Audition Preparation Short Course 2022

For Jazz and Improvisation and Popular Music students

Presented by the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance

The 2022 event was held on Saturday, 10 September 2022, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Performing Arts Centre, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, Building 68, 55 Scenic Blvd

Featuring Helen Svoboda, Rod Davies, Paul Williamson and Robert Burke

Helen Svoboda

About the course

The Jazz and Improvisation and Popular Music Audition Preparation Short Course 2022 is a one-day course for jazz/popular instrumentalists and vocalists. This course will explore the performance and ensemble processes that build the skills required to audition for entry to the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance and to build an understanding of expectations for doing a Bachelor of Music (BMus). We encourage both mature-age students and students currently studying years 9 -12 to apply.

The following topics will be covered in the short course:

  • a guide to the audition process (performance, repertoire, aural test, interview)
  • course overview
  • theory/ear training techniques
  • what to practice
  • ensemble workshops
  • performance workshop

Equipment provided

  • drum kit
  • guitar and bass amps
  • pianos
  • vocal P.A (and microphones if needed)
  • music stands

What students need to bring

  • Their instruments (horns, guitars, bass etc)
  • In addition:
    • guitarist/bass - leads
    • drummers - cymbals

The team

Helen Svoboda is a double bassist, vocalist and composer. Following her return from two years of study specialising in soloistic double bass composition in the Netherlands/Germany, Svoboda was awarded the 2020 Freedman Jazz Fellowship and named the 2020/2021 Pathfinders Associate Artist for the Australian Art Orchestra. Helen was the recipient of the Australia Council Career Development Grant 2018 and the Winner of the 2019 Award for Innovation in Music (NL), with MEATSHELL. Helen is a Monash University Teaching Associate and also currently undertaking her PhD in Music.

Robert Burke (Associate Professor) is an Australian improvising musician and composer. Rob has produced 17 CDs under his own name and composed/performed on over 300 CDs with leading international artists such as Hermeto Pascoal (Brazil), George Lewis (USA), Kris Davis (USA), Ben Monder (USA), Enrico Rava (Italy), Kenny Werner (USA), Paul Grabowsky (Aus) amongst others. His research focuses on jazz and improvisational processes investigating the phenomenology of musical interaction, experimentation, identity, agency and gender studies.

Paul Williamson is the Jazz and Improvisation Convenor and a senior lecturer at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, Monash University. Williamson has established a distinguished reputation as a trumpeter composer producing distinctive recordings of outstanding ensemble performances. As a leader, he’s released twelve CDs, and has performed extensively internationally and nationally with jazz greats including Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Eddie Palmieri, Linda Oh, Bill Carothers, Dave Liebman, Paul Wertico, Tomasz Stańko, Kenny Werner, John Abercrombie, Hermeto Pascoal, Aaron Goldberg, Django Bates, Vijay Iyer, Mike Nock, Tony Gould, Nasheet Waits and Mark Helias.

Rod Davies is the convenor of Popular Music. He has experience as a solo artist, a commercial entertainer and a backing singer to Australian music icons John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Arena and Mark Seymour, and is also a session musician, performing on TV (Hey Hey it’s Saturday, 1996-2010; Dancing with the Stars, 2004-2022), radio and album recordings. Rod spent ten years working as a songwriter in Europe with EMI Music Publishing Germany and his research investigates how the Australian freelance music scene can become more productive and sustainable.

What is music at Monash?

The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance is a thriving hub of diverse musical practices in performance, composition, research, teaching and industry engagement. We are home to an exciting community of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional musicians working across classical, electronic, experimental, jazz, interdisciplinary and popular music.

Collaboration, creativity, excellence, inclusivity, diversity and community are at the heart of what we do. Our students are innovative, forward-looking and internationally informed, and celebrate Australian music and its place in the world.


The 2022 event has concluded.