Piano

An experienced teacher (10+ years) with an exceptional depth of pedagogical understanding.

Monday - Thursday & Saturday

ISABEL FINUCANE

Piano

A former student of the Academy Director and current high-performing student of music at UWA under the tutelage our Director's former teacher.

Tuesday & Wednesday

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KEENAN LEVIS

Guitar

A WAAPA graduate committed to seeing every student expand their minds, diversify their ability and interests, and be the best they can be.

Tuesday

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RORY SHEPHERD

Guitar

A versatile performer, talented composer, meticulous teacher and WAAPA graduate with an acute ability to understand and respond to the students' individual needs. Currently completing a Master of Teaching at ECU.

Monday

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NATASHA MITCHELL

Voice

Gifted and well-rounded local singer-songwriter and WAAPA graduate with a strong background in the performing arts including dance, drama, and classical violin, committed to facilitating the realisation of every student's potential. 

Monday - Wednesday

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Nate Wood

Violin

High-achieving UWA graduate musician and composer and a thorough pedagogue from a line of some of Perth's most distinguished musicians.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday

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Ciara Sudlow

Violin

Empathetic, passionate, and mindful UWA graduate pedagogue and multi-award-winning performer.

Saturday

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JOANNA WOLNY

Cello

Knowledgeable, resourceful and a highly conscientious pedagogue and award-winning UWA graduate performer. Currently completing a Masters of Teaching at UWA>

Wednesday & Saturday

Student-centred Philosophy 

We understand that by enrolling yourself or your child(ren) in our programs, you are making an investment and we take that seriously. We consider our role as educators a great privilege and responsibility. At the centre of everything we do are the best interests of every student.

Learning at Advantage Music Academy is not just about casually taking some classes or getting an A, or racing to eighth grade or winning competitions, but about the pursuit of the enrichment of the capabilities of the mind, personal growth, learning how to learn, striving for excellence, being the best you can be and having an encounter with even just a little of the incredibly complex and beautiful language of music and its transformative and communicate power.

That’s what Advantage Music Academy is really about.

Student-centred Mission

Through a culture of support and celebration, of persistence and patience and of growth through success and failure, in every lesson we pursue opportunities to:

  • expand the capabilities of the mind,

  • facilitate exploration and discovery,

  • build confidence and self-efficacy,

  • foster value of excellence,

  • enrich our students’ experience of the world,

  • encourage the desire to explore what it means to be human,

  • connect better with ourselves and with others,

  • encounter the transformative and communicative power of music.

Student-centred Vision

Our vision is to be widely recognised for our standards of excellence, the care and responsibility we take for every individual student’s learning and for adding further value and meaning to our students’ and their families’ lives.

Student-centred Pedagogy

We are informed, intentional and responsive in how we deliver every lesson. We facilitate learning through scaffolding, setting high expectations, teaching effective practice techniques, fostering ownership of learning and creating opportunities for exploration and improvisation. We develop highly capable autonomous learners who are able to apply skills and knowledge from past learning experiences to new challenges. We continuously improve our pedagogy through research, critical self-reflection, professional learning and challenging our own assumptions and attitudes.​ Through respectful and reciprocal relationships with students and their families we respond to the expectations and context of each family to achieve improved outcomes for each student.