Director & Registered Music Therapist
After graduating from the University of Technology, Sydney and becoming a Registered Music Therapist in 1999, Susan was the first music therapist to be employed by the John Hunter Children’s Hospital in the Paediatric Oncology Department, a position funded by Redkite (formerly Malcolm Sargent Foundation). During her time there, Susan was able to expand the position to include the other general wards. She also worked at the purpose built Golden Stave Music Therapy Centre based in Penrith, which was an invaluable opportunity to work alongside other music therapists.
Susan has been an active member of the AMTA, the peak body for music therapy in Australia, serving as Chair of Education and on the National Council. She has overseen a number of Validations of the music therapy training programs at the University of Melbourne, Western Sydney University and previously the University of Queensland and the University of Technology, Sydney.
Susan has a passion for music therapy and loves to talk about it. She has presented at conferences and facilitated many workshops for various groups, always providing relevant and current research and practice information to support the presentation.
She loves working with people using music and seeing it make a difference in their lives. She has developed Newcastle Music Therapy so that more music therapy can be offered to more people, and more lives can be changed through music.
Registered Music Therapist
Rachel Hamilton has been a registered music therapist with the Australian Music Therapy Association for 18 years, working in Sydney and Newcastle with a variety of population groups.
Rachel has worked with children in hospital and in special education centres, with clients with disabilities and adults with dementia. In each of these areas, she has seen how effective music can be in complementing medical, educational and allied health treatment plans. Family members and support people often play a valuable role in her music therapy sessions.
As well as working as a music therapist, Rachel also enjoys sharing her love of music through playing in traditional jazz bands, teaching the piano and accompanying singers and instrumentalists.
Stef was born into a musical family and began performing at an early age with her two older sisters. Stef completed her double Music/Arts degree with distinction in 2016 and found that she was drawn to the idea of using music as a resource to help people achieve optimal health. She went on to complete her Master of Music Therapy in 2020 through The University of Melbourne, graduating with distinction.
Being a music therapist allows Stef to combine her passions of playing music and connecting with people to work towards individualised goals for improving health, functioning, wellbeing and personal growth. Stef loves being able to form meaningful connections with clients while offering them a safe space to use music to express things that are often difficult to put into words.
Outside of her work at Newcastle Music Therapy, Stef is “the pink quokka” in a local children’s band called The Quokkas. The Quokkas’ mission is to make music that makes a difference to future generations. Stef has found that her experience as a music therapist has helped significantly with writing songs that carry simple messages promoting inclusivity and diversity in all walks of life.
Stef is also particularly interested in the role music can play in rehabilitation and recovery following a brain injury. She is the director and conductor of a choir made up of stroke survivors and their families and carers. The BrainWaves choir is funded through the University of Newcastle and rehearses every Saturday of the school term.
Stef also sings in a local covers band called Dlove and performs regularly at pubs and weddings around the Newcastle and the Hunter Region.
Joey completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Newcastle’s Conservatorium, majoring in performance, before obtaining his Master of Music Therapy from the University of Melbourne in 2020.
Joey was initially drawn to the practice of music therapy after fostering a beautiful musical relationship with his young Autistic family member. After further research and personal experiences, he realised how beneficial music can be for every person across our whole lifespan. Joey hopes to provide support to the people who need it most, through his musical and therapeutic presence.
Miriam graduated the Master of Art Therapy in 2012 and, over the last 10 years, has worked extensively in the mental health field, and with a wide range of client groups. She is an accomplished group art therapist and has worked within inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, as well as facilitating a community-based self-care group for parents and carers.
Miriam is passionate about working with neurodiverse children. Miriam comes from a proud neurodiverse family and brings this wealth of knowledge and experience, both lived and professional, to her work with autistic people. Miriam works from the neurodiversity paradigm, and believes that listening to the voices of autistic and neurodiverse people is fundamental to building a trusting and safe therapeutic relationship. Miriam values people for who they are and supports people to be their best selves, not what
our neurotypical society expects of people.
Jordan Chorusch is currently studying at the Newcastle Conservatorium, completing her Bachelor of Music majoring in Percussion. She aims to open a Drum and Percussion school, in hope of sharing her passion for music and arts with others.
Music has always been a big part of Jordy’s life – she has played guitar, ukulele and bass in addition to the drums. She loves funk, punk and rock music, and is a fan of musical artists Tonight Alive, Anika Niles, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac.
As a teacher, Jordy is interested in learning how music can heal and calm the body and how different styles can bring on different emotions and actions. She loves to watch her students grow and learn as their talent blossoms.
Admin and Communications
Coming to Newcastle Music Therapy from a media background, Natalie is a bit of a jack of all trades. A Communications graduate, she has worked as a radio producer, a television playout coordinator, a social media guru and a podcast editor.
Natalie takes on our administration tasks on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, as well as running our Facebook page and website. She is currently studying Auslan, and continues to educate herself in child safety and disability services.