Currently, Sarah is completing her PhD - Doctor of Philosophy (Music - Performance), on a full scholarship as a recipient of the Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend. But, apart from studying, she truly believes she has the best job in the world, teaching violin and conducting the Strings and Ensemble programs based in Penguin at the North West Christian School.
Previously, Sarah has taught violin performance for year 11 and 12 students at Hellyer College and Don College and was a tutor at the Riverina Summer Strings School in Wagga Wagga, and the Residential Summer Strings Camp in Tasmania.
After being invited to perform the violin for the governor of Queensland at the age of 9, Sarah continued violin studies with the acclaimed string educator Elizabeth Morgan AM. Consequently, Sarah was a featured artist on ABC 2NR radio and gave a solo performance at the Sydney Opera House when she was 11 years old, featured with her twin sister in the St George Commercial on national TV (1999), and performed solo with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Quartet. After being awarded music scholarships to attend high school at Somerville House, music tuition at QLD Young Conservatorium of Music, president’s scholarship for academic excellence at Avondale College and the Con Ellis Honours scholarship at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music where she completed her Bachelor of Music (First class Honours). She was also awarded the Australian Post Graduate Award whilst studying under her mentor, Dr Susan Collins.
Before moving to Tasmania Sarah tutored violin in Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle, and started a Strings music program at the Wahroonga Adventist Primary School in Sydney.
Why did you choose string teaching as a career?
I've been fortunate to have had a number of great teachers who were tough as nails. Not only were they sticklers for setting the bar high, but incredibly passionate, nurturing and encouraging. Knowing how those incredible teachers changed my life, and how important music is to the development of the brain, spurred me on to carry on their work. Our window of opportunity to teach is very small, in the scheme of things, so to give and to pass on, is the most fulfilling purpose in my life.
Music is for everyone. Once we trust and realise our own potential, patiently plan and use self-discipline to carry it out in small steps, violin becomes a lifelong skill that brings endless joy to so many people. This process I find fascinating, and totally rewarding, which is why I chose to become a Strings teacher.
Who inspires you and why?
"I believe you have all the talent and creativity you need. What you can control is how hard you work. You can make sure you work harder than anyone else." Lang Lang, concert pianist
Students Inspire me when they take hold of their potential, work hard, and concentrate on the bigger picture in life.
I am truly Inspired by Jesus, who had all the power in the world, but chose to give, give, give. Teach. Sacrifice.
What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
I love to see children aim high, and to distinguish themselves through excellence.
It is incredibly rewarding to see a student strive for this and understand the requirements of excellence and the effort it requires. The joy on a student’s face when they begin to reap the fruits of their labour in lessons, performance or ensemble, is heart-melting. As the teacher, I see the metacognitive strategies of goal setting, self-evaluation and reflection they are developing in their violin practise. These acts of commitment, perseverance and resolution are needed to become a fine violinist, and it’s what builds character. As Christians, we believe we are building characters for eternity, and it is this building of character that is perhaps the most rewarding thing about my role.
What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to challenging students to give of their very best, to step out of their comfort zones, to believe and trust in their God given talents, to raise the bar higher and higher. And most importantly, I look forward to seeing them use their talents for others, and for the Lord.
When you’re not teaching, what do you do in your downtime? Do you have interests or hobbies?
Living life, so much fun to be had!
What book are you reading, or what would we find on your podcast list? What do you love to learn about?
The one I can’t live without? The Bible