The strings family is the largest family of instruments in an orchestra and they come in four sizes:
the violin, which is the smallest, viola, cello, and the biggest and the double bass. (Bass is pronounced "base," as in "baseball.")

The violin is the smallest of the family, and is the highest in pitch, it is also the most popular. There are more violins in the orchestra than any other instrument (there can be up to 30!) and they are divided into two groups: first and second. First violins often play the melody, while second violins alternate between melody and harmony. 

The viola is slightly larger than a violin, just over 60cm long, and has thicker strings, which produce a richer, warmer sound than the violin. There are usually 10 to 14 violas in an orchestra and they almost always play the harmony. 

The cello looks like the violin but is much larger (around 120cm long), and has thicker strings than either the violin or viola. Of all the string instruments, the cello sounds most like a human voice, and it can make a wide variety of tones, from warm low pitches to bright higher notes. There are usually 8 to 12 cellos in an orchestra and they play both harmony and melody.

The double bass, at over 180cm long is the biggest member of the string family, with the longest strings, which allow it to play very low notes. The 6 to 8 double basses of the orchestra are almost always playing the harmony. They are so big that you have to stand up or sit on a very tall stool to play them, and it helps if you have long arms and big hands. 

To book in, or for extra information, please call us on (07) 3889 9400 or drop in and see us at 302 South Pine Road, Brendale.

Samantha Salter

Cello, Guitar, Piano | Available - Wed & Sat

Driven by a love for music a from an early age, Sam begun piano at age 7, which inspired her to also undertake other instruments cello and guitar – amongst others – over the past 10 years.


As a student who was heavily involved in music throughout her schooling, Sam has a deeply instilled love of music that has seen her constantly performing and learning. Now a first year law and business student at QUT, Sam is no stranger to balancing music with other commitments.


Sam was a student at the Australian Academy of Music for six years prior to teaching beginners, and believes that nothing is more rewarding then learning and instrument. She hopes to share her passion for music with students and support them through their own musical journey.

Sarah McElnea

Violin | Available - Mon & Weds

Sarah has been learning the violin since she was 8 years of age. She has now been learning the violin for 12 years. She has been taught violin by Dr Nicole Hammel for the past 4 years; who is with the Queensland Conservatorium and has previously been in the QSO.


Throughout her time learning the violin she has been heavily involved in the strings music program at her school. She has completed her 7th grade AMEB exam, and also has a thorough knowledge of musical theory after completing the 3rd grade musicianship AMEB exam. She is now currently working towards both her 8th grade AMEB and Amus exams. She has preferred to focus on solo violin rather than orchestral violin. She is studying biomedical science at UQ next year, and knows how to balance violin with a busy school schedule.


She has a passion for violin and teaching, having had violin teaching experience previously. She hopes to give the same passion to her students as she has been given. In her lessons, she desires to create innovative ways to make learning the violin interesting for her students. 

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Amy Thompson

Violin, Vocal, Piano, Guitar: Available Friday, Saturday

Amy studies a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium. She was awarded a Bursary for an Outstanding Audition for her Bachelor of Music Classical Guitar, then auditioned and successfully changed her major to Jazz Guitar. On entry to university Amy was completing a Diploma of Piano. She is also a fully trained Vocalist who completed Grade 8 AMEB and a Classical Violinist. Through her advanced Music Theory training, Amy provides teaching in both reading and writing music. Amy’s teachings offer a versatile range of  flamenco, classical, jazz and contemporary genres. She strives to provide an engaging, positive and enjoyable environment for her students on their learning journey. Amy is thrilled to be teaching with the Australian Academy of Music at Brendale.

Emilia Jarvella

Violin & Viola| Available - Friday & Tuesday

Milly Jarvela comes from a musical family and began playing violin at the age of 5. She has been studying the violin with Dr Nicole Hammill for about 7 years. In 2016, Milly was awarded her AMEB AMusA diploma. She has also been a part of the Queensland Youth Orchestras and played with QYS in 2017. Milly also plays in local groups including the Moreton Youth String Ensembles (MYSO) Chamber and Fiddle group.

Milly has also had experience conducting and rehearsing ensembles and currently accompanies the MYSO Junior Strings group. She enjoys being able to use music as a way to connect with other people. She enjoys teaching and working hard with students to help them improve their skills and produce different colours in their music.

Caitlin Weal

Violin , Viola, Voice | Available - Saturday

Caitlin has been studying music from a very young age. Playing violin since the age of six has led her to studying music at school and now at tertiary level. She has been a part of Queensland Youth Orchestra 2 in 2015 and then in Queensland Youth Symphony in 2016. Caitlin was awarded her Amus at the end of 2016. She also studies classical singing at the QLD conservatorium

Caitlin first started teaching violin in 2015 and joined the teaching staff at Australian Academy of Music at the end of 2016, teaching at a range of levels and ages. Caitlin is excited to share her passion and strives for all her students to have the same love and excitement towards music as she does.

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