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Top 5 tips for first-year music students

19 May 2020
You’ll be a better student for it, and a better musician
Thinking of studying with us in 2021? We caught up with current contemporary music student, Krisha Umali, to find out what she has learned during her time at the Con.

1. Book your studios and practice rooms way in advance

Student waiting out the front of a music practice room

I’ve spent too many hours of my life camping outside of studios waiting for someone to finish because I forgot to book them in. Don’t waste those precious recording, mixing and practice hours – set a reminder on your calendar and just book 24 hours in advance!  

2. Work with the people around you!

Student band sitting on the lounge in front of guitars

I’m currently in a band called The Elevator District with friends from my degree and it’s been some of the most fun I’ve had while studying here. There are SO many incredibly talented people around you (and not just in your course) who you can collaborate with so don’t be afraid to ask! The nature of the music industry is dependent on working with other people so ask for help on your projects – you’ll be a better student for it, and a better musician for it.   

3. Head out to the Royal Botanic Garden for a breather

Royal Botanic Gardens with the Conservatorium of Music in the background

Have your Blame Canada burger from Bar Luca and coffee from Piccolo in hand but don’t know where to go? Or need to recuperate somewhere after labouring all afternoon over your music? The Royal Botanic Garden is your spot. If you’re like me and spend hours on end in the deep depths of the Con, stressing when I’m overwhelmed and uninspired, take a breather next door at the gardens. There’s so much grass and space to sit, breathe (and even take a cheeky nap)! Reset your mind and you’ll thank yourself when you get back. 

4. Look out for opportunities to do something different

Students in a recording studio

I currently co-host a university radio show called ‘POPCYCLES’ on SURG FM where my friend Miki and I nerd out and talk about trends in popular music & play and interview local musicians from uni. There are heaps of opportunities to do fun and different things - you just have to look!

Check out Open day or the University of Sydney Union to sus out societies and check the Con Facebook groups for chances to do cool things that might be out of your comfort zone.

5. Be kind to yourself!

Smiley face

Going into a creative degree and industry, it was so easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of comparison and let my own unhealthy criticism of myself not only deter my work and progress, but also impact how I saw myself. But I realised, as music students and as individuals, we have something unique that only we can bring to the table and it’s actually valuable.


Contemporary Music at the Con

Our renewed four-year Bachelor of Music allows you to become a broadly educated musician, learning a range of skills in various music and arts-related contexts and professions to prepare you for a career in music. Check out our contemporary music program and learn more about the music of today.

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