Teacher Bios

MEET OUR AWESOME TEACHERS :

Rendra Freestone – Taiko Fitness, Djembe 2 & Taiko 3

Ren funny pic

Rendra is an enigmatic, wacky and committed teacher. He loves rhythm and anyone who shares the interest – even if only for one class. Rendra has run some of the largest drumming events in Australia and is in demand as a drum circle facilitator running drumming at events including Splendour in the Grass, Peats Ridge Festival and Woodford Folk Festival.
Director of Australian based Indo Pacific Groove phenomena ‘Rhythm Hunters’ and founder of The Rhythm Hut, Rendra has taught and performed cultural shows in every Australian state, tours internationally and thoroughly enjoys the rhythmic process

Activities at The Rhythm Hut include:

  • Teaching Djembe 2 & Taiko 3 classes
  • Giving Private Drumming Lessons
  • Runs The School Incursion Programs
  • Team Building Facilitation
  • Fixes Broken Drums (Re- Skinning)
  • Conducts Rhythm Hunters Scholarship Programs

Musical education includes study in Indonesia, Africa and Japan.

Max Young – Class Coordinator, Beginner DjembeDrumming Max

Coming all the way from America, Max brings over 20 years of drumming experience to the Rhythm Hut. Starting on the snare drum and working his way quickly into kit, Max recently got into hand drums and percussion five years ago when his parents brought him a Djembe home from Africa. Ever since, Max has taken time to explore the difference between back beats and textures, rhythms and fills, and the difference between being a drummer and percussionist. His classes are always laid back and fun with primary goals of utilizing creativity while maximizing enjoyment.

Tim Wong – Taiko 1Tim funny pic

Whilst in high school, Tim began learning guitar from a friend. One day he went to his friend’s place where another friend had left his drum kit… and Tim jumped behind it. After 5 minutes, he was hooked and just a week later he had bought  first kit!

Tim had been playing for about 2 years when another friend told him about his new band and that they were looking for a lead guitarist and drummer. The guitarist Tim was playing with at that time was keen, so having nothing better to do, he agreed and they auditioned as a pair.

8 years later, Tim had to step down from permanent drumming duty. He spent a few years doing session work, working as a roadie and lighting and drum technician with a couple of other bands before taking a couple of years off when he and his wife had kids.

But the itch needed scratching and having always been curious, Tim  went searching for taiko classes. Suitable classes were rare and expensive in Sydney, but when he moved back to the coast, Tim came across the Rhythm Hut. He stayed in Taiko 1 for about 3 years, with short interludes of djembe with Luke and time keeping.

Tim has now been a student of Taiko 2 for about 2 years and this is his third term of teaching Taiko 1.

 

Yew Tros – Taiko 2Yew

Yew has been drumming since 2009, when she was a backpacker who intended to stay at the Rhythm Hut for two weeks.  She performed with Rhythm Hunters for 4 years, was class co-coordinator of The Rhythm Hut in a past address for 2 years, and has been teaching for 6 years.

She is currently studying a Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy down in Sydney, but still comes up to the Hut to teach her beloved Taiko 2 class, also known as Team Awesome.

She loves the amazing community that has sprung up around the hut and her class, and the way the hut has become a cornerstone of culture in Gosford.

Taiko was the first musical instrument she ever played that she was excited to practice,  and she enjoys exploring the movement and meditative aspects of the discipline.  She is also a sucker for a good polyrhythm.

 

Ian Hakker – Didgeridoo

Ian taughtIan nice pic beginners & advanced levels of Didgeridoo in The Netherlands, Belgium & Germany for many years before returning to Australia in 2004.

Connected with The Rhythm Hut since 2005, he has played with Rhythm Hunters and also in The 5 Lands Band.

Ian has a true passion for this unique instrument & a deep respect for it’s origin from our own Aboriginal people. He absolutely loves teaching and using the Didgeridoo as an instrument for Sound Healing.
Ian’s Didge classes are very informative, relaxed and fun.

 

Heath Kelly – Taiko FitnessHeath

Heath found The Rhythm Hut after being told by a friend that it was fun place to hang out with good people and good music. :)

He started learning Taiko 5 years ago and immediately fell in love with the discipline of the movement. Heath particularly enjoys the fitness and martial arts aspects of Taiko.

Heath has been teaching Taiko Fitness and Taiko Form for 2 years and loves passing on the skills that he has learned as a student.

Heath’s class lass caters to all skill levels with a focus on correct form.

 

Denise’s O’Shea – UkuleleDenise funny pic

Denise been running the ukulele group for about four years now.  It started, accidentally, after some fellow student drummers had a bit of time in between lessons.  They decided to learn to play ukulele together!

Gradually the group branched out and decided to invite others to join. They were self- taught and learned from each other. The class has come a long way since then and remains a fun, low-pressure way to learn.
Denise’s uke group “The Ukudelics” have been part of a number of local festivals and organisations such Rise Up, Gosford Dog Paws, Ecoburbia and The Central Coast Ukulele Festival.
Denise is proudly involved in the Rhythm Hut as a djembe student, a board member, volunteer and general cheer squad member.

 

Stevie Ray Swansbra- Beginner Ukulelestevie

Stevie has been hanging around the hut for 6 years now.

He first played djembe to help with his drum kit playing. One day when students at the Hut started playing Ukulele in-between lessons, he joined in and never looked back. That was 4 years ago now.

Stevie thinks of the Hutters as his family away from family. He loves the energy from the Hut and the people. He recons it’s the best place in the world, always changing and  growing with new people and music.

If you ask Steveie what he likes about playing and teaching Uke he’ll say:

“Its the worlds happiest instrument, why wouldn’t I want to help people to play it?”

 

Sandy Bigara- Vocal CoachingSandy BIgara PR 2016

Sandy Bigara is an experienced performing artist on the Central Coast – Sandy has been an active vocal coach since 1999, she was the Artistic Director and Conductor of multiple choirs (High School, Senior Primary and Junior Primary, as well as being assistant Conductor for the KZN National Choir on their international tour in 1999) and was Music & Drama teacher at two schools in South Africa before launching her Arts company full time in 2008.

Sandy teaches the Bel Canto method of singing, which serves as a platform for multiple genres of performance. Sandy has trained Pop singers, Idols contestants, Jazz singers, Afro-Pop singers, a performer for The Phantom of the Opera (Raoul and the Phantom) as well as Starlight Express and South Africa’s “Troy” in the High School Musical national touring show. Sandy has even trained a grunge rock singer with one working ear drum…

The methodology that is taught, is a well-structured mash-up of lessons and courses that Sandy has experienced and developed in her twenty year professional singing career. Having trained and worked alongside some of the Southern Hemispheres greatest talents – 6 years performing under the baton of Gerard’d DuToit, musical ambassador to the Northern Hemisphere – World Choir Games, Operatic training with Marc Poupard (UKZN Music Coach) and Coleen Philp (UKZN Opera School) and master class with Emma Renzi, Sandy has many anecdotes and life experiences that make her classes both educational and interesting.

You can hear Sandy perform at www.reverbnation.com/sandybigara or visit her website www.sandybigara.com for her full working history.

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