Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music to create next generation of Australian popular music artists

In the cut throat world of popular music, success rarely eventuates just by virtue of having an incredible voice or next level stage presence. Instead, young musicians and performers are more likely to outshine their competition if they have insight into all aspects of the industry, from the ground up.

With this is mind, the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music is launching a new Popular Music specialisation in 2020, specially designed to give future stars a launching pad for success. A reimagining of the Popular Voice specialisation, Popular Music now welcomes drummers, bass players, guitarists and keyboard players in addition to vocalists, with the course including performance studies, song writing workshops and music production opportunities, as well as opening students’ eyes to the true meaning of what it takes to be a popular music artist in the 21st century. With a focus on providing students with access to industry heavyweights (past collaborators include Kate Noonan, Lior, Bonnie Anderson, Pat Pattison and John Foreman), students will gain game-changing insight into usually hidden facets of the music business.

For Tanya George (pictured right), School of Music graduate and fresh new face on the Australian festival circuit, having a strong grounding in all elements of the music business has been key to her rising profile. ‘Education is power,’ said Tanya. ‘Studying at Monash provided me with people to talk to, a new focus on musical goals and helped me discover where I wanted to go next.’

‘I created my latest project at Monash, which has propelled my solo career. I've played about 15 festivals this year, and that was before releasing my solo EP!’

Max Lawrence (pictured left), another recent School of Music grad and alt-pop singer/songwriter currently racking up hits on triple j Unearthed, believes that the community and connections he developed at Monash have helped him get a foot in the door just as much as the classes he attended. ‘My favourite thing about studying at Monash was definitely the sense of a loving, nurturing community in which we could all freely express ourselves, freely fail, and help each other grow to be the best versions of ourselves as performers.’

‘The people you connect and create with at uni will be your support network when you leave the course and begin to join the incredible wider music community Melbourne has to offer.’

Tanya agrees that the School of Music’s focus on collaboration, performance and community made a big difference to how she’s positioned herself as a professional in the industry. ‘The ‘music industry’ is right around you -  it’s your community of friends, family and fellow band members coming to gigs and listening to your music.’

‘The more experiences you have with music, the more work you will receive. You'll develop the ability to relate to not only other musicians, but music listeners.’


The Bachelor of Music at Monash University is now auditioning vocalists, drummers, bass players, guitarists and keyboard players for the Popular Music specialisation starting in 2020. Single and double degree options are available. The School of Music also welcomes enquiries from Popular Music students wishing to study at Honours, Masters and PhD level.

Register for an audition today.

For more information, contact Dr Rod Davies.

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