Thomas. Arts.

Tell us about your studies at UC!

I'm studying music performance and composition at UC, and really enjoying the flexibility of my degree. The music programme allows me to follow my passion for playing music and improving as a performer, but I can also connect this with my development in writing new music. While I’ve been playing violin since I was eight, and have had a long involvement in local orchestras, it's so exciting to be pursuing music as my career. Alongside the focus on musical knowledge and skills, studying within the Arts means that we get given a huge range of basic skills that we could use in any field, like analysis and critical thinking, research, and effective communication. Beyond that, we’re encouraged to explore our own aesthetic and creative approach. I find it very inspiring.

What's been your proudest achievement so far?

Among many opportunities to perform and compose through my studies so far, a standout was being selected to represent UC at the Bendigo International Festival of Experimental Music in Australia. This involved writing a new musical work that was to be performed and professionally recorded, and travelling to Australia to take part in the Festival, and work directly with the professional musicians. It was a huge honour and privilege, and the trip gave me both an international perspective and the chance to connect with students from all over Chile and New Zealand. It was a lot of fun!

Tell us about the musical collective you've started at UC.

Public performance and taking our music into the community is a key part of the music programme at UC. Last year, I worked with a number of fellow students to put together the Dirt Road Ensemble. We’re a loose group inspired by all kinds of folk music, from Balkan to Cajun to Chinese influences. We had an amazing reaction to our first concert with lots of interest and gig offers for this year - which is very exciting! We’re going to do charity concerts and raise money as well – so look out for further concerts!

How would you describe the vibe at UC?

UC has a very student-friendly vibe, the campus has a great natural environment that helps a healthy studying mindset. Similarly, the students are really approachable and inclusive, and there’s no hierarchy between years. In the music department your lecturers also feel more like mentors or friends, which encourages a supportive and creative process for developing your study. The music department also has a central city campus that we operate from in the newly refurbished Arts Centre, which was the old university campus. As well as being a gorgeous historical building, we get access to a premium location to interact with the public in weekly student concerts and events.

"If you are passionate about music, or any other subject for that matter, there is no reason why you can’t do it and make a successful career out of it!"

How does UC support the creative arts?

The teachers at UC support each student as an individual. You’re encouraged to find your own unique voice rather than being directed into a predefined version of success, reflecting the diverse roles in the music industry available after study. Whatever art you do, they help you find your own creative flavour. There are also a number of awards and scholarships available to help support students in this field.

What advice would you give to high school students reading this?

UC does not judge you! Don't be afraid to talk to people and to pursue your interests – you may be surprised at the opportunities available from studying in different fields. If you are passionate about music, or any other subject for that matter, there is no reason why you can’t do it and make a successful career out of it!

The University has immense support for you, in whoever you are and whatever you choose to do – you’ll find the staff and older students really approachable and supportive.

If UC was a musical style, what would it be?

It would be the most mad, eclectic indie rock band you could imagine, reflecting people from all different backgrounds and cultures standing shoulder to shoulder. There’s an incredibly diverse range of people here and we all inspire each other.