Studying Flute at the Con

A degree from theQueensland Conservatorium Griffith Universitycan take you down many career paths. From Eurovision finalists, Kate Miller-Heidke and Dami Im to Tim Davies, who orchestrated the music for La La Land and Frozen, many of the Conservatorium’s graduates have found remarkable success.

In this series, we asked students from the Conservatorium to share their experiences at university. This week we are highlighting Anna Rabinowicz who is studying a Bachelor of Music in Flute.

Walk us through what a day is like studying at the Con.

Each day at the Conservatorium is never the same, but it is always engaging! I like to arrive at the Con shortly after it opens at 7 am so that I can warm up and complete the bulk of my practice for the day. Although workshops, lessons, orchestra and chamber rehearsals are not necessarily held at the same time each week, mine often begin mid-morning. There are usually a few days each week where I find myself busy with course-related activities until later in the evening.

As a third-year student, I have completed the majority of my theoretical subjects, meaning that my academic load is primarily performance-based. I love how most of my study is playing music and performing alongside my friends. The days can be quite busy but I find it especially important to space out my practice with enough breaks so that I can maintain focus and efficiently prepare for my performances. There are also concerts held at the Conservatorium most days, that students are able to attend. The access to live-performances of varying styles, instrumentation, and repertoire by visiting artists, fellow students, and faculty-members is amazing. It is particularly special to be inspired by your teachers when they perform!

What do you love most about Queensland Conservatorium and why did you come here to study?

There are so many learning and performance opportunities available — from orchestra, to chamber music, to one-on-one and small group tutorials, there is a focus on developing our skills to be the best performers we can. Like many others in the Bachelor of Music program who moved interstate to study at the Conservatorium, these opportunities were one of the reasons that made me want to study here.

The Conservatorium has been particularly supportive in logistically facilitating small orchestral projects featuring other Conservatorium students that I have initiated, conducted and directed, such as Glassworks in 2019.

The camaraderie and friendly, supportive environment of the Con is special. Everyone here loves music, is always wishing to learn more and is happy to help you out, from giving you constructive feedback on your playing if you would like, to covering a rehearsal for you when you are unwell.

Have there been any classes or specific teachers who have inspired you throughout your time here?

I have had the opportunity to learn and be mentored by many inspiring musicians and pedagogues during my studies at the Con. In particular, the support from my teacher Virginia Taylor and the flute class has been amazing. After hearing some of Virginia’s recordings on ABC Classic FM, I was keen to meet and play for her when she came down to Melbourne, where I am from when I was in Year 12. It has been truly wonderful to learn from someone so generous, whose knowledge of the flute, performing, and music as a whole is so comprehensive.

Having this teacher-student relationship and meeting current Conservatorium students when I came up to Brisbane for my audition, really strengthened my desire to be a part of such a supportive flute class. It is wonderful that as a close-knit department, we work together to better our skills and are able to support and learn from each other.

Have you had many opportunities to perform? Which one was your favorite and why?

I have had many opportunities at the Conservatorium to perform. These have included performances with my chamber ensembles within and outside of the Conservatorium, orchestral concerts, solo recitals, masterclasses with visiting artists and special projects that I have been a part of. For the past two years, my favorite concerts that I have performed and conducted in, and been a part of organizing, are the Women of Noise: International Women’s Day Concerts.

Women of Noise is an organization established by QCGU alumna Phoebe Bognar, which seeks to promote the works of women and non-binary people and which has grown to feature musicians from across the world. It is exciting to work with like-minded fellow musicians to showcase music that is not often explored and promote the works of local and emerging composers. With the development of the current classical repertoire, we don’t often get the opportunity to hear or play the music of the female pioneers of the last few centuries, such as Alma Mahler and Germaine Tailleferre.

As part of the 2019 concert, I particularly enjoyed performing Amy Beach’s Theme and Variations for Flute and Strings alongside some of my friends from the Conservatorium, the Stanley Street Quartet.


Anna performing alongside in the Conservatorium Theatre.

Why Flute?

When I was five, I told my mum (who is from Belgium) that I wanted to play the flute, piano, and violin. As per the French saying, “c’est Mozart qu’on assassine”, which translates to, if a child shows interest in a variety of musical instruments and they aren’t to explore it then this dampens their creativity. As a result, I have loved playing the piano, violin, and flute from a young age, achieving my AMEB Grade 8 on all three instruments by the age of 16. It was in Year 12, that I made the decision to study flute as my main performing instrument.

I love how versatile the flute is as a chamber and an orchestral instrument, and enjoy exploring the wide repertoire written for the instrument. My desire to pursue orchestral conducting has inspired me to focus on orchestral performance. Understanding the requirements of playing in an orchestra and developing a thorough knowledge of the symphonic repertoire is important. I still take time to practice and have lessons on the piano to improve my playing; it is wonderful to consider music from the perspective that the piano provides.

What advice do you have for future students?

Listen to everything and everyone! There is so much to learn from studying recordings, hearing others play, and discovering others’ perspectives on a variety of subjects, not only music!