Renwick Chan (Process Engineer) - January 2015
I’ve been learning electric guitar with Don for around 4 years. From the very first lesson, Don was able to identify that the guitar I had bought earlier was not suitable. Within a short space of time, he was able to find a much more suitable guitar for my small hands. Don is a very experienced guitarist and teacher. My experience with Don, is that in each lesson he will try and get the best out of me. Don shows a lot of patience, attention to detail and customizes his style of teaching according to his students' needs. Through Don, I have also gained an appreciation of the importance of music theory. Music theory and playing music comes hand in hand. From a beginner who had no prior music experience, I have now progressed to being a competent player, able to read music properly, play melody, open chords and bar chords. I would highly recommend anyone who is serious and really wants to play guitar the right way, to look no further than Don.
William McMahon (Honours student of Psychology) - March 2014
I bought my first guitar in late 2006, and, having largely failed to teach myself to play from internet guides, decided to seek professional tuition. I randomly picked the Melbourne School of Music out of the phone book, and seven years of lessons later I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
With Don, I have learned to play the melody and chords of a large number of songs, including blues songs, jazz standards, more contemporary popular songs, and just about everything in between. Throughout, Don has been quick to notice flaws in my playing technique, and to suggest strategies and exercises to improve as a player. Don has also taught me the music theory needed to understand what I hear and play, and I have certainly come to appreciate the importance of a solid theoretical background in developing as a musician. I would strongly recommend Don and the Melbourne School of Music to anyone looking to become a better guitarist as well as a better musician.
Muan Lim (former Vice-president Hewlett Packard) - March 2014
There are many challenges facing a mature age student attempting to learn the classical guitar. The fingers are less flexible, the connection between the brain and fingers occasionally disappears, and there are the Kodak moments when the mind goes blank. Nonetheless Don treats these major problems of mine as mild irritants. The music pieces are designed to bring a neophyte along the way, each new piece adding a new technique on the previous ones. There are some momentary lulls where I can internalise better a certain technique and then the journey continues. There is an emphasis on music theory and one will learn to read music properly and to have a sound understanding of fundamental music principles. I do appreciate Don's patience during these theory sessions. I have enjoyed the short time I have spent learning from Don. Don is a patient yet gently firm teacher and attempts very hard to get his students to do their best. I am very happy to have him as a teacher and have no hesitation to recommend him to any potential students.
Romina Lessene (Research Scientist) - March 2014
I learnt piano with Jenny as a young adult and now having two children, I was delighted to find Jenny once again. Both children are now musically blooming under Jenny’s much trusted guidance. What I find most impressive is Jenny’s expansive knowledge of the pianoforte repertoire, regardless of one’s level of playing. With Jenny’s help, I discovered Scarlatti and the beauty of Chopin. I still play the Nocturne I learnt with her, even after stopping lessons 20 years ago! My son even plays original pieces aimed at learning different techniques, composed by Jenny herself. Jenny’s intimate understanding of music theory and history helps to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the music being learnt as it is put into stylistic context. I think it is the mark of a great teacher when my love of playing the piano and the music itself perpetuates after so long and when my ten-year old girl and seven-year old boy look forward to piano lessons every week!
Arthur Gunawan (Software Developer) - March 2014
I have been a guitar student under Don for the past 2 years. Don is an experienced and meticulous guitar teacher. From the beginning he will help you find the right guitar to be using, which can be a revelation in itself. His lessons are structured and are built from years of teaching. Don is extremely knowledgeable and thorough with his teaching of guitar and music theory. He will set you up with all the right habits and exercises to grow your abilities on the guitar. He will also teach you to read and really understand the music you are playing. With Don as my teacher I find myself only limited by the amount of time I spend practicing. His lessons are fun and enjoyable and I recommend him to anyone serious about learning guitar and music!
Marco Iacuone (Japanese language teacher/Flamenco guitarist) - March 2014
I have been taking classical guitar and music theory lessons with Don for a number of years now and I can highly recommend his services. Since taking lessons with Don, I have improved greatly in many facets of musicianship. I had been playing flamenco guitar for many years but always felt I was limited in my progress because I lacked a solid foundation in musical education. As a result, I started looking for a teacher from whom I could learn classical guitar in conjunction with music theory. I tried numerous guitar teachers and soon discovered that it was very difficult to find a good teacher who is competent, able to teach in a progressive manner with well-structured resources and can explain things clearly. After meeting Don, I knew I had found the teacher that could take my playing and understanding of music where I wanted it to be. Don is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced musician in multiple music styles.
Judith Witcroft (Swimming Instructor) - April 2013
My nine-year old daughter, Lauren, has been learning the electric guitar with Don at Melbourne School Of Music for the past year. Previous to coming to see Don, she was learning in a group situation during school time. Having a lesson out of school hours and an individual 30 minute lesson has seen her improve in leaps and bounds. When we first met Don he was able to guide us as to the best equipment to buy and assisted us greatly in this area. From the first lesson I could see Don is passionate about his teaching. He encourages his students as well as sets challenges for them. Lauren loves going to her class every week and practising at home to achieve her set goals. You can see real joy on her face after her 30 minute lesson as well as great satisfaction in her achievements. Don has taught her to be able to read music and an understanding of basic theory of music. I highly recommend Don to any parent looking for an excellent and committed music teacher. He is always available to discuss your child's progress throughout the term.
Jenni Menzies (Business Analyst) - March 2013
My six-year old daughter, Alannah, has been learning the piano with Jenny as her teacher for the past year. I have found Jenny to be a very practical teacher with a lovely and patient way of relating to a girl who sometimes seems too full of bubbles to sit at a piano and learn! She is able to get the best out of her and keep her progressing each week. Alannah loves going to class every week and the whole experience from practicing at home to going to lessons has been enjoyable for both Alannah and I! I wouldn't take Alannah anywhere else. Her progress and attitude to learning the piano I doubt, could get any better. I never expected her to get so enthusiastic about playing and practising and I am sure her enjoyment is because of Jenny's tuition.
Taryn Fordyce (Insurance Consultant) - March 2013
After searching for some time for a piano tutor who was city based, had their own curriculum and space to accommodate me, I found Melbourne School of Music. I had some experienced playing as a child but little other than a tiny keyboard to practice on and a desire to make music. I was nervous about learning a new skill as an adult, yet from the first lesson Jenny showed so much patience, observation and optimism for my learning that I felt comfortable immediately. Jenny guided me on the most appropriate instrument to buy for my budget and was patient as I learned how to use it. She guided me on everything from the importance of posture, to keystroke, to understanding the background of the composers to better comprehend the feeling of the music.
It is rare to find a teacher really takes into account the learning style of their student and tailors the curriculum so effortlessly to the students needs and I have found that at the Melbourne School Of Music. From the first lesson Jenny has made learning fun and interesting, and although I am only learning for pleasure not work, Jenny takes my progress seriously and challenges me when she senses I reach a plateau in my learning. The curriculum encompasses many different styles to truly appreciate the instrument and I'm finding that even the theory is at such gradual steps as to be manageable on a weekly basis. The time has passed quickly, just over a year, but already I feel so much more confident in not only my piano playing and being able to read music, but the discipline of learning an instrument carries across into my work and personal life. I'm a much faster reader now and my typing speed has really picked up! I wish to take this opportunity to recommend Jenny Ford at the Melbourne School Of Music as a dedicated, enthralling and devoted teacher for piano and theory. I cannot be happier or more optimistic about my learning and look forward to many more years of music appreciation and playing.
Guy Yates (Veterinary Surgeon) - November 2011
I have had guitar lessons for a number of years, and many teachers during this time. With the best of intentions, and admittedly variable application to practice, I succeeded in collecting guitars, instruction books and printed or downloaded chord progressions and tab-form solos, but never progressed beyond 'sort of' playing. From this perspective, Don, at the Melbourne School Of Music, has introduced and reinforced fundamental theory in an understandable, complete and structured manner, and applied it to the pieces in a number of carefully compiled song books. This has created a sense of enjoyment and achievement as music theory has been progressively demystified, and as technical aspects of playing are corrected and gradually, but definitely, developed.
Don's approach is patient and professional, relaxed and fun, yet necessarily uncompromising and particular. His educated, experienced and unbiased guidance with equipment selection and repairs has been invaluable. If you just want to strum Kumbayah by the camp fire using only open chords, or dream of shredding distorted death metal solos at incomprehensible speeds, the Melbourne School Of Music is unlikely the place to start. If, however, you want to learn how to really play, understand what you're playing, and evolve as a musician, the sooner you start the better.
Dr Melissa Stephens (Clinical Neuropsychologist) November 2011
Having always wanted to learn piano, I was given one as a gift for my 30th birthday and realised very quickly that the only way I was going to learn to play was with regular face-to-face tuition – thus commenced my journey at Melbourne School of Music and private lessons with Jenny Ford. Nearly 3 years on and Jenny’s passion for teaching has made the experience an absolute delight.
Jenny has the unique ability to be able to ‘get inside my head’ and help me resolve the many issues I come across in my playing and her persistence in making me achieve my goals in the most efficient and error-free way is encouraging. Jenny’s uncanny ability to alleviate my performance anxiety has also been a blessing and the skills she has taught me have filtered into my day-to-day life.
Jenny’s personalised approach to teaching is uplifting and her self-written theory and practical courses are a joy to study. Jenny’s own accomplishments in the music industry, her knowledge of music theory and history, and her own gift at playing the piano are truly awe-inspiring.
I urge anyone searching for a piano teacher to look no further – you have found what you are looking for here at Melbourne School of Music!!
Darren Kinter (Commonwealth Government Employee) November 2011
I have been studying modern guitar at Melbourne School of Music for four years. When I first began lessons I was a complete beginner. With Don as a tutor, I have now reached a level of playing that I didn’t think possible four years ago, which has been hugely rewarding.
Don has the ability to teach the basics of technique and music theory to a beginner in a clear and effective manner. But further to this, as I have progressed, Don has demonstrated a vast and thorough knowledge of blues and popular music, not just teaching how to play a song, but how and why the song works.
Melbourne School of Music has taught more than simply how to play guitar, Don has fostered a deeper understanding of music that has enhanced my enjoyment of my favourite songs.
I have already recommend Don to a number of my friends, which is the best endorsement that I can give.
Ross & Natalie Nam November 2011
What a difference the Melbourne School Of Music (Jenny) has made - after two years of attending keyboard lessons at her school, our nine-year old daughter was unable to read music and played poorly. Within a very short period of time Jenny was able to rectify the bad habits. With proper practical and theoretical tuition, our daughter has continually progressed to the point where she can sight read and play accurately - it is a delight to listen to her play.
Our younger son has started lessons this year and he too is progressing well. Both children are completely different in character, yet Jenny is able to make the lessons enjoyable and she is very encouraging.
If you would like your children to learn to play the piano properly, we highly recommend the Melbourne School Of Music.
Tim Portwood (Physicist)
Dear (Future) Guitarist - If you want to develop as a guitarist with the help of a deeply knowledgeable and professional teacher, then Don should be on your list.
And if you're also after a teacher who can open up an awareness and understanding of the music you're listening to, playing or reading, then Don should be high on your list.
And if you're looking for a teacher who makes all this learning enjoyable, by making it relevant to you as an individual, then I'd recommend forgetting the list and do what I did a couple of years ago - give Don a call.
Dr John Ciciulla (Medical Practitioner)
Coming to guitar a little late, I thought that my best years of learning were behind me. With little background knowledge of my own, Don has guided me through everything from my purchase of equipment to setting up my practice environment at home.
Through Don's years of experience he has distilled the best approach to guide you on the right path and maximise your chance of success. All whilst avoiding pitfalls and bad habits early - such that they don't come back to haunt you later when things get more difficult. That is even before mentioning his custom method and personlised approach to your own tuition in musical practice and theory. There is a focus on technique, where one lesson builds logically on the last. This, along with Don's palpable passion for music, instills me with confidence that I am on the very best course to become a complete guitar player and maybe even a "guitarist".
Pam Lewis (HR Manager)
Three years ago, at the age of 58, I attended the Melbourne School of Music and commenced piano lessons with Jenny Ford.
Never having learnt a musical instrument, or how to read music, I was a little hesitant, not knowing what to expect from the venture. Jenny’s commitment to her pupils, her energy and her passion for music ensured that every lesson became an emerging experience.
Although in only the early stages of my musical journey, building on these experiences has seen music become more than just notes on paper to me. I have started to understand the language and emotion of music and the enjoyment it can bring.
Learning music has provided a challenge to my thought processes, helped me to step outside my traditional boundaries and given me confidence to continue growing in this aspect of the arts.
If you are someone who wishes to attain a personal goal, then Melbourne School of Music is a great place to start and I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this school to anyone.
Matthew Stewart (Horticultural Consultant)
I've been a student of Don's in Guitar and Music Theory since 2008 and would highly recommend that anyone with aspirations to learn guitar, make the Melbourne School Of Music your first preference.
I personally had modest ambitions in 2008; however, Don's infectious passion for music and genuine interest in helping me learn, spurred me on to what I hope will now be a lifelong endeavour.
The teaching style Don employs is what I consider patient and strategic, however constantly pushing the boundaries, so that the only thing holding me back is the amount I practice!
When it came to equipment, the electric guitar and amplifier Don helped me to purchase were not just good quality and great to play with, but I didn't have to re-mortgage the house to pay for them.
Don and the Melbourne School Of Music
-On a Scale Above The Rest-
Laxmi Haritharan (Accountant)
Jenny Ford from Melbourne School Of Music is an accomplished and outstanding teacher. My daughter, Anjali, has been taking lessons from her for a year and I am very
pleased with her rapid progress throughout the year.
When I began my search for a piano teacher for Anjali, I not only wanted someone who was very skilled at playing the piano, but also someone with a warm and positive approach
in dealing with children and Jenny definitely stood out from the rest.
Her excellent attitude and music ability are evident in all aspects of her teaching. My daughter looks forward to attending piano lessons each week and she adores Jenny. Jenny provides her with lots of rich and varied pieces of music to play week after week and my daughter absolutely loves it. Jenny is also a very consistent and organised teacher and she communicates with me on a regular basis about Anjali’s progress. Jenny has also established good rapport with Anjali and has given her the self-confidence she needs for her to be successful.
I am very happy with my choice of piano teacher and I have nothing but positive things to say about Jenny and the Melbourne School Of Music.
Marie Labat (Research Scientist)
I started learning piano with Jenny more than 3 years ago. I really enjoy it, always looking forward to the next learning step. Jenny is a very patient teacher, always finding the solution to get over a difficulty that seems insurmountable to me. Her knowledge in music theory has helped me unravel how music is composed and it is always nice to learn more about the history of music with her.
I have a young family and my weekly lesson with Jenny is really a time for myself, which I much enjoy.
Dale Blythman (Teacher)
For the last six months I have learnt how to play and understand music through Don’s expert knowledge and teaching. His understanding, of not only the guitar, but also the fundamentals behind music has enabled me to broaden my (limited) musical knowledge.
I have found Don to be very professional in his teaching, with a focus not only on playing the guitar but also understanding the theoretical components behind it all. I have thoroughly enjoyed my lessons with the Melbourne School of Music, in particular Don. His expert knowledge of guitars, through years of playing, helped me greatly in purchasing the right guitar for my playing style and me.
I would gladly recommend Don and the Melbourne School of Music to anyone who wishes to learn more about the world of music.
Man Tran (Business IT Student)
Prior to meeting Jenny, I had experience with several other piano teachers.
Upon meeting Jenny, I realized that you require the right person to take you down the right path.
All those seeking the path of piano enlightenment will need to travel the path of A to B. How quickly B is reached, is determined by how efficient the learning process is. How effective the learning process is, comes down to the delivery method and expertise of your piano teacher. There is a fundamental difference between ‘a person that knows how to play a piano’, and ‘a person that plays what they know.’ Jenny’s substantial knowledge, on several occasions has helped me unravel the mysteries to music phenomena, subsequently inciting further musical interest and helping me better understand what music really means.
To those of you who have given up in aspiring to become a better pianist, I strongly recommend the Melbourne School of Music as your next turning point.
Emma Knight (Year 12 student)
A definite highlight of my busy week as a Year 12 student is my piano lesson with Jenny Ford. She took me on board 3 years ago and the time has flown since then. She has a great personality and is very encouraging and understanding. Jenny has given me space and opportunity to broaden my musical appreciation in "doing my own thing", improvising and composing my own work, but has always been available to give quality feedback & a knowledgeable listening ear. In addition to my own creations, Jenny has significantly improved my other aspects of playing and I've completed several exams & will continue to in the years to come. She's helped me cover a vast range of styles from Classical to Jazz, often incorporating my Year 12 subject, Music Styles; also developing my theory skills.
She was most supportive when I had an injury that affected my playing and was very willing to accommodate it. I honestly couldn't imagine a week without seeing Jenny; she definitely makes my day.
Antonio Gonzalavez (IT Consultant)
As a beginner with a non-musical background, I didn’t realise how much rubbish there is out there in both instrument sales and musical instruction.
With many years of experience, Don, at Melbourne School Of Music, helped me understand the importance of selecting the right musical instrument and associated accessories as well as helping me to purchase all the necessary items.
Now that I have been through my first year, I can say that the tailored lessons that Don provides are logical, comprehensive and follow his tried and tested methods. The lessons focus equally on progression through the practical and theoretical components.
I look forward to my lessons every week and I happily recommend the Melbourne School of Music to anyone.
Emma Liesting (Potter/Sculptor)
My ten-year old son, Timothy has been enjoying electric guitar lessons for over a year now with Don at the Melbourne School of Music and he absolutely loves it! He looks forward to leaning something new each week and his enthusiasm never stops growing.
Jasmine Harabalja (Accountant)
Over past year and a half I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Melbourne School of Music. Don is an encouraging, professional and most of all very patient teacher. I
definitely appreciate his flexibility especially when I have had to change lesson times, something that is very much appreciated. What started out as a hobby has quickly
become an addiction, one that I hope will last for years! I would highly recommend Don to anyone considering taking up guitar.
Keiran O’Neill (IT consultant)
Jenny is a great piano teacher: patient, encouraging and with a great depth of knowledge of both the piano and music in general. The course material she has arranged is very well thought out - to the point that I am still surprised by how well a new technique or skill is introduced.
With Jenny as a teacher, I have enjoyed learning the piano every bit as much as I had hoped, and would recommend her to anyone wishing to begin learning or further improve their piano playing.
Vikki Mead (Customer Service Officer)
My daughter (12years old) started with Melbourne School of Music 4 months ago and I have been amazed with her progress. Lauren learnt to play new pieces hands together
when previously she learnt one hand at a time over a long period. Jenny’s teaching style means Lauren does not become bored by having to play the same piece endlessly for
months. Lauren’s timing and tempo have all improved and for the first time she is using a metronome effectively.
Jenny is a great motivator and I no longer have to ‘nag’ Lauren to practice!
Melbourne School of Music has a comfortable waiting room and easy parking.
I would recommend Melbourne School of Music. I have told many friends about how pleased we are with the change we see in Lauren’s playing.
Vee Hu (Medical Practitioner)
Jenny is a marvellous teacher and composer. She skillfully tailors the music lessons to the individual needs of my two very different children (aged 9 and 11 years). She gives them delightful pieces to practise that subtly extend and reinforce their musical ability. Best of all, she encourages my children’s love of music.