Talking to our APRA Songwriting scholarship winners

Last year, JMC Academy announced the release of the APRA AMCOS partnered Songwriting Scholarship, and this year we have our first scholarship students taking on JMC’s Songwriting course! 


Having completed the APRA AMCOS SongMakers workshop in High School as one of the requirements of the scholarship, Isaac Liew and Marni Purssell are in their first year of study. 

We sat with them to find out why they wanted to study song writing, talk about winning the scholarship, and how they’re getting on so far in their studies!

What made you want to study Songwriting?

Marni: I wanted to join JMC's songwriting course so I could further enhance my songwriting abilities and more so challenge myself and go beyond what I'd usually do when creating a song. It's definitely a good incentive to push me to write more material for assignments and to be able to get feedback and guidance from lecturers in the industry is a big plus. There were also many other music related classes to learn from, and I was attracted to all the opportunities for collaboration JMC has to offer and contacts that could be made with other courses such as Audio Engineering. 

Isaac: During the last two years of my high school I was really considering a career in music, and my passion for song writing was developing at the time, so I wanted to look for an institution that would provide an environment where I could grow and better myself as a musician. So, I did my research and found this university called "JMC academy" and at the time I had this whole obsession with moving to Melbourne to study (from my home in Perth), and I realised they had a campus in Melbourne and they offered a songwriting course! So as soon as I found out about JMC I had my eyes set on it since the beginning of my final year of high school, and worked hard to earn a spot at the institution.


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What did winning the scholarship mean to you?

Isaac: At the time the magnitude of realising that I had won this scholarship shook my world, I didn't think a guy like me from Perth would win such a prestigious opportunity when I had the whole nation to compete with! It meant that I had a chance to break out of the Perth bubble and explore the world, culturally and musically. I had been preparing for the scholarship for almost a year and when I finally got the phone call to say I was offered the scholarship, it simultaneously took a lot of stress and anxiety of my shoulders and gave me so much excitement and happiness, it has been my greatest achievement so far.

Marni: It was very rewarding and humbling to actually have won, as I have gigged a ton over the years and have pride in my original content. It gave me a big boost of confidence. I'm glad to now represent JMC and have APRA on my side. 

How are you finding the JMC course so far?

Isaac: Absolutely great. The course offers a body of information that builds everyone from the ground up across all units. I get to sing, perform and write music pretty much every day and I'll say that I'm quite lucky to study music in a place that encourages so much creative and musical development. The lecturers are very knowledgeable and smart and also great to get along with. All in all, I am enjoying the course very much. 

Marni: I've already got a lot out of my first trimester at JMC. My Music Theory and Ear Training classes have been great at re-enforcing my theory knowledge and have gotten me more switched on in those areas. Music History has been a blast for me learning about important artists and events overtime, like how The Beatles' Ringo Starr was the original voice actor of Thomas the Tank Engine (mind blown). I've met lots of creative people from all fields, such as Film and Animation as well which is refreshing and have had a handful of performing opportunities around Brisbane.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Isaac: I want to be a signed artist in the future, and really be in the thick of the music industry. I have big aspirations to show what I have to the music industry and for people across the world to listen to my music. One way or another, I want to play my music to the world and to make a living from what I love doing the most, music.

Marni: I hope in my career I'll at least have some sort of foot in the music industry. Whether I am a singer/song writer recording my own songs and performing shows, writing for films or other musicians, producing, private teaching or a mix of what I've mentioned, I'll be happy with that.  It was originally a big dream of mine to be a professional singer as a little kid, and it still is, but as I've gotten older I've realized that's not the only way I can go with my passion for music. There's so much non-credited work behind the scenes I'd be happy to have a crack at.

Find out more about studying the songwriting course!

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