"How the heck did I get into Melbourne Uni?" Musician asks. – Nicole

You have no idea how honoured I am to be studying at Melbourne Uni, undertaking Bachelor of Music as a pianist. Apparently, one-third of the applicants only get accepted into Bachelor of Music. ONE-THIRD! HOLY GOD! I will be, and always will be, appreciating what I have now, in the present. I feel that everything has come into place in my pathway (fate), and I’m honoured that I’m studying what I love, music.

IT WAS BIZARRE when I received my offer to study Music at Melbourne. I was screaming, jumping up and down in happiness, while hugging my mum at the same time. I thought I would NEVER EVER get into Melbourne Uni. It’s so tuff to get a place in their Music course, and I somewhat made it possible? What? Okay, it was crazy moment, alright? Hahaha.

During my first few weeks of uni, I always question myself, “why did they choose me out of the other pianists/musicians? What was my strength that out shine others? Did my graceful smile charm my examiners well? I don’t know!” I was a little unsure; I was still surprised that I got into Melbourne Uni. Hahaha.

Eventually throughout my studies at Melbourne, I recollect my thoughts of their reasons why I’m here studying at Melbourne. I always play with passion and love, with a graceful smile in my performance, I do good musical expressions in my performances, and that’s pretty much what I could think of.

Preparing that one short audition at Melbourne Uni is precious. It’s scary to think you only have one shot at this, and all you want to do is show them how much you want to get into their music course. During my Year 12 studies, I definitely wanted to go to Monash to undertake their double degree on Arts and Music. However, when I started looking at their core subjects and electives, and what I want to pursue in the future, I changed my mind. Melbourne Uni was that one University I want and love to go to. They provide everything I need as a pianist, and as an aspiring Music Therapist/Teacher.

Here’s how I worked up prior to my auditions…

1. I worked hard from Day 1 at the start of my final year of schooling

Getting your audition pieces perfect and dusted is one of the most important thing. I was studying my AMEB Grade 7 pieces during my summer break before Year 12 began. So, it wasn’t a pain choosing what I’d like to perform in my auditions a half way into the year.

Remember! Choosing your pieces has to be AMEB Grade 7 or more standard.

2. I did daily practises during my break time at school

During Year 12, I practised during Recess till about 30 minutes into my Study Period, or during the mornings (8:30 till 9:00AM). VET Music made my schedule so much easier and flexible to handle practises at school, as I had many ‘free periods’ during my week. However, it ate up my Wednesday nights, and it’s usually the most longest and tiring day I had during Year 12.
Every day, I practise for an hour and a half each day, which is not that much, but it’s better than nothing.
Remember! Balance is the key.

3. I always practise Scales, Arpeggios in my practise sessions

Practising scales (Melodic, Chromatic, Harmonic, Major) and arpeggios (Major, Minor, Dominant Seventh, Diminished Seventh) is very important for your auditions! The examiners will ask you to play (as a pianist) starting on a black or white note on scales and arpeggios.

MAKE SURE you know your inversions! I struggled in imagining what were the inversions were, but I know what the root position is. It’s fine. They will ask you to play the root position, then you play the inversion, as I remembered. Playing inversions straight like a boss is a great impression to show. Haha.

4. For other musicians, and maybe for pianists (if they changed the criteria in the future), practise your sight reading!

My friend was freaking out when they told her to do sight reading during her auditions. So, please do practise your sight reading. Expect everything in your auditions.

Also, it’s great to work on sight reading in general! In uni, you’d want to learn as quickly as possible on your pieces, to succeed in your technical/recital exam.

5. For pianists/or other musos – pick your THREE best pieces from each PERIOD (romantic, classical, etc.)! 

Melbourne Uni would like you to play three pieces in your audition. I know, it looks ridiculous when you compare their standards at Monash’s auditions (two pieces). But it’s going to be alright. They (Melbourne Uni examiners), would like to hear little snippets of your prepared repertoire. However, there will be always that one examiner that would love to hear that one entire piece from start to finish. You’ve been warned. Haha. So, be prepared to play your chosen repertoire from start to finish.

The three pieces I chose were…
Ecossaises by Beethoven
Prelude, No.13 from Twenty-four preludes Op.28/CT178 by Chopin
A la manière de… Borodine by Ravel

5. I always listen to your instrumental teacher’s feedback/advice

They are trying to help you in every way they can in order for you to succeed, especially when it’s auditions and/or exams. I appreciated every feedback is given from my teacher, and I work hard to get that phrase good for the next lesson.

6. I took every opportunity to perform at school events, towards friends and family, or just ANYBODY in general

I performed my chosen Beethoven piece in about four performances at school, and in organised benefit events. Don’t ask why, it’s one of my best prepared pieces of all throughout my Year 12 studies, and this piece was so much fun, and such a playful piece to perform. My chosen piece by Chopin and Ravel was mostly performed, or heard from my friends, family and my piano teacher.

During my practises at school, I always have a group of friends and teachers watching me at the door; we have a windowed door in each practise room at my high school. Sure, it was odd at first when I was in Year 8, practising at school for fun, but you tend to get used to people listening and watching you play… in the distance… glaring at your practised performances through that windowed door. Hahahaha.

I also did performances in the city library, and around the city during an event called, ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.

7.  I knew what I want, and therefore I work for it

Know your reason why you’re applying for this course at your chosen University. For pianists and any other musicians, I suggest you audition at both Universities (Monash and Melbourne Uni). It will be beneficial in the future, if you get an acceptance from both universities in their first stage in your application process. Trust me. When I found out when I got an acceptance email from both universities, passing through the first stage, I was so happy and surprised. Then, as VTAC applications were soon to be closing, that’s when I made my final decision on my Top 3 Courses that I’d like to study at.

My top 3 courses that I chose in my VTAC application?
1. University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Music
2. Monash University, Bachelor of Music and Arts (Psychology)
3. Monash University, Bachelor of Music

Back ups are a way to go in your VTAC applications, and remember to always know why you’re heading in this pathway.

To all the future musicians wanting to apply in our music course, I wish you the very best for this year. If you start working hard now, it will be worth it in the future. All those sacrifices will be made up for during Year 12, all those sweat and tears will be wiped away when you get what you want at the end of the finish line.

I’ll see you, future first years in the future! In the mean time, I’ll be waiting for you, future musos, at the flip side, and tell you how much you are going to love it here!

Wish me luck for my AMEB Grade 7 exam for tomorrow!

– Nic

Music suggestion for this blog post?
‘Do You Want It All?’ by Two Door Cinema Club

2 thoughts on “"How the heck did I get into Melbourne Uni?" Musician asks. – Nicole

  1. I would say your dedication and commitment are definite reasons why you were accepted! Respect!

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