Our Teachers

Leonie Riordan, Director and Owner of Red Note Music

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Leonie completed a Bachelor of Music at The University of Melbourne, graduating with majors in Piano, Harpsichord and Music Theory.  She completed her Advanced Certificate with ABRSM and her Licentiate with Trinity College, London on Harpsichord during her university years. Leonie graduated from The University of Melbourne with a Master of Music Studies in 2013, with an emphasis on classroom music education and conducting.

Leonie completed a Graduate Diploma in Education at The University of Melbourne majoring in Music and Drama and spent over 10 years teaching classroom music and drama in private schools across Melbourne.  

Teaching piano has been a major focus in Leonie’s life for over 22 years.  She has taught privately at her home studio, in student’s houses, at schools and in larger studios during this time.   She has successfully guided students through all levels of exams, from Preparatory to Diploma level, including VCE Units 3 & 4.  She has experience in many exam syllabuses, including AMEB, ANZCA and ABRSM.  Leonie has experience in teaching students from as young as 4 years to adult beginners and those adults returning to piano after a break.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music (University of Melbourne)

Master of Music Studies (University of Melbourne)

Graduate Diploma in Education (University of Melbourne)

LTCL in Performance (Trinity College, London)

Dip ABRSM in Performance

Kodaly Teacher Accreditation (Lvls 1 – 3 Primary)

Orff Schulwerk Accreditation (Lvls 1 – 3)

Cert IV (Business)

Licensed Kinder Beat Teacher

Sarah Gare, Studio Manager and Senior Piano Teacher

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Sarah graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Music, specialising in classical piano performance. 

She has performed in chamber ensembles, musical productions ‘Wicked’ and ‘Miss Saigon’, and accomplished two solo recitals. In 2017 after graduating, Sarah moved to Melbourne to further her pursuits in teaching and music.

Sarah has over 10 years of teaching experience, teaching privately and in schools. She has experience successfully guiding students through AMEB, ANZCA and VCE examinations. 

Sarah is an imaginative and innovative teacher; she is continuously looking for creative and fun ways to teach musical concepts to students, inviting them to explore their creativity, as well as challenging them to meet achievable musical goals.

Sarah hopes to ignite a passion for piano in her students, fostering a life-long joy of music.


Sarah currently teaches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts (Double Major in Music Studies and Specialist Music Studies – Piano) (University of Western Australia)

Orff Schulwerk Accreditation (Lvl 1 and 2)

Licensed Kinder Beat Teacher

Sarah Duncan, Piano Teacher

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Sarah completed her Bachelor of Music with a Major in Performance/Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education at The Queensland University of Technology in 2011.

She also completed Grade 7 Singing through St. Cecilia School of Music and enjoyed singing in various choirs throughout her schooling and during her tertiary studies. She have performed at several private functions including weddings, themed events and ceremonies in both QLD & NSW.

Sarah has been teaching piano for the last 10 years with students ages ranging from 5 years old to adults. She believes in the importance of tailoring music education to the needs of each student and she enjoys teaching in an environment that supports this outlook.


Sarah currently teaches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music, Performance (Queensland University of Technology)

Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary)

Licensed Kinder Beat Teacher

Julian Smith-Gard, Piano Teacher

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Julian is an emerging composer, pianist, and arranger who is in his 3rd year of his Bachelor of Music (Interactive Composition) at the Victorian College of the Arts. While starting with classical piano in his early music education, he has since shifted towards more contemporary styles such as jazz and theatre music.

He actively participates in the Melbourne theatre scene, where he contributes to various musical theatre productions as part of bands and showcases his original compositions. His works have made their debut at the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2022, 2023) as well as at several local venues.

He is committed to fostering student agency, emphasising the use of students’ interests to drive the development of their technique and craft in engaging ways.


Julian currently teaches on Monday and Saturday

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music, Interactive Composition (currently studying in 2024)

Ella Hedigan-Dattner, Piano Teacher

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Ella has been playing and studying music for 16 years and is currently studying a Bachelor of Music (Interactive Composition) at Melbourne University. While she built her her technique through classical music and AMEB exams in her earlier music education, she made the shift to studying jazz and contemporary piano. She now focuses on composition and improvisation, specifically in film scores and ambient sound design.

Her studies have led her to a specific interest in music therapy and creating music education that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone. She loves teaching people music and helping them to build their confidence. In future, Ella aims to continue her studies into the research field of music therapy.

She hopes to give students a warm and safe environment to both build a strong technique and also explore creative avenues. 


Ella currently teaches on Saturday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music, Interactive Composition (currently studying in 2024)

James O’Brien, Piano Teacher

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James O’Brien is pianist and composer from Perth, and a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Throughout his career, James has shared the stage with notable artists including Kate Ceberano, Jamie Oehlers and Mat Jodrell, and has been recorded on a number of albums as a sideperson, including Daniel Susnjar’s WAM Award-winning album ‘The Recipe’ (2020). James is also a regular in line-ups at a range of events and festivals, including the Perth International Jazz Festival, Perth Festival, and Fringe World festival, among others.

An experienced educator, James has been helping students begin and advance their musical journey since 2016. Lessons with James are engaging and fun, and can cover a range of topics including piano technique, composition, theory, and music history, depending on a student’s interest.


James currently teaches on Wednesdays.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music (Hons) (WAAPA)

Hana Lavers, Piano Teacher

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Hana is a Japanese – Australian composer and pianist, who has studied classical piano from 4 years old. Through playing, she found her passion for composition and proceeded to study Music Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She specialised in harmonic analysis and chordal theory, 19th and 20th century music history, and studied under Carl Vine for her final year.

She blends music theory with strong technical skills to create a well-rounded musical education. Passionate about piano, she loves nurturing others’ passion for it and aims to inspire a similar love for piano in her students.


Hana currently teaches on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music (University of Sydney)

Jason Lambrou, Piano Teacher

Jason is a pianist who has roots in the classical world and a passion for jazz. He completed his degree from Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music majoring in Jazz. In his final year of study, Jason was awarded the David Bornstein Jazz prize for the best performance.

He brings his classical knowledge and love for late-romantic harmony and the jazz idiom to his writing and playing. Jason continues to perform regularly in Melbourne; own compositions and ones from emerging artists.

Jason’s teaching focus is not only in the application of theory into practice but also about discovering new ideas/techniques through experimentation and exploration with many genres of music.


Jason currently teaches on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music (Monash University)

Olivia Sweeney, Piano Teacher

Olivia is an enthusiastic teacher with a passion for music. She spent the last few years as an individual piano teacher teaching children in a studio and in their homes respectively. In addition to her piano studies, she has a strong interest in music theory; completing her Grade 7 Music Theory exam.

Olivia completed her Bachelor of Music in Interactive Composition at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne in 2020. Her studies allowed her to explore a variety of musical styles and genres.

As a piano teacher, Olivia ensures that her lessons are tailored to the individual student and their interests.


Olivia currently teaches on Friday.

Music / Teaching Qualifications

Bachelor of Music, Interactive Composition

Available Times
  • Monday: Waiting list applies
  • Tuesday: Waiting list applies
  • Wednesday: Waiting list applies
  • Thursday: Waiting list applies
  • Friday: Waiting list applies
  • Saturday: Waiting list applies
  • Sunday: Waiting list applies
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