We believe that music makes the world a better place
At South West Music, our vision is to inspire lifelong passion for music. Our mission is to promote, foster and develop music throughout the region encompassing the playing, learning, appreciation and availability of music.
Our passion for music is infectious and is born out of a commitment to the many and varied benefits music regularly brings to all members of our community and the community as a whole. We understand how music is an essential part of a vibrant community and why it deserves to be elevated and recognised for its demonstrated developmental value and ability to bring people together in a positive way.
We want to inspire such passion in others, passion that stays with them for the rest of their life. We want parents to sing and enjoy it, children to be playing and striving to improve, talent to be recognised and nurtured, audiences moved, teachers committed, schools engaged and music created.
Where we teach
South West Music is based in Deniliquin and teaches students across south-west New South Wales.
Each year our teachers travel around 70000kms to bring music to hundreds of students in dozens of schools. We cover a region of around 85000 square kilometres, so many of our lessons are conducted over video conferencing.
The Conservatorium building in central Deniliquin is a space transformed by music, with dedicated teaching studios and performance spaces.
We aim to provide adults and children with the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of musical instruments. Our video conferencing equipment also allows us access tutors from other regional Conservatoriums and around the world, providing local tuition for an even greater range of instruments.
South West Music began in in Deniliquin in the early 1980s, with funding from the Australia Council, Arts Council of NSW and the Ministry for the Arts.
Surveys of local school students were carried out to determine the demand for instrumental tuition. Students from the Victorian College of Arts were contracted to travel to Deniliquin and Finley, in a hire car, on a fortnightly basis and they were billeted with local families. They were young, inspiring, enthusiastic musicians and in no time at all they attracted a large number of students eager to learn strings, woodwind and brass instruments.
As the Instrumental Tuition Program grew and funding became available we were able to employ a Director to promote music education in our Region. Students in outlying areas including Hay, Barham, Jerilderie, Balranald, Coleambally along with Finley and Deniliquin were provided with lessons in a range of instruments. This led to a number of exciting and active ensembles: the Deniliquin Community Orchestra conducted by Ian Bathgate; Junior Strings; Senior Strings better known as “Highly Strung”; Junior Band; and a Regional Orchestra which performed at the Christmas Concert each year.
South West Music has been able to attract many talented musicians in the role of Director, including Alfred Hornung who went on to play with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Eugenie Teychenne who is a highly regarded violin teacher in Melbourne and Jenny Kimber who continues to teach piano in the Newcastle region.
In 2005 South West Music became a Regional Conservatorium and in 2010 it entered into a Triennial funding agreement with the NSW Department of Education.
In 1981, the Deniliquin Music Society approached the Deniliquin Municipal Council, asking for their financial support to purchase a grand piano. Council agreed and a sub-committee of the Music Society was formed to research a suitable piano. This sub-committee included Judy Metcalfe, Robyn King, Lorna Ford and Nell Jones.
The final decision was made to purchase a new Kawai 7 foot, 4 inches Grand Piano in polished ebony for the sum of $6,000. Council provided the funds and the Music Society agreed to repay the full amount, interest free over a period of ten years.
Today, this superb instrument, with a replacement cost of $40,000, is housed at the South West Music Regional Conservatorium. It is used for teaching purposes and performances. It provides inspiration to young pianists and we are indebted to those who showed such foresight, 30 years ago.
Live Music History
The Concert Series was created to include the wider community in South West Music's musical endevaours.
The first South West Music Concert Series was launched in 1995 at the Deniliquin Town Hall.
Since it was first launched, the Concert Series has welcomed musicians from all over the world to Deniliquin and surrounds. The local community has enjoyed an amazing variety of musical styles and instruments including cabaret, jazz, classical, celtic, baroque, vocals, strings, big bands, woodwind, harpsichord, harp, piano and percussion. There has always been a desire to surprise the audience with some unusual and memorable venues such as barns, woolsheds, homesteads and gardens.
Since its inception, the Concert Series has been coordinated by a volunteer committee. They have generosly welcomed and entertained artsts and guests and ensured every event has been a memorable success.
The Concert Series would not be possible without funding from the NSW Government and the ongoing support of local partners and sponsors.