Violin Teacher, Music Therapist
As a registered music therapist, violinist and chamber musician with a background in early childhood education, Emma Townsend is well-placed to understand the needs of young music students and how to nurture their talents.
“My studies in music therapy and early childhood education have given me a greater understanding of the emotional world of children. This has made me better at adapting to the client/student and their needs as well as building greater connections with students and clients,” said Emma, who is the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Head of Music Therapy and violin tutor.
“It is important to me that my violin students are provided with a nurturing learning environment in which they feel safe to express themselves creatively while being able to develop their technical skills,” said Emma.
“And as a music therapist, I’m constantly witnessing my clients’ newfound awareness and accomplishment as they achieve their goals. These experiences can be insightful, poignant, or purely joyful. I feel very privileged to be a part of these moments and it makes my job very rewarding.”
Emma grew up in Tamworth, first learning piano in her early years and then beginning violin through the Suzuki Method when she was eight. While at school, Emma was concertmaster of the Tamworth Regional Youth Orchestra, and performed in programs with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
She went on to gain a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Master of Music Studies (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying under Dr Evgeny Sorkin. Then, combining her interest in music, medicine, and psychology, she gained a Master of Music Therapy through the University of Melbourne.
She has experience as a music therapist in hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, early childhood intervention programs, community disability groups, adult mental health and in private practice.
Emma said the highlight of her career was being awarded a BBM Award for outstanding achievement in the field of music which enabled her to travel to the UK and United States where she studied with prominent teachers from the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, London Guildhall of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the New England Conservatory (Boston).
“I was able to learn from many inspiring musicians who each gave me a unique perspective on performance and life. I believe this experience gave me the motivation and confidence to share my love of music through performance, and to support others through music therapy.”
While studying at the Sydney Conservatorium, Emma was a concertmaster of several ensembles, including the Conservatorium Opera Orchestra, and the Asia Pacific Chamber Orchestra. Emma has also been a principal second violinist in the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. She is also an alumni of the Australian Youth Orchestra. Emma performs regularly throughout Sydney as an orchestral and chamber musician. She was a member of Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Sinfonia Emerging Artists Program, and has since performed with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Concertante Ensemble, and the Verbrugghen Ensemble.