About Contemporary Music & Performance

Being a truly successful performer requires more than remarkable talent. You also need to understand how to arrange and compose music, use industry technology, and have the business acumen to promote yourself.

This course will give you the skills you need to stand out in this highly competitive space. You’ll learn about different genres from experienced - and often famous - musicians, while international award-winning guests and Berklee College masters add context and real world examples to the experience.

As a contemporary performer you will need to learn how to enhance your unique skills while understanding how to use sound-mixing equipment to give your music a professional polish.

Above all, you will have the opportunity to put all of these skills into practice and showcase your talent at multiple performance venues and events throughout your course. For those wishing to pursue a Masters of Secondary Education, you will come away with everything you need to continue onto postgraduate study.

Diploma of Music
(Contemporary Performance)

2 Trimesters
Where / Melbourne / Brisbane / Sydney
Next intake 26/09/2016 / See all intake dates
Entry requirements / Aus / International

With this Diploma, you’ll learn the fundamentals of contemporary music performance. You’ll focus on building your knowledge of composing, arranging, live sound and recording. To reinforce your theoretical understanding of music, you’ll also learn how to use music software such as Pro Tools and Sibelius.
 
Throughout your Diploma, you will explore some of the basic concepts and principles of contemporary music, and will have the opportunity to replicate a range of musical styles. You will also investigate the processes involved with developing a repertoire for live performance.
 
Master classes led by a range of industry professionals and international artists will expose you to a complete range of performance techniques. You’ll also have the chance to perform regularly at iconic live venues. 

Diploma of Music
(Contemporary Performance)
Curriculum
Subject
Sound Production
The purpose of this unit is to introduce the concepts of sound in both live and recording environments. Students will be introduced to the set up and operation of audio technology equipment as used in the support of live performance and rehearsal situations. They will learn to work safely in supporting and enhancing performance by recognising the needs of the performer, the audience and the acoustic characteristics of the environment. Students will be introduced to live sound recording and how to apply appropriate planning, performance and management techniques to create a high quality recording product. They will also be introduced to the basics of the program Pro Tools.
Music History I
This unit provides an overview of Western Contemporary music since the 1950s. Students investigate major musical styles and periods, and develop the ability to define key characteristics of each. The unit introduces the broad themes of music with an emphasis on musical events, personalities, institutions and publications which contributed to the development of different musical styles.

Students are exposed to the structure of the music industry, developing their understanding of the inter-relationships between the different sectors as well as the professional practice opportunities available.

Students also gain an appreciation of the music tradition within which they will work. The unit provides a context and preparation for the concepts which are explored further in subsequent units, and is essential for future professional practice in the music industry.

Basic essay writing skills will also be covered in this unit.
Music Theory I
This subject provides musicians with the basic ideas, techniques and principles of musicianship to allow you to begin to successfully compose, arrange and notate contemporary music.

Skills and understanding achieved in this subject will enable a basic level of musicianship, which will be further developed during the duration of the course. This fundamental level of musicianship will eventually allow you to compose successful compositions and help develop your technical musical skills on your chosen instrument. Classes in this unit will be streamed, determined by previous experience and a basic theory examination.
Ensemble I
This unit is an introduction to musical style, technique and form. Students will develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire. Stage performance is developed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for effective performance presentation. This includes aspects of movement, stage dialogue, microphone technique, musicianship and stage image. The unit emphasis is to explore, rehearse and develop musical skills in a group or ensemble environment.

Style masterclasses will develop understanding of a range of styles and genres. Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable goals.

Attention is placed on learning basic communication and interaction skills suitable for performance. The culmination of this unit will be the performance of a set of music to an audience at a professional public venue.
Instrument I
In Instrument I, students will begin to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire.

The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity and the development of their personal playing styles.
Music Business I
The purpose of this unit is to give students an introduction to the music industry enabling a basic understanding of key sectors, roles and structures within it. It will also introduce students to copyright as it applies broadly to musical, literary, dramatic and artistic works and the functions and responsibilities of publishers and publishing companies. All areas relating to the application of copyright and the workings of publishing are considered.

This unit outlines the practical application of the Copyright Act within the entertainment industry from its formative beginnings in the early twentieth century into an increasingly expanding competitive industry in the twenty first century. The course also introduces music publishing contracts, distribution deals, and opportunities that are emerging with the development of digital technology and the practices of independent artists.

This knowledge is essential for any person wishing to work in the entertainment industry and provides the student with a solid understanding of these key elements.
Arranging I
Music arranging is an essential skill for many musicians. Without it, bandleaders and producers are limited to the simplest performances that can be created ‘on the fly’. This subject begins to develop students’ understanding of the process of music arranging. It will cover the creation of specific arrangements for rhythm section (that is, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass, drums) and voice. This will include writing and preparing the score, associated parts and other digital elements often required by professionals.
Music Technology I
This unit introduces students to the capacity of music technology to enhance their potential as musicians, composers, and recording artists. Students will investigate the fundamental range and features of music technology available and gain understanding of its potential in the creative process.

Students will learn the fundamentals of the technology underlying all stages of music creation and distribution. They will also investigate the operations and parts of a computer; set-up and operation of small music home recording systems; operation of industry standard software programs (Pro Tools); program using Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and understand basic principles behind sound synthesis.

Students will acquire (or reinforce) basic musicianship and keyboard skills.
Ensemble II
This unit will provide further development in the understanding of musical style, improvisation, understanding of form and associated techniques. Students will continue to develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire; however there will be focus on developing original arrangements and student’s choice in repertoire.

Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable targets. Reflection and evaluation will be introduced and developed. Communication and interaction skills suitable for performance will also be a focus.

The culmination of these areas will be the performance of a music set to an audience at a public venue.

Students will also be involved in a weekly style masterclass, predominantly in a group with their own instrument. The groups will develop specific understanding of genre and style to provide a broad understanding of contemporary music. Students will develop set repertoire and improvisational skills.
Instrument II
Instrument Study II will continue to develop the necessary skills to become eventually become a master of your selected instrument. It will involve the study of technical work and repertoire. It is essential that you constantly develop yourself as not only a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure your future musical career. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles. In Instrument II, students will continue to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bachelor of Music
(contemporary performance)

6 Trimesters
Where / Melbourne / Brisbane / Sydney
Next intake 26/09/2016 / See all intake dates
Entry requirements / Aus / International
In this Bachelor Degree, you will evolve your skills in composition, music technology and Performance. To help you build your creative networking skills and expand your knowledge, you will have the opportunity to work with other students across various projects. You will learn about the business aspects of contemporary music, and how to identify professional opportunities as you continue your personal instrumental development and training.

While continuing to be creatively inspired through master classes and ensemble work, the final two trimesters will see you undertake a specialist project. Here you will be able to expand your repertoire while exploring world music styles, arranging for larger ensembles, exploring multi-platform technology in performance and recording environments, and learning higher level improvisational and rhythmic skills.

All of these components contribute to the performance element of the program, which culminates in a major recital project.
Bachelor of Music
(contemporary performance)
Curriculum
Subject
Sound Production
The purpose of this unit is to introduce the concepts of sound in both live and recording environments. Students will be introduced to the set up and operation of audio technology equipment as used in the support of live performance and rehearsal situations. They will learn to work safely in supporting and enhancing performance by recognising the needs of the performer, the audience and the acoustic characteristics of the environment. Students will be introduced to live sound recording and how to apply appropriate planning, performance and management techniques to create a high quality recording product. They will also be introduced to the basics of the program Pro Tools.
Music History I
This unit provides an overview of Western Contemporary music since the 1950s. Students investigate major musical styles and periods, and develop the ability to define key characteristics of each. The unit introduces the broad themes of music with an emphasis on musical events, personalities, institutions and publications which contributed to the development of different musical styles.

Students are exposed to the structure of the music industry, developing their understanding of the inter-relationships between the different sectors as well as the professional practice opportunities available.

Students also gain an appreciation of the music tradition within which they will work. The unit provides a context and preparation for the concepts which are explored further in subsequent units, and is essential for future professional practice in the music industry.

Basic essay writing skills will also be covered in this unit.
Music Theory I
This subject provides musicians with the basic ideas, techniques and principles of musicianship to allow you to begin to successfully compose, arrange and notate contemporary music.

Skills and understanding achieved in this subject will enable a basic level of musicianship, which will be further developed during the duration of the course. This fundamental level of musicianship will eventually allow you to compose successful compositions and help develop your technical musical skills on your chosen instrument. Classes in this unit will be streamed, determined by previous experience and a basic theory examination.
Ensemble I
This unit is an introduction to musical style, technique and form. Students will develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire. Stage performance is developed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for effective performance presentation. This includes aspects of movement, stage dialogue, microphone technique, musicianship and stage image. The unit emphasis is to explore, rehearse and develop musical skills in a group or ensemble environment.

Style masterclasses will develop understanding of a range of styles and genres. Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable goals.

Attention is placed on learning basic communication and interaction skills suitable for performance. The culmination of this unit will be the performance of a set of music to an audience at a professional public venue.
Instrument I
In Instrument I, students will begin to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire.

The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity and the development of their personal playing styles.
Music Business I
The purpose of this unit is to give students an introduction to the music industry enabling a basic understanding of key sectors, roles and structures within it. It will also introduce students to copyright as it applies broadly to musical, literary, dramatic and artistic works and the functions and responsibilities of publishers and publishing companies. All areas relating to the application of copyright and the workings of publishing are considered.

This unit outlines the practical application of the Copyright Act within the entertainment industry from its formative beginnings in the early twentieth century into an increasingly expanding competitive industry in the twenty first century. The course also introduces music publishing contracts, distribution deals, and opportunities that are emerging with the development of digital technology and the practices of independent artists.

This knowledge is essential for any person wishing to work in the entertainment industry and provides the student with a solid understanding of these key elements.
Arranging I
Music arranging is an essential skill for many musicians. Without it, bandleaders and producers are limited to the simplest performances that can be created ‘on the fly’. This subject begins to develop students’ understanding of the process of music arranging. It will cover the creation of specific arrangements for rhythm section (that is, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass, drums) and voice. This will include writing and preparing the score, associated parts and other digital elements often required by professionals.
Music Technology I
This unit introduces students to the capacity of music technology to enhance their potential as musicians, composers, and recording artists. Students will investigate the fundamental range and features of music technology available and gain understanding of its potential in the creative process.

Students will learn the fundamentals of the technology underlying all stages of music creation and distribution. They will also investigate the operations and parts of a computer; set-up and operation of small music home recording systems; operation of industry standard software programs (Pro Tools); program using Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and understand basic principles behind sound synthesis.

Students will acquire (or reinforce) basic musicianship and keyboard skills.
Ensemble II
This unit will provide further development in the understanding of musical style, improvisation, understanding of form and associated techniques. Students will continue to develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire; however there will be focus on developing original arrangements and student’s choice in repertoire.

Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable targets. Reflection and evaluation will be introduced and developed. Communication and interaction skills suitable for performance will also be a focus.

The culmination of these areas will be the performance of a music set to an audience at a public venue.

Students will also be involved in a weekly style masterclass, predominantly in a group with their own instrument. The groups will develop specific understanding of genre and style to provide a broad understanding of contemporary music. Students will develop set repertoire and improvisational skills.
Instrument II
Instrument Study II will continue to develop the necessary skills to become eventually become a master of your selected instrument. It will involve the study of technical work and repertoire. It is essential that you constantly develop yourself as not only a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure your future musical career. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles. In Instrument II, students will continue to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire.
Improvisation and Rhythm
This unit aims to provide the students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the concepts involved in improvising across a variety of styles. It will also focus on rhythmic concepts in a concentrated way, enabling greater rhythmic precision and understanding of reading, writing and executing rhythmic elements in theoretical and practical contexts.

The unit will also offer students an opportunity to discover how different cultures have developed and utilized rhythm.
Songwriting I
This unit develops students’ conceptual knowledge and technical skills in songwriting, focusing on songwriting technique and practice methods, harmonic and melodic analysis, and the ability to present their songs using industry standard lead sheets. Students will investigate the links between music and text (prosody), form and structure of contemporary song, and analyse influential songwriters and their works.

The unit contributes to the degree by giving students the opportunity to create their own original songs. The unit will also continue to develop students’ musicianship and aural skills.
Music Technology II
This unit provides the student with an understanding of audio production techniques within the Pro Tools digital audio workstation software. Students will learn to analyse and reproduce common audio production techniques, focussing on areas such as editing, arrangement, and effects and how they impact the outcome of the song.

While Music Technology I focused primarily on the fundamentals of digital technology and MIDI programming, this unit will develop skills to an intermediate level in audio editing and music production. Students will also explore virtual instruments to a greater depth, looking at how they can be used for music production across a range of musical styles.
Ensemble III
In this unit students continue to develop the understanding of musical style, improvisation, form and interpretation, and musicianship through a prescribed repertoire. There will be an emphasis on the development of original material and more opportunity will be given for students to develop repertoire of their own choice.

Students form ensembles of their own choice and it is expected that they would be at a standard to make a contribution to the ensemble.

Students work collaboratively with the other departments as part of the Integration project. This could be in the form of a recording, a film clip, music for an animated project and other approved activities.

This is an opportunity to work with the other JMC Academy creative disciplines and develop new understanding and skills.
Instrument III
In Instrument Study III students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument. The unit involves the study of technical work and awareness of challenging repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.
Arranging II
Music arranging is an essential skill for many musicians. Arranging skills can be utilised for recordings and live performances for a range of art forms.

This unit further develops the students’ understanding of the process of music arranging. Moving on from MUS 209 (Introductory Arranging), the students begin to develop an understanding of writing for non-rhythm instruments. The unit covers arranging for specific brass and reed instruments which are known in contemporary music as the “horn” section.

These instruments differ in arrangement from the rhythm section. Rhythm sections are interpreters and improvisers whereas the horns are generally reading specialists and require a different approach to notation and arranging.
Music Cultures
Over five trimesters, students will have gained extensive knowledge of the process of composing and arranging contemporary music. In this trimester, students will be encouraged to look beyond Western music conventions and examine a range of music traditions from around the world. Students will implement this information, and the skills gained in the Music Technology and Composing and Arranging streams, to write and/or record a “crossover” piece of music utilising one or more non-Western musical traditions. In essence the unit is an introduction to the specialist research field of ethnomusicology whilst giving students a chance to further hone their composition/arranging skills.
Music Technology III
Successful completion of this unit empowers the student with the capacity to integrate music technologies using Ableton Live within their live performance. Students investigate contemporary music artists who use Ableton Live in their current live performances.

Assessment tasks aim to enable students to analyse the real-life use of the tools by current artists and then produce a work which can be integrated effectively into a three to five minute performance piece. Students will gain an understanding of a context in which music technology is currently used for contemporary music performance, and will gain experience with the technical process which enables the merging of Ableton Live into their own creative work.

While Music Technology II focused primarily on the fundamentals of digital technology and production techniques, this unit will develop skills to realise the use of music technology in live performance.
Ensemble IV
In this unit students continue to develop their understanding of musical style, improvisation, form, interpretation, and musicianship through performing original material. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Film and Television department in preparing a music video collaboration project.

This is an opportunity to work with the other JMC Academy creative disciplines and develop new understanding and skills.
Instrument IV
In Instrument Studies IV students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument. The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.
Screen Music
Throughout previous units, students have developed skills and knowledge across areas of music theory, industry, performance and technology. This unit aims to provide an opportunity to demonstrate this knowledge and employability skills within a focused area of the music industry. Students are able to apply their specialist knowledge and understanding of both current and future practice while reflecting on their own work related performance.

The unit equips students with skills in a specialist area of music that is of interest to them, helping to better prepare them for focused work within the industry. It also enables them to focus on an element of their previous study they find most fulfilling. Students have the opportunity to define their own work or knowledge based project or may have a lecturer assign one for them.
Specialist Project
Throughout previous units, students have developed skills and knowledge across areas of music theory, industry, performance and technology. This unit aims to provide an opportunity to demonstrate this knowledge and employability skills within a focused area of the music industry. Students are able to apply their specialist knowledge and understanding of both current and future practice while reflecting on their own work related performance.

The unit equips students with skills in a specialist area of music that is of interest to them, helping to better prepare them for focused work within the industry. It also enables them to focus on an element of their previous study they find most fulfilling. Students have the opportunity to define their own work or knowledge based project or may have a lecturer assign one for them.
Songwriting II
In this unit, students continue to develop conceptual knowledge and technical skills in music analysis and songwriting. This unit concentrates on songwriting techniques, with a focus on melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic development. Students also further investigate the links between music and text (prosody), forms and structure of the contemporary song and the musical methodology of song composition.

The unit builds on skills learned by Songwriting students in Songwriting I (MUS 302), and by Music Performance Students in Arranging I (MUS 209), Songwriting I (MUS 302), and Arranging II (MUS 309), focusing on the development of musicality, songwriting ability and professional practice. Students have the opportunity to create their own songs and write lyrics which demonstrate an understanding of the principles of rhyme, song structure, style and phrasing.
Ensemble V
This unit will continue to develop the understanding of musical style, improvisation, form and interpretation. There will be an emphasis on the development of original material and the development of a range of repertoire. Students will demonstrate a higher stylistic understanding and incorporate advanced music concepts.

Students will form ensembles of their own choice and it is expected that they would be at a standard to make a contribution to the ensemble.
Instrument V
In Instrument Studies V students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument. The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.
Music History II
The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an historical and cultural overview of Western Art Music. It is important to understand the historical context of the periods and how they influenced musical development. This will enable students to communicate with other musicians and develop a conceptual framework for describing music and its stylistic characteristics.

The different musical movements will be discussed and analysed looking at musical characteristics such as: use of key, harmony, instrumentation, texture, dynamics, melody, phrasing, ornamentation, articulation, form and rhythm. These musical eras will be put into context with the political, social, philosophical and artistic cultures of each period. The unit will cover ancient and medieval music to music of the 20th Century.
Arranging III
Musical arranging is an essential skill for musicians hoping to take their art further than just playing in a band. The practical skills covered in this course require students to start to internalise music and develop notational and analytical skills. In building upon previous study in composition and arranging this unit will now introduce students to writing and arranging for strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.

The aural and solmisation skills contained in this course continues to develop students’ aural and sight reading skills. There is also a continued focus on contemporary music theory and advanced harmonic and melodic concepts.
Music Business II
The aim of this unit is to examine business principles and concepts for the contemporary music performer with the aim of establishing a sustainable professional practice. It will examine performance environments as well as music industry business models. Each student will be required to identify ongoing professional development requirements and opportunities.
Instrument VI
At this stage of the study program, you will be required to draw upon your ability to apply conceptual and technical skills in preparing and performing a 40 minute individual showcase recital. For this unit students are required to demonstrate high-level technical proficiency, creativity, ensemble leadership skills, and the development of their personal playing style.

Careers in the Industry

Graduates may find employment with

Whilst many other institutions provide more classically orientated programs that emphasise musicianship alone, JMC Academy will also provide you with the commercial skills you need to understand and succeed in the music industry. The curriculum covers an expansive range of musical styles, as well as recording and production techniques.

JMC Academy is one of very few institutions to incorporate a technology stream throughout the undergraduate program, providing you with additional opportunities in this industry.

Specific roles may include

Recording Artist
Music Teacher 
Music Journalist  
Composer  
Songwriter 
Music Director  
Musical Theatre  
Conductor 
Music Programmer 
Music Publisher 
Arranger

Music Therapist
Touring Musician
Licensing Agent
Music Academic
Booking Agent
Tour Promoter
Copyright Specialist
Producer
E-Marketing Music Consultant
Resident Musician

Student testimonials

  • "The way I have been taught music here has changed my life. I try to inspire my own music students in the same way." - Mickey Pye
    Bathurst College of Music Principal and Toyota Star Maker winner 2015 | Contemporary Music and Performance
  • "This course was different - very diverse! There was the singing, stage craft and learning how to audio produce. It's helped me tour the world with my music." – Tim Omaji (nee Timomatic)
    aria award nominee, Urban Artist, Singer, Songwriter, Dancer/Choreographer | contemporary music and performance
  • "JMC Academy has provided me with the ability to recognise good opportunities, to not shy away from the challenging ones and to be adaptable to changes in the industry." - Amara Primero
    composer, director and secondary teacher | contemporary music and performance

Faqs

I don't play an instrument. Can I still apply for the Contemporary Music & Performance course?
If you are a vocalist, you are not required to play an instrument. However, if you have selected to play an instrument other than voice as part of your studies, your eligibility will be determined during the audition process. All successful applicants will be provided the tuition you need to progress through the course. 
I’m not sure whether to apply for the Contemporary Music & Performance course or Songwriting course. How do I choose the best one for me?
This depends where your passion lies. Do you love performing and getting on stage in front of an audience, or do you prefer composing, creating, and telling stories through music? If you get stage fright and the thought of performing in front of a live audience makes you feel weak at the knees, then the songwriting course could be a better option for you.
Do I need to know music theory to be eligible for the Contemporary Music & Performance course?
No. For those with little or no theory background, we'll teach you what you need to know from the ground up. We also offer a program during orientation week which provides a crash course to help you get started if theory isn’t your strong point. Additional support throuhgout your course will be available. 
What do I need for my Contemporary Music & Performance audition and how can I ensure it's a success?

This depends on what you’re auditioning with – there are different requirements for vocals vs instruments for example, so check with your student recruitment advisor as to what you will need to bring to your audition.

To make the best of the audition - practice! Play something that you’re comfortable with and know well. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t base your audition song on what you think we want to hear – we want to see who you are as an artist, so choose a song that you love playing and shows your own unique style. Make sure you’ve brought everything you need. Don’t stress. We want you to do well and will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible. 

My singing voice needs work, can I still apply for the Contemporary Music & Performance course?
Definitely. As part of the application process we conduct auditions which will help determine your level. Vocal ability is subjective and everyone is their own worst critic, so we encourage you to come along and show us what you’ve got...keeping in mind that we don’t expect you to be an accomplished performer or finished artist. It's our job however to get you there!
 
What software programs will I use in the Contemporary Music & Performance course?
You will work with three main types of software - Sibelius, ProTools and Ableton.