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Meet the Founder

Sophie Maxwell

Music has always been a big part of my life. For me, it’s a powerful and natural way to express yourself and connect with the world. In fact, music is not only my passion, it’s my profession too.

It makes sense then that music has woven itself into my life in so many different ways.

My musical adventure started from a young age. I was just a year old when my parents couldn’t find a babysitter for their evening at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO). Bravely, they decided to bring me along with a plan to leave when I became unsettled. In a surprising turn of events, it was me who found my parents too distracting. But I quickly demanded to sit in an empty spot in the row in front – surrounded by people I didn’t know. Seated contentedly with my bottle of milk I was transfixed with the music. To my parents’ relief I barely moved for the entire concert.

During kindergarten, and after a Meet the Orchestra Concert with MSO, I informed my mother that I was going to play the violin. At the time, my family assumed it was just a passing fad. But the obsession never passed.

In fact, my fascination with music only grew. As a young child my music teacher, Zeah Riordan, picked up on this interest. She introduced me to music and movement classes taught by Nehama Patkin (of Playschool fame). I have fond memories of crawling around being a ferocious roaring dinosaur. It was a case of kismet when, years later, both my school teacher and Nehama became my instructors throughout teacher training.

In primary school I started to apply myself to the violin in earnest. This culminated with a tour of the UK with my school’s orchestra. I was just eleven.

My passion for playing both the violin and viola continued to weave its spell throughout my late teens. While completing my senior secondary studies, I also trained as a Suzuki teacher. On graduation, I became a music teacher, sharing my passion with students in public and private schools and music schools, in rural communities as well as offering private tuition from my home studio.

I have also spent considerable time performing as a professional musician. For many years I worked alongside musicians including Tina Arena, Sir John Hopkins and James Morrison. I have toured Europe and performed solo in Milan. A true career highlight happened in 2008 when I performed with the Schönberg Ensemble and Barbara Hannigan as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Throughout these years I found time to top up my education with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from The University of Melbourne. Music also lead me to the role of Producer for ABC Classic FM. There, I worked on live-to-air broadcasts and the national breakfast show with Eddie Ayres (formerly Emma Ayres).

But sometimes things have a habit of going full circle. I attended a Suzuki music conference in 2003 and stumbled upon a Suzuki toddler music class. It was there that it hit me. I really wanted to start helping the next generation of children discover the the magic of music, just as I had so many years ago. In 2005, I became an accredited Suzuki Violin, Viola and Baby & Toddler Music teacher.

Today, I have unshakable dedication to early childhood music education. There are myriad ways music can help, not only nurture a child’s individual spirit and artistry, but also contribute to their overall learning and development. Daily, I bring the joy of music to little ones and their accompanying grown ups in music classes across Melbourne’s west. Through concepts of rhythm, beat, lyrics and movement, my team of professional musicians and I promote children’s musicality and development in fun, engaging and entertaining classes for babies through to five year olds.

Join me and take your little ones on a journey of musical adventure. I promise you’ll enjoy the experience just as much as our tiny students do.


Musically yours,

Sophie Maxwell BMus (Hons.) (Melb.), AMusA, STCA, MVMTA

Founder, Musical Adventures.

Meet the Teachers

Claire Fischer

A classically trained violin and viola player and teacher, I started the violin at 5 years of age. I then studied the Suzuki Method with Lois Shepheard and at age 13 switched instruments to the viola. Not long after I toured throughout Europe with the Saino Kyioku Chamber Orchestra.
After finishing school, I focused on classical music, playing in the Strad String Quartet for over ten years. I then branched out into contemporary music while playing with the Emaline Delapaix Band as they toured the US in 2001.
I completed my Suzuki Method teacher training on the violin in 2010 and now teach both the violin and viola. Over the years I have collaborated with fellow musicians and artists on a variety of projects, including a sell-out show at the Melbourne Festival in 2009 for Elemental, an exploration of science, mind and the universe showcased in the Melbourne Planetarium where I was both composer and musician.
In 2014, I discovered Suzuki Early Childhood Music and started training the same year. I feel passionately about the Suzuki Early Childhood Program as I truly believe it is the perfect place to begin to experience the magic of the language of music.

Meet Liam O’Kane

My musical adventure started as young boy when I first discovered the guitar, piano and voice. Over the years I added to this list by learning and mastering myriad other instruments including the ukulele, banjo, bass, autoharp, harmonica, ocarina, alto recorder, penny whistle, organ, tenor saxophone, mandolin, bouzouki and the jaw harp.

I have a bachelor of Performing Arts from Monash University and studied at the prestigious Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. This has led to performing in festivals around the world including New York, Edinburgh and our closer neighbour, Adelaide.

I am an engaging and energetic teacher who has collected four years of experience – and counting –  teaching children of all ages using song, dance and often with an instrument.

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Blog

Sophie and the Musical Adventures team love their share their knowledge, experience and thoughts with the community.

Contact us if you have a suggestion for a blog topic, we love to hear from you!

Hello & Welcome

Hello, and welcome to the Musical Adventures blog! Over the eleven or more years I have been teaching I have often walked away from a lesson wishing I

Ethan loved music classes with Sophie. She incorporates song, movement & sensory activities as well as her beautiful viola playing & singing voice perfectly into the sessions. After just a few weeks Ethan started making more eye contact, audio tracking & babbling with lots of differentiated sounds. Not only did he enjoy it but it was a great support for me as a new mum! The emotional support & the opportunity to get out of the house into a stress free, relaxing environment was invaluable. Thank you Sophie!”

Steph & Ethan

“My daughter Lily loves going on her Musical Adventure every week. While hesitant to take her turn at first, she has quickly become comfortable with the lovely Sophie and now eagerly awaits her turn up at the xylophone, glockenspiel or any of the other wonderful instruments ready for little hands to play. Singing, dancing, stomping, walking in time, keeping the beat – there is so much amazing learning going on. Sophie had everyone spellbound when she played her violin for us this week – what a treat. I highly recommend Musical Adventures for tots of all ages.”

Katie & Lily

“I have searched tirelessly for a music class that would meet our needs. We have attended many classes at varying venues that were plain and boring. Music adventures was mentioned to us and I thought, `oh, another one’. However, we were delighted with the skill and talent from the educators, that we have re booked for another term.”

Kym & Willow

“We look forward to Musical Adventures every week. Franky loves the songs, rhymes and instruments. I’m constantly amazed at his progression and his ability to engage with the music and others. Musical Adventures has been an integral part of his cognitive development, as well as his motor and social skills. Sophie is an engaging and fun educator and we highly recommend the class for any little one.”

Eileen & Franky