As a classical flautist studying VCE Music, Wendy Davies (11M) was one of 48 VCE students selected across Victoria to test the waters at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne University on 13 August.

St Michael's Grammar School

Wendy performing earlier this year at the Autumn Concert.

Through an array of music workshops and masterclasses, Wendy received a wealth of knowledge, particularly in performance best practices and some interesting tips on wellbeing. ‘There was a psychologist who spoke to us about dealing with stress when performing and the importance of being fit when you’re a musician,’ she says. ‘It’s for heart rate purposes because your heart goes crazy when you’re performing!

‘For example, you should do a lot of physical exercises and then practice when you’re out of breath to simulate a racing heart when you’re on stage’, Wendy adds.

One of her key takeaways was the ‘mock audition’ held by students currently studying at the Conservatorium. ‘A trumpeter, flautist and violinist performed to a panel, who then outlined what they liked in the audition so we got a feel of what it would be like to audition for the Conservatorium, and also what they’re looking for’, Wendy explains.

The masterclass with Dr Derek Jones, Head of Woodwind was a highlight of her experience. ‘We separated into instrumental groups and we each had 15 minutes to perform. Dr Jones then provided us with critique, which was really incredible’, she says. ‘For me, he was talking about breath control and having lots of stamina.’

Wendy discusses career practicality insights. ‘The last workshop was about what music can do for you in life, and it was really good to hear about all the different opportunities available to me as I’m still thinking about what I’m going to be doing at university’, she reflects. ‘The speaker talked about possibilities of setting up a home business on the side, and the multiple pathways if you’re not going to be a solo performer or join an orchestra.

‘Music can give you confidence in general and you can learn to work with different people. I think a lot of people get frightened of pursuing music, as it seems like such a narrow path option, but there’s definitely plenty of branches’, Wendy says.

Wendy is a familiar face in the world of performing arts at St Michael’s. With VCE studies and a Grade 8 AMEB flute exam on the horizon, she’s managed to partake in the Years 7–12 Flute Ensemble, The Grigoryan Orchestra and Years 10–12 Chamber Winds soon to follow. We wish her all the best in her exams and musical pursuits!