Our Tutors

Lynda McDowall AIRMT

Lynda is an experienced early childhood educator (New Zealand Playcentre Federation Certificate), junior music specialist and Registered Music Teacher (Early Childhood). She is also a member of NEWZATS – the organisation for approved singing teachers in New Zealand. In February 1993, Lynda opened the studio in Harrisville Road.

Lynda’s Experience:
• Organised and conducted the Majors ‘n’ Minors choir for many years and has previous involvement with the orchestras
• A history of staging children’s productions for both schools and churches as well as the Majors 'n' Minors annual productions
• Over the past two decades, Lynda has participated in numerous music camps and workshops both here and in Australia
• Wide experience tutoring adult programmes that encourage teaching music to young children
• Worked for several years as a tutor at 'Music School' in Papakura
• Since 2001 Lynda has been the Instrumental Convenor for The South Auckland Performing Arts Society competitions held annually in July and August. She is also the Vice President / Secretary of this society (SAPACS) and assists with the vocal and piano sections.

Lynda McDowall

Sarah McDowall

Sarah returned to New Zealand in 2012 after 8 years of studying, living and working in London. She has many years experience teaching a variety of music programmes to children of all ages. Sarah has a Masters Degree in Cello Performance from the Royal College of Music (London) and prior to leaving New Zealand she completed an ATCL in voice and studied piano and violin to university level. She has attended masterclasses, performed solo, sung in choirs and played in orchestras in many parts of the world. Sarah is in high demand as a teacher, performer, accompanist, adjudicator, director and conductor in many parts of New Zealand. Her studio teaching is on permanent waitlist. Sarah also directs musical theatre productions (including Annie, Into the Woods, Wizard of Oz, Shrek, Sound of Music) and she runs a very successful children’s orchestra. Another interest is studio recording of sound tracks for advertisements. Sarah began teaching at the age of 13 at the Majors ‘n’ Minors studio near Pukekohe and she has returned there since coming back from London. To date, she has entered over a thousand students for ABRSM practical music examinations in voice, violin, cello and piano (100% success rate), both in New Zealand and London, with a number of students being asked to perform in the ABRSM High Scorer’s concerts. As well as working full-time in the music industry, Sarah is a busy mum to four children aged 5-11 years, who are all following in their mother’s footsteps. They all sing, and play piano, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, saxophone, drums and guitar between them.

Sarah McDowall

Scott McDowall

Scott is a clarinet and saxophone tutor and player based in Pukekohe. He has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Clarinet Performance and is an Associate of the Institute of Registered Music Teachers. Scott teaches privately as well as in the itinerant music scheme through the Ministry of Education. From 2009 to 2013 Scott was the Supervisor of the Papakura Music School, a position that involved organizational and supervisory skills in addition to teaching. As well as tutoring, Scott plays for many types of performance situations and also for session work in recording studios. At Majors ‘n’ Minors he assists with all the major performances and is also the studio's sound technician.

Scott McDowall

Deirdre Nielsen

Deirdre grew up in a musical family, learning to play the violin, flute, piano, oboe and recorder. She progressed her musical studies playing violin in National Youth Orchestras and majored in Violin Performance as part of her musical studies at University. Deirdre has had extensive experience in solo, orchestral (some professional) and chamber music ensemble playing in New Zealand and in England. She enjoys performing with the Malvern string quartet and Devonport Chamber Orchestra in Auckland. She achieved her Performers Certificate examination on the flute and has played in a solo and ensemble capacity. When Deirdre isn’t teaching music, she works as a Dietitian in South Auckland.

Deirdre Nielsen

Bernice Potter

From a young age, Bernice enjoyed violin and singing at the Majors ’n’ Minors studio. She found her love for performing and all things to do with music through her involvement at the studio. Bernice progressed in her musical studies over the years by taking part in award winning orchestras and choirs, concerts and competitions throughout New Zealand. She won many awards and scholarships in violin and singing and is now pursuing her LTCL in singing and aiming towards finishing her Bachelor of Music. In 2015 Bernice worked as an itinerant singing teacher at Rosehill College. Bernice teaches at her own music studio in Pukekohe, and enjoys a close association with Majors ’n’ Minors.

Bernice Potter

Bronwyn Spencer

After completing an LTCL in piano and a Bachelor of Music majoring in piano performance at Otago University, Bronwyn commenced a successful piano and theory teaching practice, becoming a registered music teacher in the process. After a few years break from music teaching (including two years working for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain) Bronwyn has recently moved to the Pukekohe area and resumed teaching. She has extensive experience in accompanying vocalists, string and woodwind players for exams and competitions as well as 20 plus years as a contemporary church musician and worship leader. Bronwyn has Grade 8 in singing and greatly enjoys choral singing – most recently with Auckland choirs Bach Musica and the Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir. She also has a BA in Psychology and several years experience in working with international students.

Bronwyn Spencer

Matt Garratt

Matt was born and raised in Pukekohe and attended Pukekohe High School where he was part of their Rockquest bands. He has been a part of various Rock, Jazz and Blues bands for 16 years including being the lead guitarist of Fly By Wire who played at festivals such as Parachute and also released an album that received radio airtime. Matt plays most of the Rock/Pop instruments and loves working with student ensembles. He is a fully registered teacher, teaching both Guitar and Bass, something he has enjoyed for 8 years. Matt holds a Bachelor of Music and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Waikato University.

Matt Garratt

Emma Bishop

MCPA (Dance Studies), B.Ed (primary), Post Grad Dip (Music Education), Dip Perf.Arts

Emma comes from a strong upbringing in theatre, beginning in Dunedin for 19 years before completing a Diploma of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) from Nelson Polytechnic. This was followed by a Degree in Education with a Post Grad in Music Education from Auckland University and a Masters in Dance Education. Emma has taught musical theatre, singing and drama privately and for performing arts schools for a number of years. For the past 15 years she has been a secondary teacher of Drama and Dance where she has gained numerous Showdown nominations for her Direction and Design work. This includes 7 awards for Set Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design and Best Direction. Emma is the current President of Drama New Zealand: the National Subject Association for Teachers of Drama in Education. This has seen her teaching students and teachers throughout the country. Emma is the Zone One Representative for Musical Theatre New Zealand as well as being the National Coordinator of Amici Trust’s Junior Theatre NZ which had its inaugural Celebration day in Auckland this year with over 256 students and 100 adults. She has performed in numerous shows for many Theatre Companies throughout the country including:

Dunedin Operatic - Les Miserables, The Merry Widow
Showbiz Christchurch - Aspects of Love
Nelson Music School - Rocky Horror Picture Show (Columbia)
Pukekohe Light Opera – Zorba (Widow)
Manukau Performing Arts - The Buddy Holly Story (Jingle Singer, Apollo Singer), Oliver (Widow Corney)
Papakura Theatre Company - Godspell
Auckland Music Theatre- Downtown (Orange Lady)

Emma Bishop

Joanne Hii

A long-standing member of Majors ’n' Minors, Joanne first got involved with the studio when she was just 5 years old. She started with singing and playing the piano but later picked up the cello, flute and bass guitar. Joanne enjoys leading the cello section in the Majors ‘n’ Minors orchestra, playing bass guitar in the rock band, as well as taking on lead roles in their musicals. She is a Trainee Teacher in the Theory Groups and Orchestra, and is also available to cover Musical Theatre groups and private teaching. Joanne is working towards Grade 7 Cello and Grade 7 Classical Voice. She passed her Grade 6 Musical Theatre exam with distinction in 2017.

Joanne Hii