Our incredible instrumental music teachers come from a range of backgrounds and possess an impressive skill set. For more information on extra-curricular music, please contact ncc@northside.qld.edu.au or call (07) 3353 1266.

Double Bass: Paul O'Brien

Paul O’Brien is a member of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra double bass section. 

He has worked extensively as a freelance player performing with the Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras as well as the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Portugal). In 2007 he was an ACO Emerging Artist and has been a member of the SSO educational ensemble Sydney Sinfonia. Paul is also actively involved in teaching across South-East Queensland, in his home studio and at three schools. He studied with John Fardon, Dushan Walkowicz, Marian Heckenberg and Andrew Rootes and is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

Drums: Daniel James

With 15 years of live performance experience, Daniel James holds a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane, Australia. 

Under the guidance and inspiration of two Australian drumming greats - John Parker and Paul Hudson, Daniel has been developing a highly comfortable and melodic flavour of drumming and fuelling an insatiable drive for an international career in performance. Daniel has industry experience with P&O Cruises and can be seen around live music venues in Brisbane regularly in both covers and original bands. 

These venues include Felon’s Brewing Company, Doo-Bop Jazz Bar, Brooklyn Standard, Tomcat and others. In addition to developing a name as a freelance drummer in Brisbane, Daniel is a regular member of the groups Kayne Missen & The Young Americans (Indie-Pop originals), DysFunktionals (Funk/Soul/Pop covers), Bernoulli (Jazz-Indie originals) and has been serving in music at his local church since age 11.

Guitar & Bass: Peter Howlet

Peter began learning guitar at a young age. He has been teaching guitar and bass for 26 years (20 years at Northside!). During this time he has taught over 150,000 lessons and seen many students go on to fulfil their dreams with guitar, many pursuing careers in music. Peter has developed a large curriculum of teaching material and courses which he houses on his website www.mastertheart.net and on YouTube.  As the music director of his local church, Peter loves being able to use his gifts to worship and express his faith in Jesus. He also holds an engineering degree and has a keen interest in photography.

Piano & Percussion: Emi Scott

Emi Scott is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who has performed and taught in the areas of percussion, piano and voice. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Percussion Performance (Honours). Throughout this time, she performed with a variety of groups including The Queensland Orchestra traineeship (now known as the Queensland Symphony Orchestra), Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYS, QYO2 and QYO3), The Australian VoicesBa Da Boom Percussion, and Conservatorium Chamber Choir. She also serves on the Kids Worship Team at her church.

Piano: Leanne Rogers

Leanne began playing the piano at 5 years of age and taught her first private lesson at 18.  She completed a Bachelor of Education (Music) at Melbourne State College and spent some time teaching high school music, before opening her own private tuition business.  She has been teaching piano at Northside for over 20 years.   Leanne holds a TESOL Cert 4 and is passionate about helping refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and abroad.

Piano: Leanne Sharp

Leanne learnt piano from her mother from a very early age. Her mother inspired a life-long love of music which she maintains to this day.  She completed her ATCL via private tuition and has gone on to enjoy a 25-year teaching career. Leanne enjoys attending concerts and musicals and has a keen interest in athletics.

Percussion: Sam McDonell

Sam McDonell (nee De Soto), is a Brisbane based Percussionist and Teacher who Graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium with First Class Honors in Advanced Performance, she received a Distinction for her Thesis: The Current Situation and Future Direction of Orchestral Percussion in Australia, and also received a University Medal.

Over the last decade, Sam has performed in various ensembles across Australia, from solo concerts and innovative chamber groups to large-scale orchestras and drumming ensembles. She has been involved with The Queensland Youth Orchestra, The Australian Youth Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra/The Queensland Orchestra, The Ipswich City Orchestra, The QLD Choir, Mercury New Music Ensemble, Underground Waltz, Collusion, and supported local Brisbane and Ipswich Contemporary and Pop artists.

In addition to her activities as a performer, Sam has been a Percussion and Drum Kit Teacher in Brisbane schools and her home studio for many years, providing professional tuition to primary and secondary students prep to university age. She also has been in Ministry for many years in her local church and is currently studying for her Masters in Divinity with the Australian College of Theology. Recently in 2021, she joined the Northside team of instrumental music staff.

Sam lives with her husband Benjamin, her daughter Hannah and her sons Levi and Taylor on the Northside of Brisbane, where you can regularly hear music coming from her studio. Her passion for teaching can be summed up as follows -

“To bring alive a love of music in people through performance and education of the highest standard, and to inspire passion and creativity in performing artists of the future.”

Strings (Violin, Viola & Cello): Dr Belinda Niessl

Belinda began learning violin when she was 5 years old with the Suzuki method. 

She is passionate about music and has instilled this same enthusiasm in her four children, all of whom play a string instrument. 

Believing that the joy of music greatly enriches a student’s upbringing and overall well-being, Belinda has dedicated herself to teaching violin, cello and viola over the past fourteen years.  At Northside Belinda loves being part of the music program where she specialises in teaching beginner and young string players. Other interests include running and it may also be of interest that Belinda holds a PhD in classics from the ANU. 

Along with her husband and family, Belinda is an active member of Mitchelton Presbyterian Church.

Violin: Tiana Angus

Tiana Angus began playing the violin at age four with the Suzuki Method after being inspired by seeing Itzhak Perlman playing on Sesame Street. Her love of playing the violin has never wavered.

In 1998 Tiana began studying with her mentor and violin teacher, Ms Elizabeth Morgan. Under her guidance, Tiana completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Violin Performance and a Masters of Music majoring in Violin Performance and String Pedagogy, at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

Tiana is a passionate and experienced violin teacher. She loves sharing her joy of music with her students and seeing them reach their potential. She is so excited to teach the Suzuki method to students.

Tiana Angus also loves performing, and has been a core member of Camerata of St. John's: Queensland's Chamber Orchestra since it began in 2005, and has never missed a concert!

Voice & Piano: Debbie Bradford

Debbie’s musical experience has been rich and varied. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano and has been teaching music for over 35 years.  With her husband, Debbie runs Brisbane Junior Theatre and Brisbane Musical Theatre and has been the musical director of over 50 musicals!  She uses her gifts to help lead worship at church and regularly performs with her grown-up sons. Debbie loves her dogs and enjoys cooking.

Woodwind (Clarinet, Flute, Recorder and Saxophone): Darlene Ferguson

Darlene has been teaching instrumental music for over 17 years. Music has always been a part of her family life. 

The daughter of English missionaries who hail from a long line of musicians, Darlene completed her instrumental studies in clarinet, saxophone and cello with the Royal College of Music, London. She is married to a musician and has five adult children who are all engaged in successful careers as musicians.

Favourite quote: Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.  ~ Plato ~