It’s not easy breaking your way into the music business – a reality the staff and graduates of Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Contemporary Music know first hand – but it is possible. That’s what keeps them – and the students of the degree – inspired and motivated to keep pursuing their dreams.
Southern Cross University has emerged as a leading institution for music education over the past 30 years, offering its renowned Contemporary Music degree that serves as a fertile ground for aspiring Aussie artists.
It offers state of the art facilities – including onsite recording studios, production labs, performance spaces and rehearsal studios – and multi-faceted studying opportunities to develop songwriting, composition, performance and production chops. Students of Southern Cross University also have access to a roster of passionate lecturers who live and breathe music.
The degree is taught by a team of experienced and well-connected musicians who are dedicated to helping students learn and grow.
Brad Hosking, a senior lecturer at Southern Cross University, is one of them. As a multi-talented musician himself, record producer and musical director for superstar Amy Shark, Hosking plays a pivotal role in shaping the minds and talents of students.
“It’s great being able to use my experience to train the country’s most promising performers and songwriters and producers, and to help students creatively on instrumental, lyrical, performance and production ideas,” says Hosking.
“Our students have such a cool opportunity learning from current industry professionals and technical staff who are regularly touring and playing festivals, making records, and helping artists with marketing and releasing, and the things these students are learning are all immediately industry current which is a real positive thing.”
Hosking isn’t the only one who’s shared the stage with Shark.
Southern Cross University graduate – and now lecturer – Omar Hanlon, spent 2022 touring Australia as bass player for Shark before heading overseas to play gigs across Europe and North America. Hanlon’s journey from student to accomplished musician exemplifies the success stories that have emerged from the Contemporary Music degree.
According to Hanlon, one of the best things about the degree is being engrossed in music every day.
“Thinking about writing music, transcribing music, talking to other people who are doing exactly the same thing; it just makes you feel like music is everything when you’re doing it,” he says.
He enjoyed it so much, Hanlon decided to return to Southern Cross University as a lecturer, teaching the next generation bass guitar and music theory.
“I want to give back to the community that supported me and came to the shows that we did.”
The Contemporary Music degree attracts students from all over the world, with a wide range of musical backgrounds and interests. This diversity creates a vibrant and stimulating community, where students can learn from each other and continue to support one another as they embark on their careers.
This network is something course coordinator, Dr. Barry Hill, is passionate about fostering.
“To succeed in the music industry it’s not enough to be a great performer with great songs,” he says. “You must have a great understanding of the way the music industry operates and you need to develop a network of similar creatives and professionals who can support your creative practice.”
Dr. Hill is a seasoned musician himself, with over 30 years of playing and performing experience. He was instrumental in the early development of Australian icons King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, before dedicating his time to nurturing the students of Southern Cross University.
His best advice?
“I encourage students to plan to get overseas as soon as possible in their music careers to develop their international support and promotion network. In a sense, this is the best path to success,” Dr. Hill explains.
“It was great to see that King Gizzard did just that. They fearlessly followed their musical passion. We thought the name King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard was really strange and broke all the rules of what a snappy music band name should be. But look where they have got to. It shows that doing things your own way with focus and passion can really pay off.”
If you’re looking for a real music degree taught by real musicians with direct connections across the industry, Southern Cross University is an exciting place to be.
This year, Rolling Stone Australia and Southern Cross University are teaming up again for the annual Rolling Stone Scholarship. This gives one lucky student $15,000 over three years to help them focus on their studies, equipment and musical development.
Apply now by answering a few simple questions and see where this degree – and incredible music community – can take you.
Applications open on July 3 and close September 28, 2023. To enter, applicants need to include a short statement about their dedication to their music career.