Our Academy Staff

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GIANNI MICHELINI

Founder of National Music Academy

Gianni started his love affair with the guitar at the age of 11 and started to play professionally at the age of 13 at cafes and restaurants serenading the patrons.

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This humble beginning taught Gian that even though he was getting lessons which were fantastic these did not encompass any real world applications like setting up a PA, or even how to put together an appropriate set list. Gian went on to study at the Conservatorium of Newcastle studying a Bachelor of Music with acclaimed guitarist Gareth Koch. After graduating, Gianni furthered his studies in Italy and Spain studying under many acclaimed teachers including Manuel Berraquerro, Juan Martin, and flamenco master and virtuoso Jeronimo Maya

Gianni started teaching guitar in 1996 and his goal has been to create a program for students which nutures, mentors, guides and helps all students, no matter what level, to have an authentic experience at learning their instrument. Customising and finding out what students goals are has been the driving element in making National Music Academy more then just a place of tuition but a network of like minded artists who strive to help students achieve their dream.

Gianni is also an artist and songwriter and is one of today’s few unique artists to equally blend songs and instrumental tracks, Gian’s 20yrs of study and public performance in Australia and overseas has not only gained him respect from his peers but has also been creating attention with a list of credits and awards to his name.

Gianni collected the most awards ever received by one artist in one year at the 2005 ABC Music Awards being “Best Artist”, “Best Male Vocalist”, “Broadcaster’s Choice”, and “APRA Songwriter of the Year”. Prior to these he received awards for “Best Instrumental Artist In Australia”, “Top 5 Artist in R&B Category” and “Top 5 Artist in World Music Category” at the 2004 MusicOz Awards.

That same year Gian’s haunting Moorish track Aire featured on Petrol Records Compilation Beach Vibes – Byron Bay, which became the 11th most downloaded instrumental track on the US i-Tunes charts. Following this success, Gianni was quickly signed for an adjoined deal to ABC and Universal Records Australia.

In 2005, Gianni collaborated with Grammy nominated songwriter/producer Paul Pederson (The Corrs, Prince, and George Benson) and 2008 saw him tour extensively throughout 35 countries in South America, North America, Europe and Africa promoting his November 2007 album Feel the Music. Gian has also played in 2011 with Sheila E (Prince), (2012) Eric Bibb and many other national and international artists.

Performing at such venues as the Sydney Opera House, The Basement and Lizzotte’s to Miami’s World Music Conference, his vibrant and very musical performances with world-class musicians accompanying him brings Gian’s music to life.

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FIN ROACH

General Manager and Team Leader
He’s a singer songwriter from Newcastle NSW with a BMus in contemporary guitar, AMUS in  in Classical Guitar and Clarinet. Fin is an artist first and foremost and his passion lies in developing the students and those around him.

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Fin has supported such artists as James Reyne and Mark Seymour and is currently recording his upcoming album to be released late 2017.

As well as being a talented musician, Fin is also National Music Academy’s General Manager! He looks after all of our campuses, staff and students and provides direction for the next events and opportunities for everyone involved at NMA!

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ELLA MOULDER

Vocal Specialist
Ella started teaching at 16 years old and has been inspiring her students ever since.
With a background in classical music, jazz, theatre as well as contemporary pop and rock she has helped many students gain music scholarships and acceptance into selective schools.

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Her love for music and helping other musicians to better their craft is what influences her the most.

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CHAD PENFOLD

Guitar Specialist
Chad began playing guitar at age nine and instantly developed a passion for music. For over 10 years Chad recieved lessons with National Music Academy and was taught and mentored by a variety of teachers.

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Although he’s known as a blues guitarist, Chad is knowledgeable in a variety of styles including rock, jazz, pop, country and fingerstyle. He has experience in performance ranging from solo gigs to playing in bands.

During his time at school, Chad was heavily involved in the music program from stage band, concert band and choir, as well as completing the HSC Music 1 course, which lead to him being nominated to play his program at Encore at The Sydney Opera House.

He is currently studying a Bachelor of Music at the Newcastle Conservatorium majoring in contemporary guitar and creative production. Chad is a keen musician eager to help his students achieve their goals.

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DANE BALDWIN

Drums Specialist
Dane has been playing drums professionally for 32 years and he has performed in an endless amount of gigs and tours. He has just gotten back from touring in New Zealand and has also spent a lot of time touring overseas.

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time over in the United States in Nashville, performing with Morgan Evans, who is a Nashville based Australian country superstar. 

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ISABELLA CREBERT

Junior Administration
Isabella Crebert is a part of the Junior Administration team, as well a regular performer for NMA. Isabella is an award winning photographer and has written blog posts for companies such as Studios 301.

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She specialises in guitar and vocals, and has performed at prestigious locations such as The Civic Theatre and Lizottes. Isabella is an enthusiastic and bright personality with a strong love for music and multimedia.

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JEREMY BILSON

Piano Specialist
Jeremy is a classically trained pianist and singer/songwriter who teaches classical, jazz and contemporary piano to students ranging from beginner to advanced.

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As well as being in the final stages of a Bachelor of Music at the Newcastle Conservatorium, he regularly performs as a solo artist and in a variety of bands around the Newcastle and the Hunter region. In 2016 Jeremy released his original studio EP ‘Head Above Water’ which was supported with radio airplay and an East Coast tour.

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KATE SMITH

Vocal Specialist
Kate is a a vocalist, guitarist and piano player as well as a singer-songwriter, who released her debut EP Day Dreams last year.

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Her passion is in singing and writing pop/contemporary, Indie and folk music but she is also heavily influenced by musical theatre, jazz and funk.

While working as a vocal teacher at NMA Kate is also close to completing her Bachelor of Music At the Newcastle Conservatorium, where she majors in contemporary voice. She also performs at a Theatre Restaurant and regularly gigs around Newcastle.

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RACHEL COX

Vocal Specialist
Rachel Maria Cox is a vocal specialist as well as a keys player and award-winning songwriter.

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They’ve released two critically acclaimed EPs with a debut LP on the way, with singles receiving airplay on Triple J and being shortlisted for the prestigious Vanda & Young Songwriting award.

Their background spans classical music, musical theatre, jazz, pop, rock and punk/hardcore music, and they are passionate about helping students achieve their goals and develop a lifelong love for music.

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SAMI COOKE

Vocal Specialist
Since completing High School in 2014, Sami has been a full time touring musician, performing over 100 shows across the Eastern Coast of Australia yearly. In 2016 and 2017, Sami expanded her tours from Australia to New Zealand and Canada.

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Being trained with classical techniques since the age of twelve, Sami has a lot to offer her students (focusing on the individual students needs); whether they be interested in becoming gig ready or wanting to know breathing and vocal techniques to help keep their voice strong and constantly improving.

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ADAM OSMANOVIC

Guitar Specialist
Adam started playing guitar when he was eleven years old and since has built a strong reputation as a rock and blues guitarist and has shared the stage with artists such as Angry Anderson, Kevin Borich, Nat Col and the Kings, Nathan Cavaleri and Grant Walmsley.

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Adam realised he wanted to play music after growing up watching his uncle Izzy Osmanovic who was lead guitarist of Australian rock icons The Screaming Jets. This passion has led Adam to develop his art making him the guitarist and musician he is today.

Adam has a Bachelor of Music attained at Newcastle Conservatorium, an Advanced Diploma in Music Business and a Certificate IV in Music Technology. Whilst at the Conservatorium he studied jazz, blues, country, contemporary and classical styes and is currently the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter for hard rock/blues band Heart Attack and Vine.

Adam has had a lot of experience teaching and playing live and loves mentoring students to help achieve their goals. This is a very versatile guitarist who really understands his art and loves to teach all his tricks and share his knowledge.

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CHELSEA DAVIS

Piano Specialist
Growing up Chelsea had always been surrounded by music. Both her parents learnt the piano as children and

DAVE JAVIER

Personal Development & Artistry Mentor
Dave looks after students that want to take their music to the next level. He is committed

ELEANORE PLUMMER

Drum Specialist
Eleanore has been drumming since she was 11. She started at group lessons and was hooked.

JEREMY MINETTE

Guitar Specialist
Jeremy Minett is no stranger to the life of a working guitarist. Starting out at just ten years old, he began gigging at thirteen and has not looked back since!

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Since forming his first band Powerage, he has played in numerous bands and duos, performing all over Australia and in the UK. He’s also shared a stage with the likes of Matchbox Twenty, Karnivool, The Screaming Jets, The Angels, Thirsty Merc, Grinspoon and Rose Tattoo.

Jeremy is also an accomplished musician academically, graduating from the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music in 2015 with a Bachelor Of Music With Distinction in Contemporary Guitar Performance. This means that Jeremy not only excels at performance but also in his knowledge and understanding of theory, harmony, performance skills, ensemble skills and industry knowledge. Combined with his ongoing and diverse working experience, Jeremy is truly
a well-rounded musician and brings this holistic approach to his work at NMA.

Jeremy is experienced in a broad range of contemporary guitar styles including Rock, Pop, Jazz, Funk, RnB and Country. He currently performs with artists such as Max Jackson, The Hang Suite, Garth and the aPrentices and The New Cool, playing pop, contemporary country, funk, soul, blues, rock and acoustic. On top of this, he somehow manages to find the time to be one of the most committed and long-serving teachers here at NMA. He loves working at the academy because he “gets to share passion for music and the guitar and work with a fantastic group of
people to foster some of the finest musical talent the country has to offer”.

Lessons with Jeremy are “fun and engaging”, as he tries to make the lesson “the best part of the students’ week” and the progress that his students make is a testament to his goal to “keep them motivated and pushing themselves to reach their goals!” He also works hard to include all the theory a student needs to understand why they are learning what they are learning and how it’s applicable to their goals and songs. He says of his own education “I wish my musical education had included someone telling me what I was actually playing, the mechanics behind what I was
learning and why the techniques and concepts where used in the song”.

Students who learn from Jeremy can expect the kind of knowledge that only years of experience in music can bring. Whatever your goals, lessons with Jeremy at NMA can help you take your guitar playing to the next level. To find out more, contact us today!

What’s something you wish your musical education had included growing up? I wish my musical education had included someone telling me what I was actually playing when I was learning all these songs! I wish I had a teacher who explained to me the mechanics behind what I was learning and why the techniques/concepts were used in the song. I also REALLY wish I had learned to read music at a much younger age!

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KIERAN SHEATHER

Admin Supervisor
He is a well rounded and ambitious and loves people. He is passionate about providing value to students lives by

MEL COOMBES

Piano Specialist
My name is Mel Coombes, I am in my final year of my Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Newcastle majoring in

SHAUN DANGER

Classical Guitar Specialist

Shaun Danger is an accomplished guitarist having studied classical guitar performance at

SIMON BERNASCONI

Event Manager & Campus Manager Maitland
Simon is the events manager and the manager of the Maitland Campus.


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    Contact Us

    Newcastle

    Phone: (02) 4929 3060
    Mobile: 0422502623
    Email: manager@nationalmusicacademy.com.au
    Address: 461 King St Newcastle West NSW 2302

    Maitland

    Phone: (02)4934 5553
    Mobile: 0422502623
    Email: maitland@nationalmusicacademy.com.au
    Address: 416a High St Maitland NSW 2320