New degree hits right tempo for teen songwriter | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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New degree hits right tempo for teen songwriter

A Caloundra singer-guitarist who achieved straight As in Year 12 after gigging at local cafes since she was 14 is one of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s first Bachelor of Music students.

Ella Mathison, who graduated from Meridan State College last year, enrolled in the new USC degree this semester to carve a long-term career in a music industry resurrecting itself after the COVID upheaval.

“I achieved final grades of straight As but I was still surprised by my ATAR of 92.2 because I had studied four arts subjects,” said the 18-year-old.

“My obsession with music began at high school, thanks to music teachers who always went above and beyond to help me achieve my grades, awards for music and the arts, plus real-life gigging opportunities. And I loved the annual battle of the bands.

“I have been gigging for four years now as a soloist at cafes and restaurants and I’m finalising one of my original songs to release this year.”

Ella said her goal was to have her original music heard by people across the globe.

“While songwriting is my passion and will most likely be my favourite class in this degree, I am incredibly excited for the business and marketing courses, which I’m hoping will set me up with the skills necessary to build my own brand,” she said.

“I want to come out of this degree with all the skills necessary to become a well-known local artist and have my music released on Spotify and heard by listeners around the world.”

Ella chose USC’s program over offers to study music at two Brisbane universities.

“I’d heard so much buzz about USC’s new degree – incredible things about how it wasn’t your average practical course, but one in which I would learn to market myself and gain the skills to thrive in the industry,” she said.

She was also impressed by the state-of-the-art recording studios and performance spaces on campus at Sippy Downs, which she will check out during Orientation from Monday 21 February, and when classes start from Monday 28 February.

Lecturer in Contemporary Music Dr Andy Ward said the degree aimed at encouraging ethical, sustainable careers for students, with a twin focus on producing original music and learning how to thrive in the industry.

It is being taught by industry professionals and recording artists such as Aria Award-winning Dr Lachlan Goold, with major label Gold Record-winning songwriter and producer Dr Ward.

“The degree is designed to build students’ creative, technical, performance and entrepreneurial skills to prepare them for a dynamic future in the global music market,” he said.

Applications to study at USC for 2022 are open for potential domestic and international students.

New Music student Ella Mathison
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