Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sky High Opera

Posted by in Uncategorized | December 14, 2017

sky high logo

South West Music Regional Conservatorium is bringing Sky High Opera to Deniliquin.

The Opera is being performed by Co-Opera, Australia’s operatic troubadours for 27 years. This wacky production, brimming with laughter and sumptuous costumes, will bring the magic of that tradition to audiences in Deniliquin.

The Barber of Seville is the best known and most popular work in comic opera. This production, set in the Australian goldfields of the 1880’s, will show why. Featuring the most famous tune in opera, it is a must-see for anyone who loves a good laugh, good music and a good night out.

The Sky High Opera on 14 April 2018 will form part of a weekend of celebrations at the airport, including the Deniliquin Aero Club fly-in and mini air show and the opening celebrations for the first stage of the WW2 No7 SFTS Heritage Centre. We are lucky enough to present the Opera in the Wettenhall Air Services hangar, which is an original hangar from when the airport was a WW2 Service Flying Teaching School.

Tickets – $40 each or 2 for $70
Seating is allocated, so book early.
You can also buy tickets online at

Employment Opportunity

Posted by in Uncategorized | November 22, 2017

Marketing and Administration Assistant

South West Music Regional Conservatorium is currently seeking an enthusiastic new team member.

South West Music Regional Conservatorium is a leader in Music Education in Deniliquin and across the region. We are currently seeking a Marketing and Administration Assistant to help build the profile of and participation in our various events and activities, through website development, marketing and social media. The role also provides support to the Administration Manager.

This is an entry-level role with the opportunity to gain further experience in a range of areas including administration and finance, database management, event management, communication and marketing.

Hrs: 15 hours per week – flexible hours


Selection criteria:


  • Website development experience
  • Social media management experience
  • Experience in producing marketing materials
  • Excellent communication skills


  • Administration experience
  • Data entry experience
  • Customer service experience
  • Ability to work flexible hours

Download the Position Description – SWMRC Marketing and Administration Assistant


Please address the selection criteria in your application and send it, together with your CV, to:

Damien Johnson, Director –

Applications close: Friday 1st December 2017 5:00PM




We are seeking new members for our Board of Management

Posted by in Uncategorized | August 18, 2016

South West Music Regional Conservatorium is a not-for-profit community governed organisation, based in Deniliquin. We are seeking Board members for our dynamic and regionally expanding program.

South West Music’s mission is to promote, foster and develop the playing, learning, appreciation and availability of music throughout South-Western NSW. Our Board members work individually and collectively to help steer our organisation towards this mission.

Preferable expertise:

  • Governance understanding
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • Funding and grant applications
  • Community knowledge and networking.
  • Legal knowledge
  • Music appreciation

Successful appointment to the South West Music RC board of management will enable you to contribute to decisions that affect your local community.

Our Board embraces diversity of membership to reflect the diversity of the communities we work in.


Click here to download the Expression Of Interest Form (PDF)


For further information and Expression of Interest Forms please contact:
Francie Cullenward, Chairperson, SWM Regional Conservatorium, PO 887 Deniliquin 2710, or Jane Harris (Vice Chair) at the same address.




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 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


BBQ – One night only

Posted by in Uncategorized | January 30, 2015

Come and join these 3 girls as they play sing and joke their way to Outback Australia, all whilst documenting the whole journey for a film. Should be fun

Sat 31st January 2015

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 – 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