Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Skilled legal advice with
accessible & personal attention

School of Music student speaks out

By chloelankshear - 14 October 2015 21

ANU School of Music

When I was a first year at the ANU School of Music in 2012 there were 30 classical voice students. Now there are one-tenth of that number.
I enrolled in a degree of music performance so that I could gain knowledge and expertise in the field of opera. There’s no way I can be given the sorts of opportunities to learn the art within the university with three classical voice musicians currently enrolled.
Students go to a university for the teachers and high level of instruction they can get from one-on-one lessons for their chosen instrument. Take away the teachers and the money to support them and there is no chance you will get a decent student intake for years to come.
It hit me the other day that I could literally do what they are offering in this degree more cheaply at home.
I started the course back in 2012 and then deferred after all the political stuff went down. It was just so good before the cuts. The school was phenomenal. The teachers were amazing.
I came back to see if it had calmed down and just to finish my undergraduate course and it’s just so sad. We don’t have enough students to even put on a production without the help of interstate artists.
It’s hard to take this degree seriously when it’s so poorly organised, too. If there is a masterclass, we are almost always the last to find out about it.
The money that is allocated to students for weekly lessons is almost never enough and isn’t accessible till five weeks after lessons have started in any case. Some of my fellow students haven’t even received prize money that they were awarded last year!
The school feels completely isolated from any other musical organisation in Canberra too.
ANU, I want to support you and get your School of Music back on its feet, but you’re not giving me or the other students the opportunity to do anything about it.
I just want the school to be what it’s meant to be. A school for performance. I just don’t know how I am meant to help make that happen.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
21 Responses to
School of Music student speaks out
miz 9:15 am 15 Oct 15

Steven said: ‘We are talking about the future of classical music – one of the greatest achievements of the human experience. The ANU can afford to run the School of Music but they choose not to.’

It is so ironic and sad that our own cultural musical roots are not valued here, yet are highly esteemed in Asia:

http://wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/spring-2012-the-age-of-connection/why-western-classical-music-so-popular-in-china/

There is huge correlation/crossover between understanding/playing classical music and numerous other cognitive skills (languages, mathematics etc), but like any specialised area of knowledge, if you take it for granted it disappears and is lost.

If the ANU were truly focused on learning rather than economic rationalism, it would realise what a mistake they have made in gutting the School of Music. There are some things which have a quintessential value that cannot be quantified in economic terms. This is one.

rigseismic67 8:51 am 15 Oct 15

How many international full fee paying students does the School of Music have? I don’t see the School of Economics having any such cuts.
That said I take my hat off to you for speaking out, while I was at ANU doing my Arts PhD I would have been warry of speaking out as it might have tipped people against me- although they no doubt would agree with you.
The ANU need to fund this school even if they take some funds from the most popular schools to do this.

dungfungus 8:31 am 15 Oct 15

Steven Bailey said :

Grimm said :

Charlotte Harper said :

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that the School of Music should be a commercial venture. Must educational institutions pay their way? Our primary and secondary schools don’t. Why should our music schools?

Because, contrary to popular belief, the ANU is a private venture and must at least break even to continue to operate.

Do you think it fair that students from other faculties suffer funding the black hole that is the School of Music to their own detriment?

I didn’t ever mention that it should be a commercial venture, but at the end of the day, the ANU is a business, and you can’t continue to operate a business that is always in the red.

Primary and secondary schools are there to provide a minimum level of education. they are a requirement. A degree in music really isn’t on the same plane as basic education. This also only applies to public schools, as private schools are most definitely a commercial venture.

As I said, it is unfortunate. I doubt anybody wants to see the School of Music shut up shop. I’m a musician myself and have been for a long time, so appreciate the Schools importance. I also see that something has to be done so that the school either operates without being a huge burden on every other College in the ANU.

What a load of nonsense. We are talking about the future of classical music – one of the greatest achievements of the human experience. The ANU can afford to run the School of Music but they choose not to. Once upon a time the ACT Government donated about $1.4 million per year to the School of Music and then it chose not to. You understand that price of everything and the value if nothing.

Good points.Which ACT Government was that?
The current Labor Government gives buckets of money to the Glassworks and the Arboretum as well as half a million dollars to the NGA everytime there is a blockbuster exhibition on.
I would like to see a campaign for reinstatement of a couple of million a year to the School of Music.

louise29 9:24 pm 14 Oct 15

No doubt Grimm (ANU management) is right in saying that reforms were needed. Nevertheless the path that the ANU management chose to take has destroyed the school completely. Outsourcing instrumental tuition at a tertiary music school was clearly never going to work. The only hope for the school is that ANU have the courage to admit mistakes have been made and start again with a blank sheet of paper. We can only hope that the new VC (abd his cohorts who comment on riot-act articles) will have a little more nouse than the current one.

Steven Bailey 7:21 pm 14 Oct 15

Thanks for your contribution chloelankshear, and all the best for your future.

Steven Bailey 7:20 pm 14 Oct 15

Grimm said :

Charlotte Harper said :

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that the School of Music should be a commercial venture. Must educational institutions pay their way? Our primary and secondary schools don’t. Why should our music schools?

Because, contrary to popular belief, the ANU is a private venture and must at least break even to continue to operate.

Do you think it fair that students from other faculties suffer funding the black hole that is the School of Music to their own detriment?

I didn’t ever mention that it should be a commercial venture, but at the end of the day, the ANU is a business, and you can’t continue to operate a business that is always in the red.

Primary and secondary schools are there to provide a minimum level of education. they are a requirement. A degree in music really isn’t on the same plane as basic education. This also only applies to public schools, as private schools are most definitely a commercial venture.

As I said, it is unfortunate. I doubt anybody wants to see the School of Music shut up shop. I’m a musician myself and have been for a long time, so appreciate the Schools importance. I also see that something has to be done so that the school either operates without being a huge burden on every other College in the ANU.

What a load of nonsense. We are talking about the future of classical music – one of the greatest achievements of the human experience. The ANU can afford to run the School of Music but they choose not to. Once upon a time the ACT Government donated about $1.4 million per year to the School of Music and then it chose not to. You understand that price of everything and the value if nothing.

Masquara 6:42 pm 14 Oct 15

pink little birdie said :

It would be fantastic if Even the school of music could open it’s library to other music schools in Canberra and surrounds. It has by far the best collection and I can’t access it and my music teacher can’t access it despite being a student (of another faculty) at ANU.

Universities shouldn’t just be about making money.

Canberra has many talented musicians who are teaching. – including those who have been members of paid nationally performing orhesteras.
Most Opera singers end up going to sydney though

Huh? Members of the public can go into the CSM/CSA library can’t they? And take photocopies?

hereitcomes 5:40 pm 14 Oct 15

I am a graduate of the “good old days” music school. It was good. It was really tough, it was amazing. I am hugely thankful of the opportunity to have studied there and not a day goes past when I don’t thank my lucky stars that I was in that environment, even if it was tough. In the last 10 years I have seen the SOM take on more students (lowering the competition to get in), and eventually, lower their graduate’s standards.

As someone who is the product of this environment, and attempting to make a living as a professional classical musician in Canberra, I am SICK TO DEATH of reading comments about “how sad it is about the school of music” and how “something has got to be done”.

The school of music can’t possibly survive creating artists with no audience. It seems everyone is willing to kick up a stink about how the standard of the school of music is slipping, and that there are no students anymore – but when was the last time you (you the people complaining, not you OP!) went and heard an independent classical artist in Canberra? You can’t reverse-engineer the rebirth of the ANU SOM – the market was (is!!!) already flooded with too many high quality artists to supply the extremely limited numbers of jobs in Australia, so why would they continue to churn out more competitors?

If YOU want to make a change, you have to create a market for music performance. If we don’t have an audience, we can’t keep performing. If we can’t keep performing, there is no use in creating high calibre artists, because we’ll end up putting on professional calibre performances funded out of our own pockets, where the audience consists half of complimentary tickets and the other half our close personal friends and family.

If you want a thriving school of music, the school of music needs a thriving audience base to prepare their students for. If you want to see a change in this, GET OUT THERE AND SEE PERFORMANCES. Nobody else is going to do it for you. You can’t keep assuming that everyone else is going to turn up to concerts while you sit at home on your gameboy, and the school of music mysteriously thrives in the background. You absolutely have to physically get out there, support artists, create a market for classical music, and the quality and volume of music tuition will follow.

Since I’ve had a massive rant, here are some places you can go out and support your local artists. I challenge you to go and see one new group per month. Exchange your take-away money for it if you have to – this stuff will feed your soul instead.
http://www.cso.org.au
http://www.wesleycanberra.org.au/index.php/wesley-music-centre
http://www.hcourt.gov.au/about/concerts FREE!!!!!!
http://www.canberrawindsymphony.com.au
http://www.agac.com.au/
http://www.thestreet.org.au/
http://classicalguitarcanberra.org.au/

artuoui 4:37 pm 14 Oct 15

The whole point of running a business school and MBA programs is so that they can subsidise acivities that enhance the life of the university and the community it serves.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:13 pm 14 Oct 15

Charlotte Harper said :

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that the School of Music should be a commercial venture.

So who should pay?

Grimm 1:41 pm 14 Oct 15

Hit submit too quickly…

I also see that something has to be done so that the school either operates to break even, or at least without being a huge burden on every other College in the ANU, as it has been for years.

Grimm 1:38 pm 14 Oct 15

Charlotte Harper said :

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that the School of Music should be a commercial venture. Must educational institutions pay their way? Our primary and secondary schools don’t. Why should our music schools?

Because, contrary to popular belief, the ANU is a private venture and must at least break even to continue to operate.

Do you think it fair that students from other faculties suffer funding the black hole that is the School of Music to their own detriment?

I didn’t ever mention that it should be a commercial venture, but at the end of the day, the ANU is a business, and you can’t continue to operate a business that is always in the red.

Primary and secondary schools are there to provide a minimum level of education. they are a requirement. A degree in music really isn’t on the same plane as basic education. This also only applies to public schools, as private schools are most definitely a commercial venture.

As I said, it is unfortunate. I doubt anybody wants to see the School of Music shut up shop. I’m a musician myself and have been for a long time, so appreciate the Schools importance. I also see that something has to be done so that the school either operates without being a huge burden on every other College in the ANU.

pink little birdie 12:13 pm 14 Oct 15

It would be fantastic if Even the school of music could open it’s library to other music schools in Canberra and surrounds. It has by far the best collection and I can’t access it and my music teacher can’t access it despite being a student (of another faculty) at ANU.

Universities shouldn’t just be about making money.

Canberra has many talented musicians who are teaching. – including those who have been members of paid nationally performing orhesteras.
Most Opera singers end up going to sydney though

Charlotte Harper 11:04 am 14 Oct 15

I don’t think anyone has ever argued that the School of Music should be a commercial venture. Must educational institutions pay their way? Our primary and secondary schools don’t. Why should our music schools?

Grimm 10:04 am 14 Oct 15

The short of it is, the school of music is a money pit. What went on a while back wasn’t political. It was an attempt to stop haemorrhaging money.

It has been costing far more to run than money going in for a long time. It is being propped up by taking money away from other, more financially viable colleges within the ANU. It’s not even a question of it being profitable, it just doesn’t even pay its way.

Unfortunate, but, that’s how it is.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site