Empowering Voices: International Women’s Day

On March 8th, the world comes together to celebrate International Women’s Day, a time to honour the achievements of women and advocate for their rights across all walks of life. At Maxx Music, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on some of our incredible female teachers who, whilst forging successful careers in music themselves, are also teaching and inspiring the young women and girls who attend Maxx Music for music lessons.

As we mark this significant day, we asked these inspiring female musicians to share their perspectives on what International Women’s Day means to them, reflecting on their experiences navigating the music industry as women and the inspirational figures who fuel their passion for music.

GWYNETH JANSEN – MAXX MUSIC GUITAR AND BASS GUITAR TEACHER

Maxx Music teacher, Gwyneth, playing guitar on stage used as part of International Women's Day blogWhat does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International women’s day means to me that we look at all the women and female identifying people in our lives and we appreciate all that they are and see the invaluable input they have in uplifting our lives and society.  It means looking outside of our communities and seeing how we can help support women in more dire situations and in these less privileged spaces. Women uplifting women is a beautiful thing however; this needs to extend beyond just women doing the work and that is why this day is so important.

Tell us about some women in music who inspire you?

Taylor Swift was the reason I got into guitar, she has always been an incredibly role model to me and her work ethic has always inspired me. Nita Strauss is an incredible metal lead guitarist performer, only just now getting her accolades and is someone I aspire to be like. She recently toured with Demi Lovato and Alice Cooper and has her own signature range of Ibanez guitars. Her stage presence is undeniable and she has taken a long journey to finally get her applause. I hope young headbanging girls will take less of a journey to get to where she is today.

You work in the music industry – tell us about what you do and your journey into doing it?

I work as a performer on lead guitar and have a speciality for working in the death metal scene. I have played for a range of artists and companies, my greatest honour was playing lead guitar for “The Hen House”, a musical that toured NSW last year. That was really special and a first time experience working with a full female cast and band in this eclectic feminist 70s rock musical about immigrant women working in Australia. I have certainly worked my way through the ranks and have learnt to not shy away from being noticed.

What advice do you have for women wanting to make it in the music industry?

Never be afraid to be loud, do not make yourself smaller for the comfort of others. Jane Austen and many other women had to use pen names to remain anonymous from the fact of them being women and couldn’t even claim their own words. We can claim our own words now so do so as loud as you can! Put yourself out there as much as you can whether it be by posting videos of your playing to TikTok or by putting on a show for family and friends!

What song/s would you include in your ultimate International Women’s Day playlist?

I have to suggest Alegria by Nita Strauss, it was one of the first songs I heard from her that made me fall in love- even better that I can say SHE shreds!

BRITTANY MIOKOVIC – MAXX MUSIC GUITAR AND BASS GUITAR TEACHER

Maxx Music teacher, Britt, playing guitar on stage. Included in International Women's Day blog.You work in the music industry – tell us about what you do and your journey into doing it?

As well as being a music tutor with Maxx Music, I am a gigging/session musician, in duo and band setups, accompanying Sydney artists.

My music journey started from strumming a guitar since I was 2 years old, learning guitar at Maxx Music when I was 6 years old, and performing in any setting I could since I was 9 years old (school bands/performance events, youth group, Maxx Music concerts etc.)

I studied at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) from 2018-2022, where I made connections with  musicians and artists. The involvement in graduating recitals in 2021-2023 opened opportunities to gig as an accompaniment for artists/alumni including Gia Darcy and Odisho, and other connections.

Following both Odisho and Gia Darcy’s recitals in 2021-2022, I remained a part of their backing bands for supporting and headline shows in venues across New South Wales including The Vanguard and Oxford Art Factory. I am also in a duo setup backing Gia Darcy, which includes her residency at Glenorie RSL club since the start of 2023.

What advice do you have for women wanting to make it in the music industry?

The advice I would give is what I was advised during my course at AIM which is to be humble, be on time, prepare beforehand (e.g. for a rehearsal, performance etc.), be kind, and be opened to change. The importance of making connections and networking with anyone in the music field will have benefits of opportunities and shared knowledge and experiences.

It was my interest in music that led me to AIM and has now ended up with gigs; so I would encourage any woman to follow that if they enjoy doing music and want to grow further in their musicality.

Being a female in a male-dominant profession and choice of instrument can be daunting but gender shouldn’t stand in the way of someone’s choice to pursue music as a guitarist or whatever field of their interest.

What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?

My favourite thing is getting the opportunity to play different genres with good musicians and friends in venues across New South Wales. I enjoy the collaboration whether in a duo with an artist or in a band supporting an artist, which is why I’ve never aspired to do anything solo or as my own artist. I enjoy the idea of playing a variety of genres including pop, rock, R&B, and incorporating funky rhythms, to maintain my versatility.

Tell us about some women in music who inspire you.

I didn’t know of any female guitarists growing up until my HSC when I performed a Tash Sultana song. However, Delta Goodrem and Taylor Swift are two women who have and still inspire me in music. Besides being incredible singers, it was their instrumentality that inspired me as a young girl learning both piano and guitar.

I’ve always admired those who play more than one instrument, can sing and play an instrument, has more than one role in music etc. Delta and Taylor continue to inspire me with their ability to hold onto different titles and roles in music and other ventures. I was incredibly inspired as an instrumentalist watching G-Flip at the 2023 ARIA Awards being a multi-instrumentalist in her medley performance.

I feel a responsibility as a female guitarist/musician that girls can look up to and be inspired to follow this profession out of interest and passion

What song/s would you include in your ultimate International Women’s Day playlist?

Save Your Breath (Gia Darcy), I’m Not Sorry (Gia Darcy), Billionaire (Delta Goodrem), Independent Women (Destiny’s Child), Look What You Made Me Do (Taylor Swift)

Some of these songs are already in a playlist for a woman empowerment boost and I love these female artists. These songs speak of why be or follow what someone or everyone is telling us when we should be what we want to be or act how we want to.

SARAH MALEKIS – MAXX MUSIC GUITAR & DRUMS TEACHER

Maxx Music teacher, Sarah playing guitar as part of a duo. Used in International Women's Day blog.What is your favourite thing about working in the music industry?

Getting to share music and mentor young people is something I’m incredibly passionate about. I love tutoring music. I am privileged to combine all the things that make my heart sing – creativity, connection and kindness. When I see a student’s face light up with those beautiful moments of “ah! I get it now!” my heart springs. Or there’s the thrill of watching a student finally make something sound like the recording. But by far the best part, is watching groups of rock kids perform together and really crack a song wide open – there’s a genuine buzz in the room. This moment is by far the my most favourite thing working in the music industry

What progress have you seen in gender equality in the music industry?

There’s a saying: If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. When I was growing up I desperately wanted to play drums, but there were very few female drummers. Now, young women have wide range musician role models in the music industry and that’s filtering down to the grass roots of girls wanting to rock on traditionally male dominated instruments. I hope to also be an example for these younger women too that while most of guitarists are male, it doesn’t need to stay that way, and you don’t need to be seen as a second-class guitarist/drummer because of your gender.

You work in the music industry – tell us about what you do and your journey into doing it.

Right now, I’m tutoring and mentoring young people in guitar full time. I also run a couple of  Primary aged rock bands – which is probably my most favourite thing to do. Music is meant to be performed together, so getting different students, different genders, different personalities together to work as a team makes my heart happy. While I have always been passionate about music education for young people, I started in this industry 8 years ago as the work enabled me to have school holidays at home with my four young kids. But it has since become what I consider my calling – inspiring kids to take music across their whole life. Music can absorb and create emotion – it’s a valve to release the struggles of real life and  I think there is no greater gift to give the next generation.

What advice do you have for women wanting to make it in the music industry?

Play as much music with other people as you possibly can. Ask A LOT of questions without fear of looking stupid “Tell me about that amp” “What’s the benefit of using this pedal?”. Most people are happy to share their knowledge if you are genuinely curious and open. Learn about the sound/tech set up. Getting the sound ‘right’ as a musician is so tricky and the more you understand about how it fits together, the better you will be able to advocate for what you want. It’s about knowing what you want, but then also knowing how to ask for it. Everyone you meet may have experiences that you can learn from, so lean into it. Lastly, feel afraid, but step into it anyway.

What song/s would you include in your ultimate International Women’s Day playlist?

What’s Up, Four Non-Blondes – I remember being inspired by this video clip when I was 15 watching the women rocking hard and not looking at all like conventional ‘music video’ girls. For the early 90s, it was pretty ground breaking.

If you’d like to find out more about International Women’s Day and the way in which it is working to forge a better, more inclusive world for women, visit their website.

Our International Women’s Day Playlist on Spotify

To celebrate International Women’s Day we have put together a selection of inspiring and empowering songs by female musicians, chosen by Maxx Music teachers and staff, to celebrate International Women’s Day.


photo of Maxx Music's International Women's Day Spotify playlist









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