'I am attracted to Law as well as Music because of the way it teaches you to think critically about the world...'
A ‘lifelong passion for music and the growing horizon of opportunities to work in this vibrant industry’ are what drove Matt to study Music at UC.
Matt juggles his studies with an array of freelance music work, including performing in concerts, at events, and at Christchurch’s Court Theatre.
‘Life as a freelancer can throw new projects at me at all sorts of different times!’
One of the more unusual venues he has played at was the Pallet Pavilion, a temporary entertainment space in central Christchurch which evolved through volunteer work after the Canterbury earthquakes and plays host to numerous community events.
‘Being from Christchurch, I knew that studying at UC would mean I could be part of a vibrant and welcoming wider music community,’ he says. ‘There are many opportunities to get involved that have arisen since the earthquakes, and there are leadership opportunities and a close network of family and friends.’
In fact, Matt composed an earthquake memorial piece for solo organ, and Fractures: In Memoriam was premiered at Westminster Abbey, London (OneNews report). He was also a winning finalist in NZ Trio’s Celebrating Lilburn competition, with ‘A Search for a Language’, which was performed by the Trio in Auckland and Wellington. A further highlight was to be invited to represent New Zealand as part of the Panorpheus Music Project which brought together pieces from young composers across the Commonwealth. Aotearoa Echo was played in Malta as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in late 2015.
As well as several music scholarships, Matt came to UC on an Emerging Leaders’ scholarship, for students showing leadership potential and sporting, cultural and community involvement. They are worth up to $5000 and include a leadership programme and he is keen to make the most of the opportunities this provides.
Matt is combining his Music studies with a degree in Law, because he feels Law offers a rewarding counterbalance of discipline and formality to Music’s creativity and passion.
‘I am attracted to Law as well as Music because of the way it teaches you to think critically about the world around you, to solve conflicts, and because it is a subject through which you can make a tangible difference in the world. I think combining these two diverse subjects in either the music industry or legal community will lead to a highly rewarding journey.’
Of his time at UC so far, Matt says it is not just an education, but a life experience.
‘Everything from the flexible degree structure with all its options to the clubs and the social element of campus is so enjoyable,’ he says. ‘I am constantly meeting and interacting with new and like-minded people.
‘I love being able to work as a student in the area that I love. I would say to others thinking about what to study to follow your passion, do what you were born to do, always live and study with your eyes and ears open to new opportunities and experiences.
‘And if you’re doing Music, seize any opportunities to work in the music industry or music community while you’re studying – you learn as much by doing as you do by studying.’
In his spare time, Matt enjoys – not surprisingly – listening to music, travelling, camping, reading books and watching movies. He is keen that his future career in music should take him overseas before he eventually settles in New Zealand to work in performing, composing and directing music.