Dave de Vries
Dave is the director of Guide Tones Music and has been teaching and working as a professional musician for 22 years.
Dave began taking music lessons at the age of six and later took up the guitar at the age of fourteen. At age 17 he was selected to perform in the Encore Concert for outstanding HSC music students at the Sydney Opera House. He enrolled at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2004 and was awarded the Patricia Bell grant for achieving the highest audition mark in the jazz studies course in that year. Dave graduated in 2008 with first class honours (Bmus - jazz performance) completing his final thesis on the compositional development of early avant-guarde jazz pioneer Jimmy Giuffre. He has performed with James Morrison, Il Divo, Patrizio Buanne, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Ilan Kidron (Potbellez), NSW Police Band, The 10 Guitars Project, Craig Scott, Judy Bailey, Jonathan Zwartz, Elana Stone, Virna Sanzone, The Enormous Horns, Slide McBride and the Usual Suspects. David has also worked in the orchestra pit in theatre shows such at 'Bring it On - The Musical' (State Theatre), 'The Dismissal' (Seymour Centre), 'Evie May' (Hayes Theatre) as well as events like The Coogee Carols and Figtree Carols. His compositions have been played extensively on various radio stations, including ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM (Jazztrack) and Eastside Radio. Dave was a finalist in the prestigious Wangaratta jazz competition in 2007.
Dave has worked in many areas behind the scenes of Sydney jazz community, most notably in his role as co-artistic director for the Jazzgroove Association (2010-2012) as well as co-artistic director/administrator at the Bohemian Grove venue (2009-2011). His current creative project, The Dave de Vries Quartet, released their debut CD in 2019.
When the Covid 19 pandemic struck, the lack of performance work meant Dave needed to adapt his working life. This led him to create the Guide Tones Music School in mid 2020. A surprising and rewarding venture well supported by the wonderful community of the Inner West.
Damien Motu is a Sydney-based Jazz guitarist and composer originally from Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2014 he completed his degree at CPIT MusicArts (formerly CPIT Jazz School) majoring in Arranging/Composing and Jazz Guitar Performance.
Damien became immersed in jazz music in his first year of study finding inspiration from great saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to more contemporary artists such as Lage Lund, Robert Glasper and Kurt Rosenwinkel.
In 2012 as a part of his study, he traveled to New York for a month where he met, had lessons with and attended concerts from some of the best jazz musicians that the world had to offer. In 2015 he led the Damien Motu Quartet for their debut concert as part of the New Zealand Jazz and Blues Festival in Christchurch and has regularly performed over the past 5 years with various groups in the Martinborough Jazz Festival.
With 7 years teaching experience from teaching groups of children ukulele to leading jazz ensembles and big bands of all ages as well as private students he has helped with school exams, Damien has a wealth of knowledge that any student will benefit from in one way or another.
2017 marked the next step for Damien to advance his musical goals when he moved to Sydney in order to play with and learn from established jazz musicians around Australia.
Ruby Firmstone is an emerging Sydney-based guitarist, currently completing a Bachelor of Music (Performance) Jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Ruby began taking music lessons at the age of four, and later took up the guitar at the age of fourteen. At age seventeen Ruby was nominated to perform in the Encore Concert for outstanding HSC music students at the Sydney Opera House.
Ruby has extensive performance experience, having toured regional NSW with the NSW Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of renowned Australian conductor Steve Williams. Having taken part in various ensembles, Ruby has performed at the Manly Jazz Festival and Essentially Ellington Festival with the Ashfield Little Big Band and Inner West Jazz Orchestra. Ruby has completed jazz workshops under the direction of James Morrison, Linda Oh, Barney McAll and Sandy Evans, as well being a part of the Young Women’s Jazz Workshop at the Conservatorium of Music, working with Australia’s most established female musicians.
Ruby is currently lead guitarist in The After Thoughts and ABC Kids band The Sticker Club, in which Ruby has recorded a studio album, and toured NSW playing at Fairgrounds Music Festival.
With several years teaching experience, Ruby is versatile and proficient in teaching students of all ages and levels. Ruby enjoys being involved in a student’s journey, providing inspiration and practical skills for them to succeed.