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.