Queensland Conservatorium students last week took a break from their regular classes to experience a smorgasbord of musical delights.
Renowned international artists including San Gabriel 7 from LA, Joko Susilo from Indonesia, songwriter Mark Sholtez (the first Australian to be signed by the prestigious jazz label Verve in the US), and Lennox Jordan, a master steel pan player from Trinidad and Tobago, made special appearances throughout the week.
The timing too was ideal, says Project Week Director, Associate Professor Vanessa Tomlinson, as 100 students were also given the opportunity to observe rehearsals of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra at QPAC, conducted by one of Australia’s most celebrated musical exports, Simone Young AM.
“I’m sure this event and the interaction with world renowned musicians will be a memorable highlight for those who participated for many years to come,” she said.
Experts also conducted student workshops on topics ranging from song writing, composing, master-classes, performing, building a community music program, physiotherapy and the business of music.
“With no curriculum, no boundaries and free venues, students were able to experiment with and experience new ideas.”
“French horn players joined the song writing workshop, guitarists practiced Tai Chi and percussionists sat in on the Jazz/Funk band rehearsals.
“The imaginary boundaries that bind students to a particular pathway in the Conservatorium is usually based on instrument, genre, or career path, so Project Week allows this to be put aside so other interests can be explored.”
Many Conservatorium staff also lent their expertise throughout the week with Brydie Bartlett discussing community music, Greg Massingham on Benjamin Britten, Irene Bartlett on performance practice, and Vanessa Tomlinson on interpreting complex rhythms.
Students could also get a taste of real life in the ‘Business of Music’ workshop with the expertise of QPAC Producer Brendan Ross and San Gabriel 7 manager, in this extension of the My Life as a Musician course.
Project Week in Semester One this year focussed on chamber music performance with students rehearsing and performing with alumni from all corners of the globe including Richard Haynes (clarinet), Cathy Milliken (oboe/composition), Kathryn Lockwood (viola), William Barton (didgeridoo).