String Ensembles

Band Training

The MHPS strings program provides an opportunity for Middle Harbour students of any age and varied ability to play string instruments in a group.

Our Aim

The Strings Program aims to provide a high standard of tuition and performance whilst instilling a life-long love of music in the children. We hope to give children confidence in their own abilities and to respect each other’s abilities. We focus very much on working as a group, with every member taking responsibility for their own part.


We are very lucky to have 2 highly dedicated and talented music conductors.


led by
Ms Miranda Ilchef

Thursday at 7.45am to 8.45am

in MHPS School Library


led by
Ms Miranda Ilchef

Thursday at 7.45am to 8.45am

in MHPS School Computer Room


led by
Mr Will Hansen

Friday at 7.45am to 8.45am

in MHPS School Hall

About Conductors

Ms Miranda Ilchef

is the Strings Conductor for Beginner and Junior Strings. Miranda is a classically trained violinist, teacher and music journalist. Miranda received her initial musical training from Sydney Children’s Choir, Sydney Youth Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra. She studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the late Professor Alice Waten and completed her Bachelor of Music with Honours in May of 2022. Miranda has many years’ experience teaching violin and conducting string ensembles at schools and private studios across Sydney, with a focus on fostering a love of music and performance confidence. Miranda performs regularly as an orchestral musician with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Apex, but also plays for weddings, corporate events, recording studios and popular music concerts. She is passionate about the creation of new music, and last year she performed a world premiere of Rhapsody for Solo Violin by Australian Composer Gabriella Vici. Miranda also works as a music journalist: she is a Lead Writer for Cutcommonmagazine, a regular publication focusing on creating classical music content for young people, and she completed the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Words About Music journalism program with industry leader Philip Sametz in 2022.

Mr Will Hansen

is the Strings Conductor for Senior Strings.  Will is a double bassist, improviser and composer who completed a Bachelor of Double Bass Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under double bassist Kees Boersma. Will has played across Australia and the world at venues such as the Sydney Opera House, CCEC Chengdu, and the Palau de la Musica Catalina in Barcelona, as a member of the Conservatorium’s touring Modern Music Ensemble and Wind Symphony. Ensemble Offspring named Will 2020-21’s Hatched Academy Associate Artist; he has performed alongside the ensemble and as a soloist through the last 3 years, and was a nominee and finalist in the 2021 Freedman Classical Fellowship. Will is currently the Head of Strings at Mowbray Public School and conductor at the Symphony for Life Foundation. He is also currently a music tutor at The King’s School, Mowbray and Masada College, and formerly taught at International Grammar School.

Ms Lu Guo

Lu started violin training at the age of 4. Before coming to Sydney, she received her Bachelor of Music (Violin Performance) degree from Xinghai Conservatory of Music and took up the role of Concertmaster of Xinghai Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, Lu earned her Master’s degree in Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Lu has been teaching violin and viola since 2007 and she is experienced in teaching students of all ages and they achieved great results under her tuition.

Mr Michael O’Dea

Michael has played violin in the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Sydney, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. He was also soloist with the Sydney Youth and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. He was Head of Strings at PLC, Sydney for the last 30 years, conducting the schools orchestras. His role included being Musical Director for the musicals as well as classroom teaching. Currently, Michael is conducting various small ensembles throughout Sydney.​

The Structure of the Strings Program

The Strings Program is now divided into two sections of violin and cello to cater for different abilities and to balance the dynamics of the Strings Program. Each section will need strong players to lead the section and depending on the piece of music, the Conductor will ask the children to change sections/parts. Many of the accomplished violin players will then be able to play all sections.

Weekly Rehearsals

Beginner Strings

Rehearsals are every Thursday at 8.0am to 8.45am in MHPS School Library.


Rehearsals are every Thursday at 7.45am to 8.45am in MHPS Computer Room.

Senior String Ensemble

Rehearsals are every Friday at 7.45am to 8.45am in MHPS School Hall.

Children should arrive 5 mins early to tune up instruments and be ready to start the rehearsal promptly.


Prior to joining the Senior String Ensemble, the preference is students must be AMEB Grade 2 level. The preference for joining Junior Strings is for all children to be able to understand/read music and have some experience playing their chosen instrument. We recommend a term of private lessons before joining the group.  In conjunction with the Strings Program, your child will need to continue with private lessons too.  This normally will be either Suzuki or AMEB methods. A list of teachers is available upon request.


String groups have many opportunities to perform throughout the year both at MHPS (Grandfriends Day, Open Days, Assemblies) and beyond. Both groups attend the Northern Beaches Festival, The Mosman Manors and the pinnacle for the Senior String Ensemble is performing at The Sydney Opera House in the Festival of Instrumental Music run by the Department of Education Arts Department.


Most children in the Strings Program own their own instruments and often are looking to sell their old ones when they grow out of them. The school has a few violins and cellos, which subject to availability may be rented. (Contact the Strings Coordinator if interested).

We are ALWAYS excited to receive any second hand violin/ cello instruments from the school community to maintain a good supply of hire instruments. (Contact the Strings Coordinator).

Parent Roster

One parent will be nominated each week to attend the entirety of a rehearsal. If you are unable to be present on your rostered day, please find a replacement and inform the Coordinator. At each session the parent on duty organizes the children to set up, mark the attendance and help pack away.


As indicated this program is run entirely due to parents in the Strings
Program, (Coordinator), (Treasury), (Fundraising), (Classical Cocktails Event), (Music Festivals), (Music Camp & Music Workshop) and a Teacher from the school who acts as a Liaison for the Strings Program.

We ALWAYS need new volunteers as we only can run with the help of parents. (Contact the Strings Coordinator).


The fees include the Music Camp (usually held in May) and are quoted on a per annum basis. All fees are due in ADVANCE of commencing rehearsals.

If fees are not paid – your child will not be able to participate in the program.

Instrument Hire (subject to availability)

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