It is clearly documented that studying tertiary music can lead to a strong and prosperous career in a number of industries through a number of different avenues. “The Australian Guide to Careers in Music” by Michael Hannan (UNSW Press) outlines up to 150 different career paths available from studying a degree in music. These include; composition, performance, teaching, production, promotions, retailing, research, arts administration, music therapy among others.
Visit www.musiccareer.com.au for more information regarding career pathways from studying music.
Numerous JMI graduates have moved on to post-graduate studies at other universities. One popular pathway is to progress from JMI’s Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance, to studying a Graduate Diploma of Education at Griffith University or QUT or a Graduation Diploma of Music at UQ. These Graduate Diplomas are one-year courses that qualify you as an Instrumental Music Teacher or Classroom Music Teacher in a variety of school systems.
“… Jazz skill(learned): Spontaneous improvisation. Life skill(transferred): The level of personal honesty that an individual brings to a playing situation is a given since there is nowhere to hide when improvising in the jazz tradition. Who you are and what you represent go beyond the here and now touching upon deep philosophical and spiritual aspects of being alive. Key concept: Honesty… “
“…Jazz skill: Soloing. Life skill: Having the ability and attitude necessary to assume leadership, meaning to take charge when and if required; also to hand over leadership unconditionally when the situation calls for it. Key concept: Leadership and follower abilities…”
“…Jazz skill: Soloing as a “multitasking” activity. Life skill: Dealing with a lot of information quickly; ability to integrate and synthesize information in a creative fashion. Key concept: Clarity of thought…”
“…Jazz skill: Learning from mentors. Life skill: Being able to learn from older mentors by graciously accepting their wisdom as a vital part of the learning process. This implies suspension of judgment as to the immediate personal value of the material offered. Concept: Experiential learning…”
Since graduating from JMI in 2014 I have kept myself busy in the music world. Whilst in Brisbane I have been able perform regularly in a number of Jazz venues and have had the opportunities to perform with some of my favorite musicians in the scene. I’ve also been able to perform and explore some of my own musical ideas and presented my own creative endeavors.
In July of 2015 I was able to travel New York and study at the Steindhardt School of Music’s Summer program where I was able to study, workshop, and perform with some of the greatest Jazz artists of our time such as John Scofield, Victor Lewis, Lenny White, Gary Bartz, Jay Anderson, Dave Pietro etc. I was also able to study privately with a lot of great guitarists including Jonathan Kreisberg, Pasquelle Grasso, Ben Eunson and Lage Lund. I have also spent time throughout the year teaching both privately as well as at Forte School of Music and at summer schools with Bel Canto music.
In the short term I am aiming to complete my honours year at Monash university with as high a score possible. In the long term I would like to find my way back to New York whether be to complete further studies or to live more permanently. In the even longer term I would like to have the level of musicianship, experience and qualifications to teach at a tertiary institute.
JMI was a great starting point for my journey in music. Anyone at JMI could attest to my less than to be desired (to put it nicely) level of musicianship at the beginning of the course. However JMI gave me the environment and learning to improve at the pace I desired. Before beginning my studies I had very few goals or aspirations but JMI helped me develop my focus and passion for music which led to where I am today. I believe that without JMI’s support I would very likely not be following music. If the past is anything to go by I believe JMI will always be there to support and inspire me and provide a place I can call home.
Since graduating, I’ve picked up several performance opportunities through the networks and correspondence I had built during my time in the JMI community. The degree itself has assisted in my employment in various teaching roles as well as in my own private tuition. I’ve maintained a healthy creative output of written works mostly of my own, as well as commissioned works for other people, and have had a fairly busy roster of regular gigs with originals bands and jazz outfits. Also chess.
JMI is a very tightknit community of enthusiasts of improvised music and this promotes the full immersion of the culture that surrounds this music. Through being a part of this community I was able to explore ideas with likeminded individuals and have the opportunity to express the development of these ideas on the bandstand. The musical concepts that I learned whilst studying at JMI have proven to be invaluable contributors to my work in music ensembles of varying genres and in my own creative work as well as through commissioned work. I have also gained a great deal of insight into the learning process, which has assisted me in my educational pursuits.
If you have the opportunity to study music at any level then take it. Music is the only universal language and is an intrinsic element to the shape of human culture and the way that our story is written through time. Learning, practicing and performing music are all exercises in discipline and focus and the self-expression that comes through improvisation can be an elating experience for both the performer and the audience. Approaching institutionalized music study with an open mind and concise goals for your creativity, (while being prepared for those goals to change) are instrumental in maintaining motivation in your aspirations, because it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
Since graduating I have been both teaching and performing full time. I teach six days a week during the day and gig at nights and on weekends, and I am also going back to studying this year (Grad cert in Jazz voice).
My future goals in music are to travel and work with the many musicians I have always wanted to work with. I plan on moving to America in the next 5 or so years to either Boston or Pennsylvania (depending on whether or not I can study in Boston) and to go to jams in New York and see as much live music as I possibly can. I also plan on recording another album, hopefully with a quartet or quintet. My main priority though is to practice daily, listen to as much music as I can, and to stay focused on specific practice goals.
Studying at JMI has taught me such a versatile range of skillsets needed in the music industry. I have learned not only the fundamentals of music and my instrument, but how to work with a band, the business side of the music industry, composition and arrangement skills, and most importantly how to make a career out of the only thing I ever wanted to do.
I think that the best advice I could offer to someone who was considering studying music, would be to listen to as many different genres of music as possible. Any time spent listening is never a waste, and learning about different cultures and their way of expressing music will make anyone a more versatile musician. As for studying jazz, my advice would be to do the Bachelor of jazz at JMI. Attending JMI has opened my eyes up to the world of jazz and improvisation, and I will never go back!
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I have been working as a guitar tutor both in schools and in my home business. I have completed my Graduate Diploma in Education in 2013 and am now qualified as a secondary/primary music teacher and have done contracts and relief teaching in schools since then.
I do freelance work with Jazz vocalists and play guitar is a pop soul band. I am working on composing and recording a collection of my own songs.
I’d like to continue working in music education and taking on greater opportunities that allow me to teach people how wonderful music is. And to continue performing on the side. I would also like to get my original music out into the world.
Studying at JMI has allowed me to get employment in the area that I currently work in and it has allowed to me to continue on to further study. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am now. I feel thankful that I have the music knowledge and skills in performance that I have and that thanks goes to JMI.
Studying music is great fun but it’s also hard work but you get out of it what you put in. Studying jazz in particular gives you a depth of theory knowledge not available in most other styles of music. This knowledge allows you to be more flexible and adaptable in your playing.
My name is Davey. I graduated from JMI in 2016, and I play Guitar. I’ve been listening to a whole lot of MF Doom, Dexter Gordon, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane……and I always find myself listening to Wes Montgomery and Frank Zappa.
I’ve been gigging more regularly than I ever have before. Which is great. I’ve also been teaching at a few different places. It’s a slow process making it all come together into one working model, but freelancing is great, playing music is great, and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.
JMI is this incredible place filled with these incredible educators and students. It’s a hub. The musicians that are already coming out of it have changed the scene in Brisbane. I’ve seen Brisbane’s local scene change as a result of JMI over the past 8-10 years I’ve been gigging here.
The institute, or rather the people inside the institute instill a mindset into an individual, and I can only describe it as one of capability and progress. You start there, and by the time you finish you’ve all these tools, and using those tools you can do anything, provided you put in the work.
I used to go to my Mentor Ben Hauptmann, who taught me guitar, he’d say “what do you want to do today.” He’d be expecting me to talk about guitar, I’d say “how do I make money with this damn thing.” He would outline his process, his experiences, what worked for him, where the grey areas are, what he would do differently. You get the to utilise all the knowledge and experience of people who have been doing this for decades. It’s a profound thing, and it works.
I certainly never played gigs every week, nor taught at schools prior to JMI. I wouldn’t have had the skills or confidence to do so. I can say without a doubt that the tools I learned at JMI have gotten me to the place I am today, and they will push me to greater things.
I am a vocalist. I listen to a range of artists from a range of genres some of which include Sarah Vaughan, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, John Mayer, Vallis Alps and London Grammar.
I finished at JMI and went straight into a Masters of Music Studies majoring in Vocal Pedagogy. From this I have started teaching in Logan, West End and the Gold Coast. I do the occasional gig but my focus is in teaching at the moment. I want to keep teaching and get more gigs ultimately. I have always wanted to arrange and sing in an aCapella jazz group so that hopefully will come to fruition!
JMI gave me a great base for my music knowledge, both with theory and performance. I am now able to pass this onto students and even teach jazz theory to some. It gave me a chance to better my vocal technique as well through learning how to use my voice in a different way. If I didn’t meet my 2nd vocal teacher, Hayley Cox, I probably wouldn’t have gone onto complete my Masters either! Personally, I was able to make connections with other musicians in the jazz scene, both upcoming and established.
My name is Steve Powell and I play drums. I also teach drum kit privately to up to 35 students in Carina and Capalaba. I first started studying at JMI in 2004 and completed the Advanced Diploma. I returned in 2015 to complete my Bachelor.
Music I’ve been listening to most recently includes The Go-Betweens, Banda Black (and other Brazilian Funk), Mandrill, Lester Young and Ravel.
Since graduating in 2016 I have been focusing on my teaching and building my student base. I now teach 6 days a week and hold 2 student concerts per year. I also completed writing my first drumming book in my final year in JMI which was published in March 2015 through Prepared Sounds. It’s called Beat Roots and is a collection of transcriptions of well-known and rare funk, R&B/soul and rock drum breaks and beats from the late 60s to early 80s. Also featured is a history of the music during this time and drummer profiles.
I am aiming to get my own drum kit syllabus together that would include traditional techniques as well as my own lessons that were created for my students. I would also like to write a second volume of Beat Roots.
Studying at JMI has been so important for me not only for improving me as a musician and performer but also giving me the confidence to teach. As well as giving me a strong foundation in music theory, JMI was also a great place to meet and play with other like-minded musicians.
I play upright and electric bass, but right now I am practicing my guitar, vocals and looping skills so I can increase my income potential. My listening is very eclectic, and changes quite regularly. I listen to jazz because it shows us the potential of melody, harmony, rhythmic intensity and spontaneous composition. I also get lessons from other styles of music though. For instance, I’ve been listening to Jonny Cash to learn about how to deliver and phrase a lyric. I’ve also been listening to lot’s of 80’s pop to gain a better understanding of popular guitar language. I love soul music because it teaches us about feel and space. Since studying jazz I’ve learnt to appreciate more styles of music.
I did my Bmus majoring in upright bass, however most of what I play these days is electric bass. I decided in 2012 that my only income was to be derived from music, so in order to make this happen I had to focus on getting into the corporate / wedding scene, which is predominantly electric bass. I also had to start teaching, so that I wasn’t completely reliant on gigs. A few years ago I had to make the decision to do less original bands, purely from a financial perspective. Now I have a great balance between one main original band and one main corporate band. In between these gigs I will fill in here and there for many other bands as well.
Now the balance is great; from teaching I become a better person because I am connecting to young minds and aiming to inspire them. To inspire students, I must maintain my own fire. With my original band I have an outlet for composition and great experiences (last year we played Splendour in the Grass!). From corporate music I earn the lion share of my income, but most importantly I have the honour of playing with some of the best musicians in town. Most of these bands will play with no rehearsals, so all the jazz training is essential to my employment. The keys here are: sensitivity, communication and aural comprehension. My aural comprehension is actually far better than my memory, so I often find my self saying, “Oh, I don’t think I know that tune.” Only to hear my band mate say back, “We’ve played it like 3 times already.”
JMI focuses on straight ahead jazz. Most people think that this has very little to do with the kind music they play. But on the contrary, what happened in New Orleans at the turn of the last century is the birth of all modern music. (in my opinion) Before that it was (western) classical music and “world” music. Jazz is the culmination of different cultures and knowledges. From this era we have the appropriation of western harmony (via gospel music) we have the rhythmic influence of Latin and Native American music, and we have the improvisational aspect of African music. From this melting pot gives birth to: the modern song form, the back beat, syncopation, and exploration of outside harmony.
Straight ahead jazz challenges and stretches your musicianship and hurts your brain. The brain hurting is the feeling of your brain growing, the same is the feeling of sore muscles after a workout. From straight ahead jazz, you have the tools available to you to learn other styles, something not necessarily true in reverse.
Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you play? What musicians/bands are you listening to at the moment?
My name is Tenille and I’m a vocalist. Right now I’m listening to a bit of Motown- Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone’s album Right On!..basically on repeat.
Who do you like to listen to locally?
There’s a lot of good music in Brisbane- so I’ll just focus on vocalists 😊 I have a lot of love for Katie Noonan, Emma Dean, Hannah Macklin, Sian Evans, Ellie Hoyt, Sharny Russell, Kristin Berardi, and Asabi Goodman.
Who would you recommend to listen to for someone who doesn’t know too much about jazz?
Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday or any of the amazing big band Orchestras from the 1920’s- – hit the Bop and post-bop when your ears have warmed up to jazz!
What have you been doing since graduating from JMI (performing/studying/teaching)?
I’ve been performing regularly working in jazz ensembles and the all female band Yas Queen! I hit the ground running with teaching singing and have been busy ever since I graduated teaching one on one vocal lessons.
What are your future goals in music?
I’d like to keep tackling any project that comes my way. So far I’ve performed with so many diverse bands challenging my voice and performance skills- each time having learned incredible amounts. The lived experience then goes on to inform my teaching practice- and then the cycle continues.
How has studying at JMI helped you to get to where you are and towards your future goals?
Honestly its been amazing- before commencing the degree I performed as a backing singer but didn’t have the confidence to be a lead or to command a band. I’m absolutely grateful that I studied at JMI as I have a much greater understanding on how music actually works- rather than hearing and mimicking. It taught me how to work incredibly hard at my goals and gave me the work ethic to be a professional in the scene. It’s given me the confidence to write and arrange for other instruments, and take charge. It’s also introduced me to many excellent musicians – and JMI has a really tightly knit cohort that might not be like any other in Brisbane.
What advice would you have for someone thinking about studying music and especially jazz?
Absolutely go for it. Jazz will teach your brain how to improvise, transform music and make it your own.
If you did, we’d love to stay connected with you and help you celebrate your success in your current role/s. We know that many of you have gone on to further study, teach, and perform – all over Australia and around the world. With your permission, we’d like to feature you in some of our promotions, send you an enquiry about a performance or recording opportunity for your group or ensemble, or inform you of a job opportunity – all when we can.
We, at JMI, are proud of our students and the results you have achieved in music (Jazz in particular) and understand that there are many things we can offer you even after you’ve finished your formal study here.
So, please contact us at the JMI office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 07 3216 1110 to sign up to our new Alumni Partnership Program!