A few years back, Shepparton singer, Rachael Head, moved to Melbourne hoping to become a professional performer. It was a daunting challenge and she decided studying music would improve her chances. 'I asked around about courses and I kept hearing about melbourne Polytechnic.'
As readers of this website have come to know, NMIT is now known as Melbourne Polytechnic and since graduating from the Advanced Diploma of Music Performance (Jazz and Contemporary) last year, Rachael has toured and recorded with Clare Bowditch, and formed two bands of her own, including Tet to Tet, with Melbourne Polytechnic graduate Cam Nichol. 'Melbourne Polytechnic [NMIT] really gave me the knowledge and confidence to begin a career in the music industry and it was a great transition', she says.
Rachael grew up singing and performing in local productions in her home town, and started playing in bands when she was 16. 'Ever since I can remember I’ve had a love of music. At the age of two I would stand on the coffee table and sing to anyone who would listen.' She says the industry contacts she made at Melbourne Polytechnic helped to jumpstart her career. 'The teachers have been in the music industry for years and they’ve been in bands. They’re all very talented. I felt lucky to be working with them.'
The music courses at Melbourne Polytechnic offer students plenty of hands-on experience both in the recording studio and in performance spaces like the Yarra Edge Theatre at Melbourne Polytechnic’s Fairfield campus. 'I got the chance to perform with lots of different people and I’m playing with them in bands now.' Regular performances help to build students’ confidence.
'I had been performing for years but a lot of people on the course had never performed before. It was amazing to watch that first performance when they were shaking like a leaf and then see how much confidence they had gained by the end of the course.'
As a final assignment, students arrange, promote and perform their own gig. Rachael played at The Spot on Sydney Road, Brunswick. 'It was fantastic. By that stage I was really ready for it. I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I’d been given the knowledge.'
The 20-year-old is currently touring as a backing singer with Clare Bowditch’s band and has just finished recording on Bowditch’s new album. 'It’s really exciting. We’ve had really good crowds and we’ve been playing all over the country, including a gig at The Forum.' Rachael was spotted while playing with her acappella group, Aluka, 18 months ago. Clare’s husband, Marty Brown (the band’s drummer) was looking for new backing singers and signed up all three on the spot. Rachael puts her success down to meeting the right people in the industry. 'One thing leads to another. The connections at Melbourne Polytechnic [NMIT] got me into the position I’m in now.'
Advanced Diploma of Music Performance (Jazz and Contemporary)