Music Alumni Stories

2011 Screen Music Awards - Winners Announced!

Matteo ZingalesThe winner in the category of "Best Music in a documentry" is Sydney composer Matteo Zingales, for his work on the feature length documentary Lachlan Macquarie: Father of Australia. An AFTRS graduate, Matteo has worked across a wide spectrum of original music scores with a special focus on television, film and new media and his experience includes scores for the award-winning films Unfinished Sky (co-composer) and Broken Sun. He is currently the composer for the Seven Network's Winners and Losers and also works with Sonar Music team.

Matteo is recognised for his compelling and engaging music. Whether with subtlety or gusto, his strong thematic, emotional and dramatic effects capture hearts and minds. Influenced from an early age by music from all cultures and genres, he blends various musical styles and techniques in original and inventive ways. Matteo enjoys collaborating with energetic, creative people on dynamic and engaging projects.


Derek Blundell, Bachelor of Music


Derek Blundell, 29, says the Bachelor of Music degree is quite different to what he was expecting.

"It is more self-led than I thought it would be. We are given guidelines, but the focus of your studies and where you take it is really up to the individual," says Derek.

In the third and final year of his degree, Derek was required to complete a 'Music Project'. In fitting with the style of the degree, the specifications for the project were quite broad.

"For the unit, I basically had to complete a major project that was music-related, that also had a positive impact on the community. Some of my classmates did composition work for films, busked for charity, or performed in nursing homes – I organised a fundraising concert."

The aim of the 'Darrington Family Fundraiser Concert' was to raise money for Matthew Darrington, a member of the local Penrith community who has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

"Motor Neurone Disease affects the brain and spinal column and the nerves that activate the muscles – they just wither away and you become immobile," says Derek.

"Matthew is losing his mobility and will soon be confined to a wheelchair. He currently spends most of his time sitting in front of a computer in his shed, but his quality of life would be greatly improved if he had a wide, flat, sheltered outdoor area in his home where he could spend quality time with his wife and two-year-old child."

The Fundraiser Concert, which Derek organised, ran, and performed in, also featured a variety of musical acts including acoustic instrumentalists and musical theatre and jazz soloists. The headlining act was the cast of 'Shout' the musical.

Derek says the concert was an overwhelming success, which raised $1700. The funds will go toward building the outdoor area for Matthew and his family.

"Organising a fundraising concert is not something that I would have usually done. It was a huge undertaking and I was definitely out of my comfort zone most of the time. But I guess that was the whole point of the unit, to be pushed to use your skills in new ways."


Succeeding as a creative business: Jaime Gibson*

 Jaime Gibson

Jaime Gibson, 33, a graduate, is also the saxophonist and music director of the Sydney band, The Smooth Groove, which ranges between five to eight performers. He attributes much of the band's success to Google AdWords. When he started the band seven years ago, Gibson said he marketed it the old-fashioned way.

"In the past, we used to put together promotional DVDs so that might have cost about $15 each to create," says Gibson. "Then I would take them to businesses and meet with the people who might be in charge of putting together functions or parties. After that, it came down to how well I could communicate and get along with them. And, hopefully, they bought into what I was saying."

It was a time-consuming process. But Gibson thought there had to be a better way. So, after about six months, he decided to go online.

"I put a website together and began using Google AdWords," he says. "We got our first booking through Google AdWords after a week. The band took off as soon as we went online. Ninety-five per cent of our work was through AdWords and even now we get three or four gigs a week."

Gibson and his business partner manage the band's AdWords campaign themselves and spend about $500 a month.

"We check in during the month to see what our click-throughs are like and our cost per click is really quite small," says Gibson. "For us to bring in a client costs us about $4."

AdWords has also enabled Gibson to respond quickly to changes in music tastes in the market. "A few years ago, we noticed that people were getting into (chill out CD series) Cafe del Mar," he says. "So we go with the flow of what the market wants and we used key words like 'Cafe del Mar dinner music'.

"We can track what people are searching for and whether that eventually translates into a booking. At the start, we had about 30 different keywords in our ad campaigns. And about every six months our competitors would catch on and pay a bit more for those words, so we'd drop down in listings. But we check our stats every month and, when necessary, we pay extra to make sure we're back up the top again."

*(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)(opens in a new window)


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