Elissa Milne has been composing since she was 6 years of age and has written musicals, performance art works, educational piano music, organ music, pop music, chamber music and choral music.
Elissa has also worked as a television producer and editor, radio interviewer, classroom teacher, leadership coach, conductor, writer of parenting articles, producer of a monthly cabaret series, session musician, accompanist for a gospel singer, and she’s preached a sermon or two.
With a musical education that began in the earliest weeks of life observing her piano teacher mother giving lessons, Elissa’s studies include piano with Mavis Francis (Palmerston North) from the age of 6, piano and keyboard musicianship with Georgina Zellan-Smith (Auckland) from the age of 13, and an undergraduate composition degree from the University of Auckland while still a teenager. Elissa began giving piano lessons when she was 14, and with many precocious accomplishments as a composer and musician Elissa went on to graduate studies in semiotics, education, performance studies and business administration.
In 1997 Elissa’s first collections of educational piano compositions (Little Peppers and Pepperbox Jazz 1) were published, and within two years examination boards around the world were including her music in their syllabuses. In 2000 Elissa began presenting professional development seminars for piano teachers around Australia and New Zealand in association with Hal Leonard Australia. In 2003 Faber Music (London) published Elissa’s entire Little Peppers series (5 volumes plus a teacher’s guide) and commissioned more original works for a range of additional publications, including pieces for cello (Ten Toads currently in ABRSM Cello Grade 1 syllabus) and trumpet (Go-Goanna currently in ABRSM Trumpet Grade 4 syllabus).
Also in 2003 Elissa created, developed and edited the “Getting to…” piano repertoire series for Hal Leonard Australia, now ranging from Preliminary through to Grade 5 standard. With 10 graded collections in the series it has sold more than 60,000 copies in Australia alone.
In 2008/9 Elissa partnered with the Australian Music Examination Board to create the 3 volume P Plate Piano series, a ground-breaking repertoire series for beginner pianists featuring some of the best of international contemporary composing for beginner pianists and with an emphasis on keyboard musicianship, creativity and responsive listening.
Elissa has either presented seminars or keynote speeches for ISME, EPTA (Europe), APPCA, VMTA, WAMTA and other music education conferences over the past 10 years, and has regularly given lectures as part of the Sydney Conservatorium’s Piano Teacher Festival program. In addition, Elissa has conducted composition workshops and creativity masterclasses, adjudicated piano festivals and composition competitions, and provided professional training, social media services and marketing consultancy in a variety of music industry contexts. Her writing about music has been published in concert programs, journals, magazines and blogs; her songs have won awards.
Within the realms of scientific possibility, she might do anything next.