Meet the team! Darina Chakarova



Darina is our Creative Director, health and wellbeing guru, numbers whiz and coffee aficionado (she brings her own freshly ground in a keep cup from home). Originally from Bulgaria, Dari trekked down under with her husband Harry (who we roped in to help with our sound engineering, graphic design and furniture assembly!) Darina has blessed our Hawthorn studio with her presence on piano, vocals and workshops, working with Mell and Ali to curate and run all our creative outputs - she is also responsible for all our special arrangements - there is no song she can’t transcribe! Dari is the heart and soul of Mustud, and you can get to know her a bit more below!

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What podcast/album/playlist are you listening to right now?

I have been obsessed with audiobooks recently and eat up 2-3 of them per week while walking to the Studio. Currently listening to The Brain's Way Of Healing.

Who are your favourite Melbourne artists right now?

I love so many Melbourne's artists, it will be really hard to pick just a few. Definitely, Fairtrade Narcotics, Jack The Fox, Tash Sultana and Daniel Shaw would be on top of my list.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A teacher. Ha-ha-ha! Seems like I got it all covered.

What is your secret talent?

My walking pace is closer to most people's running pace - 7 - 7.5km/h. If I'm in a rush I can get up to 8 with a record of 8.2km/h. It's funny when I walk past cars in traffic and see the drivers looking a bit jealous that I'm moving faster than them! :)

What made you choose your instrument?

The black and white, the patterns of the keys. I was drawn to the piano since the age of 4 and loved my little wooden piano back then. Still, remember the excitement when I walked into my home on my 7th birthday and a real, big piano was waiting for me in the living room. It was a present from my Grandparents and it was the most beautiful black diamond I could have dreamt of.

What three things would you take on a desert island?

I only need one - Harry (my husband). I'm donating the other two wishes to someone for a good cause :)

What song do you never want to hear again?

I don't have any songs that I want to ban. I actually have a lot of fun changing a song that I don't like into something I like by arranging it myself.

What is your favourite thing about teaching?

Figuring out a way to get through to the student. Everyone is so unique and I love finding the right way to present information and break down the steps to achieve their goals. I love supporting people reaching their potential, believing in themselves and simply enjoying music and life.

If you were in a band, what would it be called and what style would you play?

Voiceland. This is the name of the acapella group I was in when we were living back in Bulgaria. Wouldn't change it for the world!

What is your favourite way to spend Sunday?

Coffee. Hiking/swimming (depending on the weather). Brunch. Boardgames or binge-watching good TV series. Wine.

What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?

Be who you are. Believe in yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Don't put limitations to your creativity. Not everything is worth it at any cost. Value yourself, your time, and your energy.

Can you cook? What is your signature dish?

People say I can cook and I love doing it so I guess, I can cook. I think I have two signature dishes - homemade lasagna (I even do the sheets from scratch) and raw chocolate cake.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Funny story, throughout high school and Uni I had a nickname Jenifer (derived from Jenifer Aniston, form Friends). I still can't really find any resemblance between me and her. If I can choose an actress, it will definitely be Anna Torv.

What kind of animal do you relate to?

Dolphin. Wild and free, intelligent and sociable, and has water as a natural habitat. It sounds like me :) If you have seen me losing my water bottle and the amount of stress just the idea of running out of water cause me, then you would be able to understand.

If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing?

I knew since I was six I wanted to be a musician, so this question is really hard to answer as I have never ever envisioned myself doing anything but music. I love numbers and patterns, so it might have been something related to that. Maybe coding or some kind of prognosis/analysis.




Meet the team! Brooke Kymberley

Brooke may be the newest member of our team, but we are already infatuated by her amazing multi-instrumental skills and excellent choice in clothing. Brooke has been playing trumpet since she was 8 years old, starting out in big bands & marching bands. She now plays throughout Melbourne in smaller ensembles and loves camping, cooking and doggos!

Get to know Brooke more below with our Studio Questionnaire!

What podcast/album/playlist are you listening to right now?  Album of the week on 3RRR, a lo-fi jazzy hip hop playlist or whatever Spotify spoon feeds me.

Who are your favourite Melbourne artists right now? I love discovering local acts, some of my favourites would have to be the Stranger Suite, Good Moring, Sweet Whirl, Back Pocket, Blue Shivoo, Dandecat, Au Dre, the list goes on. Though they may not be Melbourne based anymore, I adore Jaala, Nai Palm and Hiatus Kaiyote.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?Everything. I’ve always played music but first I wanted to be a painter, then a pastry chef, an author, journalist, prime minister for a while, film director or producer, and then settled for an equally challenging career in music!

What is your secret talent? I perform slam poetry occasionally, very few have seen my work and I intend to keep it that way.

 What made you choose your instrument? You don’t choose the trumpet, the trumpet chooses you.

What three things would you take on a desert island? My trumpet, ukulele and cajon; everything I’d need to make jangly weird, desert island bangers. That’s assuming the island has coconuts, because I would wither without a daily coconut water.

 What song do you never want to hear again? Anything that’s been on commercial radio high rotation station for the last decade.

 What is your favourite thing about teaching? Fostering a passion for music and self expression for me is the most rewarding aspect of teaching.

 If you were in a band, what would it be called and what style would you play? I am in a band! I front my own project called Fairtrade Narcotics, we play whatever style we feel like exploring but the all encompassing genre could be described as progressive hip-hop & jazz rock fusion.

 What is your favourite way to spend Sunday? Vegging out with a coffee, movie, and spending downtime with my two dogs Bling & Roxy.

 What advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Practice more!!! It makes such a difference.

 Can you cook? What is your signature dish? Yes, I love to cook! I whip up a mean signature tofu ramen and taiyaki as dessert.

 Who would play you in a movie about your life? I honestly cannot say, but I’d like for her to be an unknown indie actress rather than a celebrity. That way she’s been hired for her artistic/acting ability and not for a name.

 What kind of animal do you relate to? Dogs or birds, but I’ve been told I have qualities akin to rabbits.

 If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing? Anything from specialty coffee, baking pastries to journalism & film, but I can’t imagine not having music as a grounding force in my life!

You can follow Brooke’s band, Fair-trade Narcotics on social media to keep up with their live shows:

facebook @ www.facebook.com/fairtradenarcotics/

instagram @fairtradenarcotics/

 

 

Meet the team! Emily Macnish

Emily sacrificed the sunshine and beaches of beautiful Perth to come and teach in Melbourne, and we are so lucky to have her! This human ball of red-headed sunshine is our constant mood booster, with a permanent smile, excellent socks and positive attitude that can warm even the grumpiest of hearts. Her speciality is piano and children - she is the Peter Pan of our studio and has a devoted following of kids who have flourished with her!

Get to know our gorgeous Em below with our Studio Questionnaire!

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What podcast/album/playlist are you listening to right now? Picture this: 7AM. Cold Winter's Morning. Bobbing down the street to Tom Cochrane's Life is a Highway. Would highly recommend.

 Who are your favourite Melbourne artists right now? The Mama's for sure. 8 piece soul funk band with 4 lead female vocalists?! Front row, I am THERE.

 What did you want to be when you were a kid? Oh geez. A Nature Photographer...I feel like my love for nature grew, but my photography skills stayed like that of a 6 year old.

 What is your secret talent? I'm not sure the world is ready to hear this...but I can rap all the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice...

 What made you choose your instrument? I was too young to remember but I'm 99.5% sure I wanted to be just like my older sister who played the piano.

 What three things would you take on a desert island? hmmm...Definitely sunscreen (no one likes a bit of sunburn), peanut butter and a pair of fresh, clean socks. I feel like there's nothing a pair of clean socks can't fix.

 What song do you never want to hear again? Ask me in a couple of weeks and it'll probably be Life is a Highway...

 What is your favourite thing about teaching? Definitely seeing my students fall in love with music and the piano. I love watching them reach their goals, gain confidence and seeing the joy on their faces when they accomplish something they never thought they could've! I think that was about 5 things...

 What is your favourite way to spend Sunday? Depends...is it sunny? If it's sunny, definitely at the beach. If it's not sunny...probably inside dreaming of it being sunny.

 What advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Be yourself! Oh, and be kinder to your parents instead of letting those pre-teen hormones run rampage.

 Can you cook? What is your signature dish? Meat-free sausage rolls. Winner winner chicken dinner everytime!

 Who would play you in a movie about your life? Hmmm...not sure...but definitely an 80 year old +. I feel like they'd capture my personality perfectly.

 What kind of animal do you relate to? A Koala. They like to sleep a lot.

 If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing? Something else that fills me with as much joy!

 In addition to teaching, Em is a gifted Naturopathy student and is interested in all things wellness, mindfulness and bringing joy! Follow her travels and discoveries through her instagram, @soothingsoulsnaturally, and keep an eye out for her Music and Meditation workshops running through our studio!



Meet the team! Alison Thom

Alison is our studio manager, pen finder, music printer and vacuuming enthusiast. She grew up in Melbourne and studied a Music Industry degree, majoring in songwriting. Alison works alongside Mellanie and Darina to ensure the daily running of the studio happens smoothly, helps to organise events and concerts and handles all the admin tasks. Her work hobbies include turning the heater up, spending 40 minutes browsing through Spotify and leaving cold half-cups of tea everywhere.

Ally on the stoop

Learn more about Alison below in our Studio Questionnaire!

What podcast/album/playlist are you listening to right now? I am a sucker for true crime and creepy podcasts - my three faves are Lore, which discusses the origins of folklore and different cultures, Faculty of Horror, which is two Canadian feminists talking about horror movies, and Casefile, all about true crimes. When I’m at work, my current playlist go-to’s are Deep Dark Indie, or my own curated Dreamo playlist on Spotify. Perfect for winter!

Who are your favourite Melbourne artists right now? Melbourne is so full of amazing artists, and it’s such a great place to be a woman making music. I love Angie McMahon, Merpire, Broads, Julia Jacklin and Ainslee Wills.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? A vet, a tattoo artist, a music journalist, a radio DJ, a mortician, a children’s book author, or a horse.

 What is your secret talent? I don’t think I have any secret talents. I am capitalising on all possible talents. I can’t afford to have secret ones.

What made you choose your instrument? Singing is the most cathartic, spiritual way for me to express myself. It’s unique to me, is easy to learn and I don’t have to carry anything to the gig!

What three things would you take on a desert island? A wifi rerouter, my phone and the world’s longest extension cord; I have a technology problem and I will need to upload my struggle to instagram.

What song do you never want to hear again? I am allergic to Summer of ‘69 by Bryan Adams.

What is your favourite thing about working at Mustud? It’s great to chat with all our students at reception as they come in, to see them feel comfortable and supported here, and watch them achieve their goals.

If you were in a band, what would it be called and what style would you play? I have a band called Howlite, we play alternative/dark pop music. But I secretly would like to be in a filthy punk band where I can smash things and run around onstage. We would be called Norma and the Poleglazes, after my nan’s friend who has the most excellent name in history.

What is your favourite way to spend Sunday? Sleep in, coffee, maybe yoga or go for a walk if the sun’s out, then couch, snacks and horror movies. I’m working my way through Netflix and Stan, and we just bought a VHS player for our house so we’re currently stalking eBay for terrible 80s horror films. I am dedicated to my work.

What advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Please don’t gel back your hair in a ponytail with those two bits of fringe dangling out the front! I know everyone is doing it! You all look ridiculous! What do you mean you wore it to school picture day?!

Can you cook? What is your signature dish? I like to think I can cook, but I’m probably at 18-year-old-boy-who-just-moved-out-of-home-ramen-noodles level of cooking. I can make an amazing sandwich, or full-cooked breakfast. Breakfast works for every meal.

Who would play you in a movie about your life? I would like Ellen Page or Neve Campbell.

What kind of animal do you relate to? Cats. 20 hours of sleeping, 4 hours of grooming. Don’t tickle my belly or I will kick you.

If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing? I would finish my arts degree, maybe look at something in sociology, or go do an illustration degree. I would still secretly be writing music though - it would be in my life no matter what, I’m just lucky that this is the timeline where I took a chance on it!

Alison’s band Howlite can be followed on social media here for gigs and information:

Facebook @ www.facebook.com/i-am-howlite

Instagram @howlitemusic


 

 

 

Meet the team! Mellanie Shaylor

Mell is our Master and Commander, our lady boss and the person who made Mustud happen.

Mellanie Shaylor


What podcast/album/playlist are you listening to right now? At this very moment, Aurora is playing in my ears. I lean toward music that is sorrowful or has darker connotations. I get hooked on certain artists, but  I listen to something new every week on Spotify trying to find new music to be exposed to and inspired by. I have a playlist set up for Beyond the Notes of different songs our little muse’s are performing for inspiration too. 

Who are your favourite Melbourne artists right now? Call me loyal, but their music is damn fine. Of course, Dez, Howlite and Fairtrade Narcotics.. If you haven’t seen them play, they’re worth checking out. In fact, head to The Toff on July 4th to see Fairtrade Narcotics launch their EP!

What did you want to be when you were a kid? A grown up. Mission accomplished.

What is your secret talent? I can make bottles of wine disappear. #truestory Okay, that’s not really talent, I just really like wine…

I can make wine glasses sing - by filling a variety of wine glasses to different levels, then running your finger around the edge, you can create resonate frequency (I just gave you all a party trick, you can now create sound waves - you’re welcome.) But my real secret talent is that I can tell you the exact pitch of each glass when I hear the sound. 

I also have this power I call Toupee-dar - I can spot wigs, hairpieces and hair extensions with amazing accuracy.

What made you choose your instrument? I dabble. I’ll give anything a try. Once I hear something really cool, I want to be able to do it.

As a kid, I really wanted to sing and play the cello. Drums were also on the wish list but my dad shut that one down pretty quickly (not surprising given the amount of noise our household could produce). I made a deal with mum that I’d learn the piano first and I’d pursue the others down the track. The track is long. Still pursuing. I have managed to add many instruments to the list. Piano became my jam especially once I discovered the emotive world of film music and song writing.

Learning the flute was something I definitely took for granted in my early years. I don’t remember a time when flute wasn’t a big part of home life. My mum is a pretty epic flautist and an incredible teacher. She used to bounce me in a baby bouncer when I was little while she was teaching so I guess it was inevitable that I’d learn how to play it and teach it. My students are all very, very, very good at cleaning their flutes due to my aversion of the spit side of this instrument.

What three things would you take on a desert island?

A nice bottle of red.

My piano, Chestnut

A really big blank notebook (with a pen attached, technically still just three things right?) 

What song do you never want to hear again? After BTN this year, if I never hear Shotgun again, I’ll be very okay with that. 

What is your favourite thing about teaching? One thing? Who wrote these questions?! 

I’m driven to create change, in whatever form that takes for people. So, I am truly satisfied when I see students and people I mentor have dramatic changes in their self confidence, outlook, behaviours, attitudes and obviously, as they grow into the best musician they can be. That’s a wild ride to get to go on with them. 

Seeing someone with chronic anxiety get up and perform to a crowd makes my heart burst with pride. Tracking communication & concentration improvements in children with learning difficulties is also very rewarding to see - but the best thing for me is the connections with all these amazing souls I get to work with. The students, teachers, the parents.

I am so grateful that I get to work in an industry and position that I can learn so much about people, all the little things that make them so unique and inspirational. 

Not every day is a good day for people. But I love that we’ve created this space where people can come, be themselves in whatever mood that might be, and at the end of their session, they feel uplifted and heard. That’s the best. 

If you were in a band, what would it be called and what style would you play? Music is my favourite form of expression. Not just for my own experiences, but I often draw on the stories of other people that have moved me the most. It would definitely be something moody, dark and emotion inducing. Open to suggestions. 

What is your favourite way to spend Sunday? A little sleep in. That in itself makes every Sunday! A gym sesh, followed by brunch with friends. I try not to plan too much on Sunday’s so I can take it as I comes. What is life is there is no adventure and spontaneity! 

What advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Learn to read maps. You’ll gain hours of your adult life back. Hours! 
Be yourself. The world needs more people to be who they really are. 

Can you cook? What is your signature dish? This is still very much open to debate. I can make a mean chocolate brownie. I think. Or maybe everyone is just being really nice when they eat it….

Who would play you in a movie about your life? A cartoon. In black and white please.

What kind of animal do you relate to? A butterfly. It’s born a caterpillar and has to evolve.

If you weren't a musician, what would you be doing? Probably some form of life coaching with a twist, writing books on how to overcome obstacles or being a complete gypsy and travelling with no plan and no final destination. I’d be torn between trying to help people and make impactful change in the world and travelling the world, learning as much as I could about people and cultures. 

Welcome to Mustud

It’s been a long time in the making, but we’re here. Welcome to our Music Studio.

The studio was formerly just a modest little music school, catering to those that wanted to learn music a little differently than the ol’ traditional approach. But that baby grew up and evolved into this music hub, a music studio that Melbournites love. Sure, you can come and learn piano, vocals, drums, guitar, trumpet, flute and loads of other instruments, but you’ll also be exposed to performance opportunities, collaborations, industry workshops, other like-minded musicians and access to some of the friendliest and giving bunch of muso’s around.

Mustud’s students are artists and musicians, so we book them gigs. In local pubs, at local festivals, on stages in art centres, music venues and out-of-the-box locations. We like to push the boundaries of what’s possible and help individuals to get out there and do their thing.

The music industry is tough. We need more spaces where people can come and collaborate, learn, rehearse, share, perform and mingle with a bunch of down to earth, industry crew who don’t discriminate or let ego determine who and what gets through the front door.

We’re here to guide kids and help them achieve their music dreams, not boxing them in to an ‘idea’ of what a musician should be. We’re here to help teens navigate life and music. We’re here to help adults achieve their goals and remind them it’s never, ever too late.

We’re real. We’re honest. We’re passionate. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Welcome to Mustud.

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