An experienced musician, James Savage chose to study Melbourne Polytechnic's Bachelor of Music as a complement to his live gigs and music teaching.
James has been enjoying the course, especially the scoring for film and using technology in musical performances. He performed a piece at the 2011 Yarra Edge Music Festival.
Studying in the Melbourne Polytechnic Bachelor of Music, James Savage enjoys the freedom students are given to explore different genres and styles.
James Savage began the Bachelor of Music in 2010, choosing to study further while he played gigs and taught instrumental music.
He has been playing in bands since he was thirteen years old. "I played across a lot of different styles, mainly focusing on jazz until recently. Now I've started playing in a couple of pop bands, which I'm really enjoying. We've played to some pretty big crowds and with all the lighting and the higher volume, it's very exciting." He currently plays synthesizer and base guitar for the band Innerspace.
While he was teaching students in saxophone, drums and guitar, James decided to gain a qualification in 2003 by completing an Advanced Diploma in Music at another TAFE institute. He returned to study seven years later and had his previous studies recognised when he enrolled in the Melbourne Polytechnic Bachelor of Music, beginning in the second year of the degree.
James chose Melbourne Polytechnic because of its reputation for teaching music. "It came highly recommended from several different sources, and from within my group of friends. At the time, Nick Haywood was head of the course and I knew of him, I liked his playing and I was interested in studying with him. The fact that Eugene Ball and Adrian Sherriff were lecturers was really cool because they were sort of on a pedestal for me. They were doing a lot of gigs around town, playing different types of music."
He has found the course to be just as good as he had hoped. "It's been fantastic for networking, for finding other musicians who are into similar things." In April 2011, he was awarded a Melbourne Polytechnic Study Grant for $1000, funded by the Melbourne Polytechnic Industry Foundation.
The standout subjects for James have involved scoring for film and using technology in musical performances. "I've found I've used the computer programs we were taught in music technology subjects a lot in my performances. I've created interactive, improvised electronic music performances and visual material for live gigs."
James has also collaborated with an Melbourne Polytechnic Visual Arts student to create a visual and musical piece which they performed at the Yarra Edge Music Festival 2011 – a series of concerts held at the Fairfield Campus showcasing Melbourne Polytechnic Music students.
After finishing the course he will continue to work, playing gigs and tutoring students, and may later return to study further in music.
"My experience with the Bachelor of Music has been really positive. It allows you to study and play a broad range of music, from Latin to pop and rock, to jazz and experimental music. It seems like nothing is frowned upon or tabooed – you can play rock for an assessment piece. I get a lot out of playing that kind of music and being able to perform it in a tertiary environment."
Bachelor of Music