Music Matters – March 2016

Posted by in MusicMatters | March 2, 2016

A huge thank you to all that attended and performed at our very successful Concert Series Launch last Friday. The night proved very popular, and included some really special performances by all of our Scholarship students. We were also treated to a wonderful introduction to the new Kawai piano by a rousing rendition of Rachmaninov by piano tutor Tomoko Niwa.

To those that were unable to attend, the concerts this year include a diverse range of genres, including swing (The Swing Merchants –12 March 7:30, Deniliquin Club), Jazz (The one and only Emma Pask – 15th April 7:30PM at the Con), Classical piano (Eugene Alcalay – 26th June 2:00PM) and last but not least, flute (Jane Rutter – 17th September 7:30 at the Con). Golden tickets are still available for all these concerts for an unbelievable $90. Phone South West Music to secure yours now.

These represent our concert series core, but stay tuned for numerous other events through the year including a tutor’s concert from all the teachers, and some classical guitar in Barooga and Hay (TBD). A big thank you to Paula Rutter, our Concert Promotor, for her tireless efforts in securing these great acts.

Ukulele group classes

Ukulele group classes are poised to commence with Chris Bodey very soon, and offer a very cost effective way to introduce students to the joy of music. If you have a child that is interested (or yourself!) please contact Chris in the office as soon as possible to arrange classes.

Piano Labs

Very effective, fun and inexpensive way to introduce pre-schoolers to the piano, and give them a flying start to music before reaching school age. Suitable ages are from 3-6.

Music Craft

Learn the theory and how to write music with Jo Watson in friendly classes designed to be instructive and fun. Cost is dependant on class sizes, but call us to find out how.



Posted by in Uncategorized | January 15, 2016

Hello everyone and welcome to 2016. It looks as though it is going to be a great one at our Conservatorium, with a host of great concerts, new initiatives and exciting prospects for students and staff alike.

We will start teaching officially on Thursday 4th Feb this year, and will teach 10 lessons in this term for a normal student.

The Concert Series launch will be on 19th February at 6:15 pm at the Conservatorium. We will be unveiling a great new asset for the Conservatorium, as well as giving you a taste of what is in store for 2016.

I hope to see you all there, and look forward to a great new year with all of you,

Best Regards

Damien Johnson – Director

Music Matters – November

Posted by in Uncategorized | December 15, 2015

Congratulations to all those students who participated in the scholarship auditions on Saturday, especially those that secured some assistance with next year’s tuition. It was great to see such a dynamic and talented group of performers all striving for excellence.

This was the first scholarship day held at SWMRC, and is truly was a celebration of the talent that lies around us.


Taylah King performing at SWMRC

I would really like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Deniliquin and surrounds community for the generous sponsorship that have enabled this annual event to be staged, many of whom wish to remain anonymous. It is really heartening to see the level of support music education and its obvious flow on effects for the community has in our town.

Enrolments for 2016 are quickly filling up, so if you were thinking about giving your child (or yourself!) the opportunity to learn an instrument, either in a group environment or in individual lessons, I strongly recommend that you contact us NOW to secure a spot.

Music Matters – October

Posted by in MusicMatters | November 26, 2015

With Term 4 just around the corner, it was great to see so many students from South West Music RC involved in a range of musical activities around the traps.

Ballarat strings copy

Ballarat Grammar performing at SWMRC

This month, we had the pleasure of hosting Ballarat Grammar who joined forces with students of SWMRC and delivered a really wonderful concert, utilising a talented string ensemble, and a swing band that ended the concert with a bang.

We then had our final student recital for the term, and although small in participant number, was very pleasing to see such a range of ages and instruments utilising a performance opportunity.

We also welcomed Fanny Lumsden back to the region, as she opened her Small Halls tour, in association with SWMRC, at Wanganella. What a great night! The band were good enough to also conduct a workshop for SWMRC students on performance skills at our facility in Hardinge St.

Dates for your diary:


Tuesday 6th October: Commence term 4

Saturday 10th October: Dave Brubeck tribute concert 7:30PM. Early Bird discounts available (Ph. 58814736)

Friday 16th October: Student Recital

Saturday 17th October: Vocal/piano workshop – Free

Saturday 31st October: Scholarship Day


Try to also catch our tutors Shane McGrath, Sophie Butcher and Rose Sievers playing at various venues around town. Have a great musical month!!

Music Matters – September

Posted by in MusicMatters | November 26, 2015

We have had a marvellous month of concerts and workshops at South West Music, starting with a fabulous concert in Deniliquin multi – arts centre with the Cordover brothers last Saturday night. Their concert differed greatly from the ordinary classical music concert, and was enjoyed greatly by the appreciative audience.

cordover bros concert copy


We then had the privilege of welcoming the two Stephens to Deniliquin, Stephen O’Connell (sax) and Stephen Neville (drums) who delighted many of the students from Deni South Primary, Deni North primary and Deni High with their engaging and informative workshops.


The 2 Stephens delivering workshops

Stephens workshops copy 


Enrolments are now being taken for Term 4, so please feel welcome to call our office at any time from Tuesday- Friday to discuss your instrumental and vocal options. Please remember that payment for term 4 is due by the 11th September, and contact us if you are experiencing any difficulties.


Piano Labs

Pre –school kids are invited to come and join our Piano Lab for group tuition in introductory music lessons. This is a very cost effective way to introduce your child to music in a fun and engaging way, and give them a flying start to their musical lives.

Music Matters – August 2015

Posted by in MusicMatters | July 31, 2015

This month was a very busy one for all our staff at SWMRC. Along with welcoming some new instrumental and vocal teachers, new students and schools programmes, one of our lucky students got to perform on the Concert Hall stage in the Opera House alongside members of the Australian World Orchestra. This was a great example of Regional Conservatoriums forging partnerships with organisations that will give music students from the bush opportunities of a lifetime.

Regional Con students final rehearsal with AWO.

Concert hall 

This month, please remember and support our AGM, which occurs on the 27th August at 7:00PM. We would love some input from community members that have some vision and dynamic to join our very generous and innovative standing Board members.

Thank you to all that came and enjoyed the Janet Seidel Trio that played some sultry Jazz last month. This month’s treat features world-class classical guitar set to narration and promises to be something really special. I hope you can make the Cordover Brothers.


Jacob and Gideon Cordover.

Multi Arts Centre, Friday 21st August. 7:30PM

Music matters July 2015

Posted by in MusicMatters | July 15, 2015




Yet another school term has flown by with alarming speed. Our third term will be upon us in no time, so I would like to advise of several exciting things happening at your Music Con, in the next session.

South West Music RC AGM

The Annual General Meeting of South West Music Regional Conservatorium will take place on Thursday 27th August at 7:00PM onsite at 162 Hardinge St. Deniliquin, (behind Purtill’s). Two members of the Board will be declaring their positions open. I would encourage anyone with expertise in governance, financial management, marketing (or indeed some other talent you may envisage as being useful) that feels a desire to give back to community by offering their wisdom to an Organisation that enriches the town through musical experiences to come along and get involved.


New Guitar Teacher

Shane McgrathPP_n

We would very much like to welcome back to Deni, one the Conservatorium’s finest students, Shane McGrath who is returning to his hometown, to teach and perform through SWMRC.

Since being selected in the Schools Spectacular in 2007 as a featured artist he went on to graduate through the talent development program in 2009. Since then he has been working as a musician in Sydney. His expertise spans jazz, funk, rock, and modern finger style. Welcome home Shane and Ellie!

Janet Seidel Trio

Jazz at it’s best. Janet Seidel Vocals, Joe Chindamo piano, and Chuck Morgan Guitar bring some of the classic jazz standards to Deni.

Saturday 18th July, 7:30PM –at the Con.

Music Matters June 2015

Posted by in Uncategorized | June 5, 2015




Friends and students of the Conservatorium were delighted by the international sounds of band Arabesk, who played at South West Music this month. Some of the crowd of 55 returned the next day for a really fun and informative workshop, from which the participants gained a great deal of collective musical wisdom. .


Arabesk workshop



I would like to invite more adults to come and share the music making process and am calling for all those people that have always wondered about learning a musical instrument, but have never taken the next step.       One of our main goals at South West Music is to improve accessibility, which means that anyone that would like to learn has an opportunity, regardless of who you are, how old you are, or what you do.

If you have ever wondered about it, now is the time to act and give us a call. You will join a group of people whose main interests is to make and share music and where no one is wrong.

We are also looking to build ensembles. This means a group of musicians meet regularly to practice and share musical ideas. This suits people of all musical abilities, ages and genres.

Music is glue that can bind communities, cultures and ages together. Take the plunge and give us a call, we would love to hear from you.

Video Conferencing Music lessons

Posted by in Uncategorized | May 8, 2015

Video Conferencing Professional Development

Delivered to Dubbo 8/5/2015




  • Commenced VC 2003 into Deni teaching 3 students
  • Those 3, Marion (helped in early years studying Amus) Imogen (teaching now) Harry just finished school but is not pursuing music
  • Currently teaching to Young last 3 years (doesn’t matter where I am) 4 adults and 1 youngster. More advanced student now teaching the young one with only me occasionally
  • Now splitting my time in Deni and Wagga, now VC to Moama!!




  • HDX 7000 Polycom systems, leaders in VC hardware. Majority of DEC schools have the same hardware, as do the NSWRCs
  • The unit itself is fairly straightforward, once everything is plugged in just on(blue light) and off (orange light)
  • The handpiece is our biggest tool
  1. Display
  2. Presests
  3. Zoom
  4. Far/Near




  • ADSL vs ADSL2 Importance of upload speed as information is being sent both ways.
  • Speed vs latency
  • Far site limitations


DEC and schools VMR


  • Point to point VC
  • VMR behind the firewall
  • Multipoint conferencing



  • Dealing with latency as a teacher
  1. Determining the latency
  2. Verbal communication
  3. Playing with students- volume controls
  4. Use of metronomes
  • Dealing with dropouts variable
  • Microphone placement polycom mics/standard mics
  • Music mode is settings
  • Using the connection issues to improve student listening
  • Tuning of instruments
  • Boosting tone/ articulation



Surmounting Issues. Using to your advantage


  • Dealing with a 3 dimensional issue with only 2 at your disposal
  • Lighting (Artificial/natural)
  • Using the cameras self view to focus a students viewpoint
  • Having music that they are playing is pretty important same edition


Using humour to support video experience

Clothing of teacher (and student) becoming less of an issue

Room set up


Music Matters May 2015

Posted by in MusicMatters | April 30, 2015

The much-publicised “Mozart effect” that gained so much attention and publicity almost before it was published from its authors has been shown to draw some rather dubious conclusions about improving cognitive function and intelligence quotient (IQ).            The study on postgraduate students tested the spatial improvements after listening to either a Mozart piano concerto, a relaxation tape, or just silence and observed that those listening to the Mozart scored the highest results in a folded paper test. Subsequent research teased out the fact that it is more the improved mood and arousal levels that impact on the ability to score at a higher level on these tests. Those that didn’t get to hear the Mozart were possibly just bored! There is also still no clear evidence that pumping music into the amniotic sack of your unborn baby has any positive effect on cognitive function either!

There is, however, a plethora of research suggesting children learning a musical instrument for a significant part of their childhood perform better academically, are more socially grounded, more confident and better problem solvers. This is because of what is happening in their brain developmentally whilst doing so.

In adults, there is scientifically supported evidence that demonstrates music appreciation:

  • Eases pain
  • Aids in stroke recovery
  • Improves endurance and perceived exertion
  • Improves Parkinson’s disease symptoms
  • Accesses dementia patients (esp. when the patient listens to music from childhood)

Next Concert: Arabesk

16th May 7:30PM8cce1b_6559eb725796cb89a8678fe4d7a0a990.jpg_srz_p_600_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz