USQ strikes a chord with budding musicians under new program at Springfield campus

Aspiring student musicians from Greater Springfield’s Woodcrest State College are following their dreams thanks to a new creative partnership with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

For the first time in its more than 50-year history, USQ is offering a Bachelor of Music Program at its Springfield campus, with the majority of students accepted from Woodcrest. The college’s music students were given the opportunity to complete an audition at the school with Aria nominee, APRA award-winning songwriter and USQ music teacher, Mark Scholtes.

Woodcrest State College Head of Department – The Arts, Michelle Hampson said students wrote a 500-word entry statement, outlining why music was their passion.

“Whilst Woodcrest isn’t the only school to do this, we were certainly the first and enjoy a close partnership with USQ”, Ms Hampson said.

“At Woodcrest State College, we run a comprehensive full arts program aimed to create tenacious, team-oriented problem solvers who think critically and creatively for 21st century solutions.”

Seven of the eight students who auditioned for the course were successful, with three of them now enrolled as USQ music students – among them, Sebastian Webber from Springfield Lakes.

Mr Webber, 18, pictured, said he’d always dreamed of becoming a touring musician.

“This opportunity has really helped because I am learning about the guitar and developing my own music,” he said.

“I’ve been playing music since I was 13. I got my first guitar then and it’s always been about music for me. My grandfather played the guitar, so I am following in his footsteps”.

Mr Webber said the audition process was not daunting or stressful.

“I walked in there and I didn’t feel any pressure,” he said. “Since being accepted into the program I have learned a lot of things I didn’t know about music.”

Mr Scholtes said USQ wanted to break down “barriers around anxiety” by conducting the auditions at the school.

“We found students had the support of peers and teachers as a way of just making that step easier to take, rather than in an unfamiliar room in front of panelists,” he said.

Mr Scholtes said the program had been successful on many levels.

“As part of having a presence on the Springfield campus, we wanted to make real connections in the community, starting with schools in the area,” he said.

“With the music, it’s so collaborative. We are so reliant on one another in bands and recording studios. It’s really important for students to feel part of a large community and it’s nice to see that emerging in the new cohort,” he said.