Teaching Artist Spotlight / The Children

Some of Australia’s foremost talents in music and creative arts present weekly workshops in The Song Room music and arts-based programs.

A combination of specialist knowledge and the passion and desire to help disadvantaged children makes them instrumental to the success of The Song Room.

Meet the people who help our children shine.

Meet Chris Lewis, Victoria


“Last year I witnessed a class morph from a bunch of obstructive refusers with enormous difficulties functioning as a group, to a slick, tight, funky and cohesive samba unit, which brought the house down on the day.” Chris Lewis, The Song Room Teaching Artist

Fast Facts About Chris

  • Joined The Song Room in: 2005
  • Has worked: as a musical director, musician and composer for Circus Oz, NICA, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Musica Viva and the Victorian Arts Centre
  • Currently working with: Rockbank Primary School, Western English Language School ELS, Wyndham Park Primary School and FRESH
  • Specialist in: Drumming, percussion, rhythm work, song-writing, composition, singing and recording technology
  • Teaches: all primary school ages ‚Äì particularly upper grades 3,4,5,6 ‚Äì and transition schools with students exhibiting behavioural issues

Chris has worked on musical projects with disengaged teens and ex-prisoners and has taught within government, private, ESL and special needs schools.

Chris is a highly experienced sound designer and multi-instrumentalist. He is also currently developing several online resources on percussion and investigating how to make sound scores for animation for our new web-based initiative – ARTS:LIVE.


Meet Fleur Hockey, Western Australia


“One of the joys is seeing children from all different backgrounds working together and breaking out of their shells…I have seen painfully shy children take a chance and perform solo‚Ķ I have seen children who have limited English find a new way to communicate.” Fleur Hockey, The Song Room Teaching Artist

Fast Facts About Fleur

  • Joined The Song Room in: 2008
  • Specialist in: theatre arts, hip-hop, drama, mask making and performance

Fleur has established her own reputable theatre company in WA, known as Home-Grown Theatre. Her success as a performance artist was born first at the esteemed Edith Cowan University in WA, where she graduated with first class honours in Contemporary Performance.

Now a brilliant performer and mask maker, she delivers drama, hip hop dance and mask workshops for some of the state’s leading performance arts organisations, including Awesome Arts and Barking Gecko Theatre Company.

With The Song Room, Fleur has delivered professional development programs for teachers across Perth as our WA and SA Program Coordinator. She’s hands-on in classroom workshops, after school sessions and holiday programs.

Fleur has also worked extensively in regional areas of Australia’s South West and North, as a Song Room Teaching Artist.


Meet Zoe Barry, Victoria


“For those who have recently arrived in Australia, I watch as the program often helps them form their sense of self in their new environment. The Song Room is a safe place for children who often don’t have much sense of safety in their lives. I have seen students’ behaviour significantly change as a result.” Zoe Barry, The Song Room Teaching Artist/Regional Program Coordinator

Fast Facts About Zoe

  • Joined The Song Room in: 2009
  • Currently working with: Debney Meadows Primary School, Flemington Victoria
  • Specialist in: Song writing, singing, stringed instruments, basic percussion and drama

Zoe is a professional composer, theatre performer, director and musician in cello, voice, accordion and piano. She performs and records with a wide variety of music ensembles and writes music for theatre, dance and film, as well as creating dance theatre. She also has extensive experience in youth and disability arts as well as instrumental tuition.

Zoe has worked with The Song Room in schools across Melbourne, including a program currently at Debney Meadows Primary School in Flemington. Many students at the school are originally from the Horn of Africa and other culturally diverse backgrounds.

Her program explores themes like social connection, literacy and story-telling through music with singing, dancing and instrumental learning. Based on its popularity, the school will start its first student band as part of The Song Room program in collaboration with teachers – and perform live for the local community.


Meet Jesica Varela, New South Wales


“Working for The Song Room has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life‚Ķknowing that you have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child and that you have the power and ability to inspire them to create.” Jesica Varela, The Song Room Teaching Artist/Regional Program Coordinator

Fast Facts About Jesica

  • Joined The Song Room in: 2010
  • Currently working with: Bidwill Public School, Western Sydney
  • Specialist in: Dance, drumming, instruments and singing
  • Teaches: kinder to year 6

As the director of Sydney Flamenco dance school ‘Sangre Gitana’ since 2000, Jesica has been involved with the Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Darling Harbor Fiesta Festival, Wollongong Festival, Canberra Festival, World Youth Day, and several prestigious events for the Spanish and Latin American community.

For seven years she directed the JVPAS Youth Musical Theatre Players and her passion for youth and social justice led to working for several years as a youth worker in South Western Sydney. She has also dedicated much of her artistic career to the sustainability of Spanish and Latin American culture in Australia, including work as a choreographer and vocalist for renowned acts.

Last October, she led Bidwill Public Schools choir, musicians and dancers in a joint performance presented at The Australian Council for State School Organisation Conference. She has helped secure scholarships for several students at the school to fund weekly group guitar tuition and the purchase of classical guitars and a keyboard.

Today, Jesica acts as Regional Program Coordinator for The Song Room in Sydney, and offers ongoing professional support to her fellow Teaching Artists.

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