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Course Chatter: Music SA Tutor Alice Fraser’s Graduation Speech

Course Chatter: Music SA Tutor Alice Fraser’s Graduation Speech

  • Posted by MusicSA Courses
  • On November 6, 2014
  • Alice Fraser, Business, Course, Graduation, Learn, Music, Music SA, MusicSA, South Australia, speech, Student


This week’s editorial comes from Cert IV tutor Alice Fraser, as she spoke at the graduation to celebrate the achievements of our most recent graduates in October 2014. Alice has also just been chosen for a new international internship with Communion record label in the UK.

“Hi all and welcome to this grand celebration of artistic talent, world domination dreams and entrepreneurial spirit. My name is Alice and I have had the pleasure of working amongst the incredible team here at MusicSA for the past few years, and this year was one of the core tutors in the Certificate 4 program. I thought tonight I can (and will) brag about what the students have achieved this year, but I would also like to share my journey, as like the graduates tonight, I too began my “folk n’ roll” journey in the music industry as a student at MusicSA.

I can proudly say that have produced original, live music shows for South Australian artists and audiences since April 2012 under the title of The Jam Room Presents, but I have also taken contracts in varying roles with festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Queenscliff Festival, Darwin Festival & Port Fairy Folk Festival. But if I’m to talk about The Jam Room Presents, what many don’t know is that the business initially evolved over two years of research from February 2010 – February 2012. I worked full time in hospitality management to fund the development of key skills and knowledge about the music industry before I launched my own small business. And let’s be honest, I can’t play a music note to save myself – however give me a spreadsheet, a ground transport program, inbound and outbound flight schedules and a tour itinerary … and I’m in logistics heaven.

During the “research phase”, I was a delegate at every music conference in Australia throughout this time, sought out local bands who were happy to discuss their future plans, undertook evening study courses in the areas of event management, music business and marketing, became an avid street press enthusiast and community radio subscriber, worked with key mentors to cement ongoing opportunities (many of whom are here tonight), launched a live, original music program at Glenelg Surf Club called La Mar Sundays and assisted with venue bookings at The Highway Hotel, watched local bands perform at least 3 nights a week, purchased a 5-seater Toyota Hiace where I offered complimentary tour management services for local artists; basically so I could experience the country’s live music scene first hand and volunteered at music and arts festivals around Australia (which 2 years on have lead to paid roles). Throughout this time, I was continuously learning about industry trends, artist development strategies, best practice methods and creative business, all the while building a comprehensive network of industry workers (emerging and established), target festivals, music businesses, peak bodies, food and beverage suppliers, graphic designers, venues, artists and most of all friends who would eventually become key stakeholders in the practice today.

Such observation and experience directly led to the recognition of a niche target market for my new endeavour. What I knew was folk music and the beauty of an attentive audience; so this is where it all began.

As a locally focused start-up, the shows aim to place incredible new art and music in a meaningful context. Put simply, I curate events where I introduce audiences to acts they haven’t seen before and spaces they haven’t ventured into.  In fact artists such as Sticky Fingers, Little May and Kim Churchill toured to Adelaide for the first time because of these opportunities.

Since 2012, The Jam Room Presents has produced high quality, paid, live performance opportunities in 11 local venues for over 55 South Australian acts and 30 international and national touring artists. Aside from the international acts and those who have played their first original sets at my events, I take great pride in seeing every single band perform live before I programme them, ensuring a high level of quality is always maintained. As a whole, The Jam Room Presents has founded the creation of 6 music series averaging 1 show every 7 weeks, with total audience numbers exceeding 4000 – where each and every one of those people has paid for a ticket. The vision for me has always been to start small, own your hometown and develop sustainably. You could almost say I’m practicing what I preach in class.

Since embarking on this career I have lived by the philosophy that I am a student of my profession. I can never know too little, I can never see enough live music, read too few books, subscribe to too few blogs, buy too few albums, jam (unsuccessfully) too little on my ukulele or meet too few people – but what I can say about this year’s graduating participants is that they have far exceeded the parameters of success in a conventional learning program! They have dreamed, planned, networked, created, explored, reasoned, observed, listened and participated in a program that speaks to the culture of contemporary music in this city.

In a program that emphasises placements, case studies, mentors & guest speakers, we only need to look at their diverse industry experience to realise that whether they were doing their first live-to-air interview on Radio Adelaide, working in the site team at Groovin The Moo, contributing to Australia’s largest music news site – The Music, working for Love Police at Rolling Stones, acting as a mentor at Northern Sound System, being a fan of an artist and buying a show ticket, writing for a local blog such as This Is Radelaide, starting a band with classmates, collaborating with local musicians and a multicultural choir for an upcoming CD launch, being flown to Sydney for the National Campus Band Competition final, being an event assistant at a world recognised event RAW Adelaide, selling out 250 and 300 capacity rooms in Melbourne and Sydney, performing local gigs to 5 or 500 or writing new material on the bus ride to class each day – every experience, both shared & individual, has helped build a skill set that will help shape their paths within the music industry, of which, no two will ever be the same.

MusicSA has a strong pedigree of graduates, short course participants and staff, that over the past few years have gone onto create businesses and opportunity with worldwide reach. If there’s one thing that we all realise, it is that the music business is a competitive industry and it’s important that we take it seriously. The most successful plans, goals and dreams astutely balance the art and the commerce.

As the graduates leap out into the music industry, their relationship with us does not end here … in fact the community of alumni strengthens even further.  A study of music business does not provide one set path, nor do we aim to provide the answers, but instead we teach ‘possibility’, where the tools for navigating the industry and its many paths have been handed down, and it’s up to them as individuals, artists and industry workers to become the questioning, leading, interested and interesting people we love to foster.

Once again it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the learning program at MusicSA and to see your music, your direction and your attitudes soar, in the wise words of Seth Godin … ‘soon is not as good as now.’ Thank you. ”

– Alice Fraser, Music SA Tutor & Producer of The Jam Room