Now you know all the details about how to get into a Bachelor of Music at Monash but are you wondering what it’s like to really study there and become a musician?
Nick talks to us about his experience studying at Monash and what you can expect when you start your journey there.
Let’s dive in!
Why should you study a Bachelor of Music at Monash?
Monash develops and refines students’ techniques and musical ability through three key stages, Music Specialist Study, Music Theory and Ear Training, and Music Context Study. This structure ensures that students have a strong foundation in music to build on and refine their skills within their chosen specialisation.
Furthermore, the degree ensures that you get practical experience making or performing music both individually and in a group — reflecting what it is like to work in the music industry.
Additionally, Monash also helps their students to refine their writing and research skills, something that tends to be absent from most Music degrees. Thus, for students who may be interested in pursuing a postgraduate, like a Masters in Music, Monash will ensure that your academic abilities will also be developed alongside your musical abilities.
Top 3 Pros of a Music degree
#1: The Monash Music Students’ Society
“It is a student society for Music students, run by Music students. They are a really positive group of people and they work on improving student life across all streams. They organise a lot of events like barbecues and bake sales, making things more positive,” Nick chimes.
The Music Students’ Society also organises an annual ball for Music students to unwind and have an evening together. Additionally, they advertise performance opportunities for Music students and provide support for first year students!
#2: Music community
Nick notes, “It’s a small group of people studying Music, and in the end they are not bad people. My brother studies Science and he doesn’t get a community like that — like in larger degrees you’ll have your little friend group, but you don’t really get a whole cohort of people. With Music, you have a little music community so that’s a good thing.”
As Music tends to have a smaller cohort, everyone gets an opportunity to get to know each other. Furthermore, with frequent ensemble or chamber rehearsals, and groups being reallocated each semester, you are guaranteed to build long-lasting relationships with each other!
#3: The teaching staff
“They all come from their own part of the world and have their own little thing. They all have really great experience and different energies, so it’s really fun,” Nick highlights.
Top 3 Cons of a Music degree
#1: It’s kind of clique-y
Nick notes that studying music is tough, “It can be really discouraging and make you not want to continue.”
While you do have a small and supportive community around you when studying a Bachelor of Music at Monash, it can be very competitive due to its nature. Students are competing and benchmarking themselves against each other in performance and musical ability, especially when there are opportunities to perform or be a soloist.
#2: Limited facilities
Nick warns that in total there are under 20 individual practice rooms and there are around 300 students in the building, “You have to book the rooms, and you only get an hour — so if you’re not great at practising, you’re going to waste that entire practice.”
Nick advises to plan practice sessions thoroughly — students should stay organised, ensuring they have booked a time that suits them and what they will be doing during that 1-hour, self-guided practice session.
#3: University administration intervening
Nick states, “There’s a lot of people from outside the university themselves that are not part of the Music School trying to audit things. So there’s a lot of intervention and changes made against everyone’s wishes.”
“My only regret at the moment would be not going to Prato when I had the chance. In November/December 2019, before the pandemic the Jazz cohort went to Italy and because there weren’t enough people, they opened it up to first years. I decided not to, thinking I could go in a couple of years but none of us expected it to last this long,” says Nick.
Exchange, and learning music in a different country and from different musicians, is one of the highlights of studying a Bachelor of Music at Monash. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many activities for Music students have been halted or postponed.
What do you wish you had known before starting a Bachelor of Music at Monash?
Nick states that he wished he knew how to write academically prior to starting a Bachelor of Music at Monash.
“I wish I knew early on how to do academic writing, like I didn’t do enough of it during my entire educational career prior. In high school and in the previous university I studied Music in, there was no guide on how to write in an academic way.
“When you come into Week 4 of your semester and have to write essays with a certain amount of citations in a certain style — it’s tricky. So definitely learning about academic writing and critical thinking,” explains Nick.
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
Nick notes that unlike many other music degrees, Monash also focusses on developing their music student’s academic writing ability, saying “We do a lot of writing prep as well, like essays so there is a possibility of going on to do postgraduate study and research work.
“As compared to a previous degree I did at another institution, there wasn’t that. So postgrad might have been an option, but it was impossible to actually aspire to unless you were an experienced writer.”
If you are thinking of pursuing postgrad studies, Monash may be a good fit for you as it ensures that both your academic and musical ability are developed.
What inspired you to choose a Bachelor of Music at Monash?
Nick recounts, “When I first finished high school, I wanted to go to Monash because my high school teacher went to Monash as well and he knew I wanted to do Jazz, instead of modern, niche music — Monash is the only place within Victoria that does a proper Jazz focus so that’s why I chose Monash.”
What are the possible career paths?
Nick states, “One of the things I discovered myself — it wouldn’t be a lifelong career thing, but it’s a great thing to do for a few years and it’s good money — being a Cruise Ship musician. It’s a great way to travel and you get all your expenses paid for.”
Other possible career paths once you have completed a Bachelor of Music at Monash include:
- Music Librarian or Archivist
- Freelance Composer
- Arts Administrator
- Music Management/Promotion
- Orchestral Performer
- Music Teacher
Tiffany Fong is currently completing a double degree in Media and Communications with Law at Macquarie University. She currently contributes to the university zine, Grapeshot where she enjoys writing feature articles, commentary on current affairs or whatever weird interest that has taken over her mind during that month. During her spare time, Tiffany enjoys reading, writing, taking care of her plants or cuddling with her two dogs.