Yearly Archives: 2014

Music Matters- December 2014

Posted by in Uncategorized | December 15, 2014

Did you know that learning playing a musical instrument  is different to other any activity, at least from a neurological (brain science) perspective? Recent studies using the latest machines that go ping, like the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Positron Emission Tomography machines, have identified that listening to music initiates a large array of activity in the brain.

Going one step further, by PLAYING a musical instrument, the brain lights up on these machines like a Christmas tree! Multiple areas of the brain are being stimulated concurrently, creating neural pathways, and giving the brain a thorough workout. The visual, auditory, and motor cortices, all working independently, but collectively allowing the brain’s owner to perform miraculous feats of fine motor skills, decoding a mathematical program, all whilst interpreting, understanding and conveying a composer’s sentiment at the time of writing their piece. Pretty tricky!!

The most significant part of the brain that sparks up is the corpus callosum, that area of the brain that lies between the two hemispheres of the brain. This is where it gets really cool, as this is that part of the brain that can potentially ‘unify’ the mathematical and linguistic left side of the brain, with the more dreamy creative right side. The resultant brain now has improved function at executive tasks, and recent research has proven enhanced memory function as well. What’s the bad news? There is none!

This research really aligns very closely with the anecdotal evidence that all the 17 regional conservatoriums around NSW report, including South West music Regional Conservatorium. And this is simply that students that learn musical instruments (properly) for a period longer than two years are consistently scoring higher grades and are among the top performers academically and socially at school. The benefits of a musical education are now well documented and have been now quantified by research projects like this.

Research has also discovered that people taking up an instrument later in life have displayed benefits in the exciting field of neural plasticity, warding off some of the more degenerative brain conditions that we are all too familiar with in an ageing population.

Aside from the physiological positive outcomes, learning an instrument is also fun! It creates a new environment to meet people, an opportunity to perform and stretch the comfort zone, and possess a lifelong skill that will be the envy of all.

Music Matters – November 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | November 3, 2014

Those that made it to the concert at the Peppin Heritage Centre last Friday were treated to some amazing and eclectic sounds by the all girl a Capella group, Aluka. A Capella is a style of vocals, where one or more voices sing without accompaniment from an instrument.   These girls were able to use their voices to quite brilliantly emulate various instruments using nothing but their larynx and lips! Their harmonies were original and dynamic. The concerts were enjoyed in Deniliquin, Barham and Finley over the course of three days where they were received most warmly by our wonderful communities.

That was the last concert in the South West Music Concert series for 2014, which has seen some of the most talented musicians in the land come and perform for us. Aluka, Enigma and Lior, just to name a few. We are very happy to be presenting these concerts with the enduring assistance of Arts NSW

However! Plotting is well underway for next years concert series that should include something for everybody, (perhaps with exception of Elvis fans, sorry).

We have some piano trios, some sublime guitarists, cutting edge jazz, and a concert pianist, to name just a few. Some possible new exciting venues may be on the agenda as well. Stay tuned!

We are also restoring the monthly student recitals in our newly appointed concert hall, where students have an opportunity to display their acquired talents, on a regular basis in a formal concert setting. This is a very important facet in a student’s career, building resilience and performance practice. It is another example of why Regional Conservatoriums throughout NSW are such a vital thread in the fabric of country life, providing a life long continuum of music education in regional communities.

As the year relentlessly rushes to it’s ultimate end, I would encourage parents and interested adults to consider booking a spot for your charges or yourselves to commence learning a musical instrument at South West Music, a priceless gift that is really a privilege for anyone to receive or bestow.  Our expert teachers have got limited spots available in a range of instruments. Drop us a line, or come in and see us Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We would love to see you!

Music Matters – October 2014

Posted by in Uncategorized | October 7, 2014



Damien Johnson

Hello Deniliquin!

It is with great pleasure that I have taken up the position of Director of South West Music, on secondment for six months from Wagga Wagga’s Regional Conservatoriums. I am very excited to be part of not one, but two Regional Conservatorium that deliver quality music education to hundreds of students via some gifted teachers whom we have at our disposal.

mm octFurther to our regular face-to-face lessons , we also have access to world-class video conferencing technology, which now opens up a whole new range of teachers and instruments. I am very passionate about this technology, as it really “catches us up” to our city counterparts, who usually have access to a wider range of teachers and instruments. Videoconferencing Technology is the future for regional Conservatoriums and other educational facilities in the “bush”, especially as the speed of the technology improves. I have extensive teaching experience using this format for 10 years and have seen a rapid improvement in the picture quality, sound quality, and lag times. In fact, Deniliquin was the first town that I taught into, with the equivalent as what black and white TV is to colour TV nowadays. With four students on the books in those days, we struggled through poor internet quality, pixelated images and the regular ‘freezes’ as the connection would drop out.  I would be talking happily away, blissfully unaware that the other end was not there anymore!

Those days are well and truly behind us now.  VC (VideoConferencing) lessons represent a substantial part of my studio, and provides coverage to geographic areas not previously having access to a cello teacher. The quality of the picture is like being “right there with the teacher”, with both parties having access to camera zoom and pan functions. This can actually focus the student’s attention to a particular hand or technique, as there is nothing else to look at!

I highly recommend calling or coming in to see us at South West Music (behind the Caltex on Hardinge St) and testing us with an enquiry for an instrument that you or your child would like to play.


Look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Playing!

Damien Johnson




Music Matters – September 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | September 10, 2014

As mentioned in the August Music Matters column our AGM is scheduled for Thursday 25th September at 7pm at SWM premises.

Some dates for your calendar include a fabulous celtic band called “The Whisky Gypsies” performing at the Caldwell Hall on Saturday 11th October at 7.30pm and three concerts by Aluka  on the following dates:



24th October , Peppin HeritageCentre, Deniliquin at 7:30pm.
Pre purchase tickets $25, at the door $30, under 18’s $5.

25th October:  Riverside Park, Murray Street, Barham, 2pm. Free concert.

26th October  Finley School of Arts, Murray Street, Finley at 2pm
$15 per adult, under 18’s free. Includes afternoon tea.

Meet Our Teachers

Rose Sievers
Rose is our newest teacher and we welcome her to our Conservatorium.
Rose teaches cello, piano, vocals and classroom music.

Brett Allitt
Dip. Commercial Music, Cert. IV

Brett teaches all styles of guitar.

Chris Bodey
Cert. IV

Chris teaches all styles of guitar, double bass, mandolin, ukulele, banjo and band.

Richard Sievers
Cert. IV

Richard teaches vocals and brass.

Campbell Robinson
Dip. Jazz Studies,
Cert. Music Performance

Campbell teaches drum kit and percussion.

Will Eldridge (based in Moulamein)
B.A., Grad. Dip. Ed.

Will teaches acoustic guitar, electric bass, ukulele and banjo



Enrolments for new students are open at any time but if you are an
existing student and wish to re-enrol for Term 4, your fee payment
is due by 12th September. New students should contact Chris van
Zeyl on 5881 4736 or Please read the
enrolment information carefully.

Music Matters: August 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | August 18, 2014


It is amazing what a difference our new teaching venue has made. The building is filled with beautiful music, happy kids, friendly parents and enthusiastic teachers. On top of that we now have a collection of fabulous local artwork. The Edward River Art Society has kindly agreed to display a number of paintings by members of their talented art group. Our foyer looks sensational. The paintings are for sale and the Art Society will be changing them over, each month.

Visitors and students will also be able to enjoy some amazing photographs taken by talented local photographers in the near future. You may have seen some of their work displayed in the Peppin Heritage Centre recently.

Art and music…..a perfect combination!! You are welcome to come and take a look during our opening hours.


Thursday 25th September 2014 at 7pm
162 Harding Street

SWM Association Members have been notified of the AGM by mail. Please not that there is a proposed amendment to the Constitution. Copies of the proposed amendment are available from the office during opening hours. Association Members have voting rights at the AGM. Interested members of the public are welcome to attend. In accordance with our Constitution, the rollover of Board members in 2014 involves 2 positions. Nominees need to be Members of the Association and have their nomination approved by the current Board.


Even if we don’t totally understand ‘the how’, the overwhelming view is that music enhances wellbeing. Studies have shown that both primary and high school aged students who are actively involved in the arts, including dance, visual arts and music are better motivated in the classroom and develop stronger self-esteem.

Music, in particular, sets off a flurry of activity in the brain, making all kinds of connections, which enhance the student’s ability to think creatively, improves aural and spatial awareness, verbal understanding and motor skills. Playing a musical instrument and singing has even greater side effects that benefit numeracy, literacy and concentration.

So if you were looking for a reason to take up a musical instrument, you need look no further.


A number of our students will be performing at the Primary Principals Conference in Moama in the near future. The sound of ukuleles will fill the conference room and those sounds will be made by the students of Moulamein and Blighty Schools. We wish them all the very best for this exciting performance and thank our teacher Will Eldridge for his input.


CONCERT 2: “LIOR” Vocalist / Guitarist
liorSaturday 9th August, 7pm at Multi Arts Centre SELL OUT!!

As expected, Lior was a sell out. “Lior” didn’t disappoint. It is little wonder that he is known for his dynamic and moving performances and has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s finest live performers. What an amazing coup for Deniliquin and an absolute treat for the huge crowd who were lucky enough to secure a ticket.


“ALUKA” Vocal Trio
Friday 24th October, 7.30pm at Peppin Heritage Centre

Aluka, are Melbourne’s finest experimental vocal group, who use the flexibility and emotional stronghold of human voice to its greatest advantage. Forming in 2008, they never set out to sing without instruments – they just enjoyed singing together so much that it seemed to naturally evolve.

Pre Purchase tickets are $25
At the door $30
Under 18 years $5








Music Education – Good for kids?

Posted by in Uncategorized | August 7, 2014

Check out “Music Education and the Brain” by Anita Collins on Vimeo.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at

“Lior” plays in Deni 9th August

Posted by in Uncategorized | July 24, 2014

Don’t miss the chance to see one of Australia’s finest singer/songwriters in this one-off intimate solo show! Lior will share his dynamic and moving music at the Multi Arts Centre, Deniliquin on Saturday August 9th at 7.00pm. Tickets are $35 pre-purchased, $40 at the door, $5 for under 18’s and they are selling fast. Seats are limited.

Call South West Music – (03) 5881 4736.

Go to our website for more information:

Music Matters: July 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | July 11, 2014

It is with regret we announce that Mark Wilson has resigned as Director of South West Music. We wish him well in his future endeavours.
The Board has begun the recruitment process and Cheryl Fuller has returned in a caretaker role until an appointment is made.

Deniliquin Business Awards
Congratulations to all the organisations whose fine work was acknowledged at last week’s Business Awards. South West Music was happy to support our local Business Chamber by providing a musical performance by one of our outstanding students, Anna Bowie. Anna gave an impressive performance by singing and playing guitar.

“Sing, Dance, Play and Laugh”

deel2For little musos aged 2-4 years and their parents SWM is very excited to announce a new program to be run by our Early Childhood specialist teacher, Delena Gaffney. Tiny Tots Music Playtime is an early childhood music class designed to give young children and their parents an experience of active music making.
Children will sing, listen, bounce, tickle, dance, chant and play instruments (with mums and dads joining in too!!)
Sessions will run at SWM on Thursdays 11.00am till 11.30am. Classes start on 17th July. Limited spaces are available.
For bookings and enquiries please call our office on 5881 4736.



The recent concert for families by “The Mudcakes” was well attended with over 80 people singing, dancing and playing instruments in our new Concert Hall. The talented duo also presented a Kazoo & Ukulele Workshop later in the afternoon, which was attended by over 20 enthusiastic musicians.


CONCERT 2: “LIOR” Vocalist / Guitarist

Saturday 9th August, 7pm at Multi Arts Centre
Bookings are essential as space is limited.
“Lior” is known for his dynamic and moving performances and has earned a reputation as one of Australia’s finest live performers.
This is an amazing coup for Deniliquin.

Invoices for Term 3 have already been sent out to our enrolled students and the due date was 20th June. Payments can be made online. Prompt
payment will guarantee your current time slot on the timetable.
New enrolments are also welcome. Contact our Administration Officer Chris van Zeyl on 5881 4736.
Our offi ce hours are:
8.30-3.00 Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays
1.00-5.00 Wednesdays

Music Matters: June 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | June 3, 2014

Hello and welcome to Music Matters.

Concert Series Project Officer Delena Gaffney with Enigma

Concert Series Project Officer Delena Gaffney with Enigma

As I write this column we have just wrapped up the first of our three part concert series. If you were among the audience at the recent Enigma concert I hope you enjoyed the show. Congratulations to Steph Gordon who was the lucky winner of two free tickets as part of our Facebook competition. For our next concert in August we will be welcoming Lior. We will also be holding another competition to win free tickets for this performance.
Stay tuned for more details.

Music for Little Monkeys
mudcakesAs a father to two young children myself, I know as well as anyone how tough it can be to keep your little darlings entertained. I swear, if I see ‘Frozen’ one more time I may not be held accountable for my actions… Which is why I’m so excited about The Mudcakes coming to town. Quirky, funny and interactive, you can expect The Mudcakes to have you and your youngsters up and dancing to their range of original bluegrass, rock, reggae, Hawaiian, surf and pop songs. Described as “perfect for the 0 to 8 set,” The New York Times have ranked The Mudcakes among the top 10 for kid’s music. The show will be held on Sunday June 15th from 11am till 12pm at South West Music headquarters, behind the Caltex service station on Hardinge Street. Tickets cost $5 per child, with free entry for accompanying adults. There’s plenty of free parking, so if you’ve got little ones why not come along. Afterall, everyone loves Mudcake, right?

Tessa Bulmer, Ruby Wallace & Chelsea Free at the Interreach Celebrations

Tessa Bulmer, Ruby Wallace & Chelsea Free at the Interreach Celebrations

Intereach Celebration
South West Music was delighted to provide music at the recent Intereach 40th anniversary celebrations. Four of our students took to the stage and the girls really did themselves and us proud. Congratulations to the good folk at Intereach, wishing you many more successful years ahead.

It’s never too late to learn
My wife gave me a sitar for Christmas a few years ago. I think she thought it might be a challenge for me, and maybe keep me out of trouble. She was right, it was a challenge and she spent some of Christmas Day sitting by herself while I tinkered with my new toy. But it was also tremendous fun to learn something new, enjoy a new sound and pretend to be Ravi Shankar. The moral of this story is that it is never too late to learn an instrument. Whether you’re 5 or 105, if you’ve always wanted to learn to play or sing, don’t let anything hold you back. My Nanna was still rocking her keyboard well into her 70s! If you want to learn, or relearn an instrument, give South West Music a call and we can offer advice or assist you to find a tutor. And as for my sitar, well the Mrs took her revenge for that lonely Christmas a few years later, when she “accidentally” broke it during a house move. I’ve got a new one now. Not that she’s allowed anywhere near it!

Music Matters May 2014

Posted by in MusicMatters | May 6, 2014

markwilsonHello and welcome to my first ever Music Matters column.My name is Mark Wilson and I’m the new Director of South West Music.

Since we arrived in Deniliquin in February I’ve been amazed and delighted at the warm reception my family and I have received. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to stop us for a chat or just a friendly word of welcome, it was a big change for us to move here from sunny, tropical England (cough, cough) and your kindness has really helped us settle in. Judging by my Australian Mother-in-law’s reaction the first time she met me I thought people might struggle a bit with my accent, but so far everyone has done really well to understand my northern English tones without the need for a translator!

It has become obvious to me very quickly that Deniliquin is a town of music lovers. I’ve already encountered a great number of extremely talented singers and musicians as well as some gifted learners and students. But for me, the important thing about music is that it is fun! If you’ve always wanted to learn to sing or play an instrument, but have held off because you think you can’t do it or are shy then I’d urge you to give it a go. Sure, you might never rival Jimi Hendrix, but if you enjoy yourself then what does it matter?

South West Music has new home! Over the Easter break we moved into our new premises on Hardinge Street, behind the Caltex service station. Equipped with four studios, band room and a large concert hall. We’re all unpacked and settled in now and are thrilled with our new headquarters… but if I never see another moving box again it will be too soon! We will be holding an open day at our new premises in the not too distant future so watch this space for more info.

C’mon, be our Facebook friend!
In collaboration with South West Arts, we are running another fabulous concert series this year. The series will see us welcome three great acts to Deniliquin, kicking off with Enigma on Sunday 25th May at 2pm. Tickets cost $30 pre-purchase, $35 at the door or $5 for under 18s.

Enigma are a string quartet acclaimed for their vibrant and dynamic performance style. Their shows are typically an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary music, appealing to young and old alike.

You may have already seen the quartet in action during one of their appearances on Australian Idol, the Today Show, Sunrise, Mornings with Kerri-Anne and Domestic Blitz.

The venue for the Enigma concert has now changed from The Uniting Church to South West Music’s new headquarters. Well if we have a concert hall, we may as well use it!

If you want a chance to see Enigma for FREE, we are running a competition to give one lucky person two free tickets for this event. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is to visit South West Music’s Facebook page and become our friend, post a comment or like a post between today and May 19th. The draw will be made on May 19th when I will contact the lucky winner.

There are still some concert series subscriptions available, these cost $75 and allow you to attend all three events. Contact South West Music on 5881 4736 for more information or to book your subscription.