In mid-December, before VCE results had even been released, Nicholas Gumley (OM 2020) had already received University offers from Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
Nick was involved in St Michael’s Plays, Musicals, Dance Projects and Ensembles, and has been involved in the Performing Arts from a very young age.
“I have played the piano for years and years, and when I was 10, I started being involved in Dance and Drama too. I got into Drums shortly after that, and then I kept all of them up at the same time, which I think has been the best thing for me.”
Nick loved being a part of a variety of ensembles and productions at St Michael’s.
“One of my favourite experiences at St Michael’s was getting to know a lot of people outside of my year level doing the musical and musical orchestra. The Addams Family and Legally Blonde were two massive highlights. I can’t imagine anyone going through high school at St Michael’s and not doing, or at least auditioning, for the musical.”
“The Choirs were a big deal for me too. The Boys Choir, as a self-run choir, was a really good experience. There were so many singing boys in one year level, so everyone knew it was an opportunity that we couldn’t really miss.”
Commencing Year 12 in 2020, Nick could never have known that his cohort would face the challenges of both VCE and COVID-19, something they accomplished with strength and kindness.
While Nick acknowledges that online classes during 2020 were sometimes difficult, he also recognises the new opportunities the year provided for him. “For me, this year was weird, but it also gave me opportunities for things that I wouldn’t have usually done”.
Online learning gave me the opportunity to create all these music videos. This taught me a different side of learning, which helped a lot with creating audition tapes and auditioning for Uni.Nicholas Gumley (OM 2020)
Nick also used the time spent learning from home during Melbourne’s lockdown to teach himself new skills.
“I picked up playing the guitar. Another positive thing about this year is that I got breaks during the school day to play guitar, since it was right next to my desk.”
Throughout his VCE studies, Nick focused on gaining skills that would give him strong foundations for the future.
“Going into an Arts degree, I feel like I focused on a different goal for VCE. My focus wasn’t the ATAR I came out with, but the practical skills that I actually gained from those classes.”
“Especially with music, drama and theatre, I was preparing performance pieces from home, which was difficult to do at home but was also setting me up for what I’m going to go on and do at Uni”.
Nick could see the benefits of becoming familiar with online learning as he looked to transition from school to university.
The online learning was like a stepping stone to University. It was all your own guided learning, rather than in-class work.Nicholas Gumley (OM 2020)
Alongside Nick’s skills on the drum kit, he believes his abilities in creating melodies, playing the piano and guitar, singing and song writing, music theatre and acting all helped him get accepted to the Bachelor of Popular Music at Queensland Conservatorium.
“When applying for music courses at universities, they like to see well-rounded people with lots of different skills. I don’t think I’m the best at any one thing that I do. I know I wasn’t the best drummer or the best songwriter, but it was my ability to do all those things to a competent ability that they liked to see in my interviews and auditions.”
For St Michael’s students with their hearts set on pursuing Performing Arts after school, Nick says it is important for them to push themselves and create their own opportunities.
“I would say that you need to start looking at creating opportunities for yourself to shine. Get involved in new initiatives, like the School’s songwriting competition – things that you can create your own opportunities to shine above the rest of the people auditioning. For me, this was picking up a new instrument and writing and recording songs in my bedroom.”
I put aside time to do these activities that may not add anything to your VCE mark, but they do add a lot to you as a person and how you come across in interviews and auditions.Nicholas Gumley (OM 2020)
Nick is thrilled to begin his new chapter in Brisbane and to open a new world of opportunities.
“I’m super excited to meet a bunch of new people and to enter a bigger world of everything. I’m really excited to see what’s out there and to come out of it with experiences that I can talk about and write about with my music.”
After finishing the Bachelor of Popular Music, Nick is looking forward to continuing his passion in the Performing Arts.
“Hopefully after the degree, I’ll go out and be able to play the drums and play the music that I write. I’m also thinking I might re-evaluate and see if I also want to do a music theatre degree or an acting degree afterwards.”