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

Music Matters April 2015

Posted by in MusicMatters | April 1, 2015

Daniel de Borah, prize winning Sydney piano competition winner and soloist all around the world delighted the South West Music community with a stunning display of musicianship, playing works spanning a time from 1700 to 1900’s. It was a great opportunity to see a truly exceptional performer in a very intimate setting.




Arabesk will be our next performers, on the 16th May 2015 at our new venue in Hardinge St, behind the Caltex service station, a wonderful venue for live music. These guys have developed a genre all to themselves, and are a high energy, hypnotically rhythmic internationally flavoured troupe. They will also conduct some workshops for some of our more advanced students, so be sure to mark this one in your diaries. Book soon to take advantage of our pre booking price as this one will be a sell-out.

VC students concert copy

Remember that South West Music Regional Conservatorium has some of the most advanced Video Conferencing equipment available, so if you have an public school nearby, and haven’t enrolled for music lessons due to distance, you can now!

Happy and safe holidays everyone!


Posted by in MusicMatters | March 6, 2015


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 – 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.