Friday Finds #203: Goodies from Down Under

Early next week, our friends in Australia will be celebrating Australia Day which, like the 4th of July in America, is their official “national day” observing the founding of their nation.

Today, I thought it would be fun to feature all the amazing teachers and resources we have available to us from some friends “Down Under” along with a few other finds from afar.

I can’t help myself but also reminisce a little about the three years my husband and I lived in Melbourne back when we were young tykes. 🙂

The one Australia Day I remember is from 2009 when we picnicked by the Yarra River with ex-pat friends from Germany.



Elissa Milne is one of those teachers that when she writes an article ( I don’t miss it. Composer of the Little Peppers and Pepperbox Jazz books as well as much more, she is a conveyor of fun, unique, and introspective sound and thought. Elissa is also one of the administrators of The Art of Piano Pedagogy group on Facebook.

Some of my favorite articles from her over the years include:

Six Rules About Repertoire

Repertoire Rules (for students): How to Transition

5 Guaranteed Ways to Make Students Less Creative

Parents Who Sit in on Lessons

10 Things You Should Do Before Your Child Begins Piano Lessons

15 Things You Need to Know About Supporting Your Child Learning to Play the Piano



One of my favorite discoveries from our days living in Oz was the Electric Water Kettle! I honestly don’t think I even knew something like this existed at the time as they are not a staple kitchen appliance in most American homes (especially those that don’t drink tea). They are SO handy though!

The OXO Electric Kettle we have is absolutely amazing.



Samantha Coates has been a rising rockstar in piano-teacher-world over the last few years. Her brainchild, BlitzBooks, is repertoire that works to combine the worlds of rote teaching and notation-reading by creating pieces that are written in multi-levels.

To give you a quick description of how it works: a student would begin with level 1. Once they master that, they continue learning the same piece but level 2 (of that piece) adds a few more seemingly “harder” things in. Once they master level two, they take it a little further in level 3.



When we lived there, one of my husband’s customers was gracious enough to invite us to their farm for a weekend.

We got to see the countryside, a working farm including a sheep-shearing shed, and he got to go crawfishing.

His wife made Anzac Biscuits (cookies) just especially for us. Here’s her recipe:

1 c. rolled oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar (lightly packed)
¾ c. coconut
½ c. butter
2 T. golden syrup (light Caro or maple syrup)
1 t. baking soda
3 T. boiling water

Preheat oven to 300. Blend oats, flour, sugar & coconut. Melt butter and syrup over low heat and remove. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water then add to the melted butter mixture. Stir this into the oats mixture. Drop rounded spoons of dough onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-17 min. Cool for 5 min.



When you think of Australia, I would suffice to say Tim Topham is likely one of the first people to pop into your mind.

Tim’s website,, is home to all kinds of resources for teachers including his TopMusicPro membership site. He also recently launched



Anzac Girls (on Amazon Prime)

Description from Prime: “Anzac Girls is a moving series based on the unique, and rarely told true stories of Australian and New Zealand nurses serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front.”



Daniel McFarlane is a composer and creator of Supersonics Piano.

Description from his website: “Combined with backing tracks and additional teaching resources, my original piano method, books, and digital sheet music will motivate students at every age and level – and keep them coming back for more.”



Some Australians might laugh at me, but my favorite Australian TV show was McLeod’s Daughters.

Description from Amazon Prime: “When Jack McLeod passes away, his two daughters inherit Drovers Run, a vast cattle ranch in the Australian outback. Ultimately, Tess and Claire decide to run the ranch together, with their housekeeper, Meg, her teenage daughter, Jodi, and a local girl, Becky.”



If you’re a teacher from Australia, you might want to check out the Facebook group The Piano Teacher Hub Australia



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