Level-up your performance with practice – a key lesson for musician and scholarship student

Posted: Sun, 30th September 2018 | Written by: The Team at Western Chances

For Johnsen Cummings, music is a passion that he hopes will lead to his dream career. Realising early on that the rewards can often be more personal than profitable, he enjoys working on his performance skills with his band “Hollow December"

Level-up your performance with practice – a key lesson for musician and scholarship student

Keen to pursue a career in the music industry, John is currently studying Sound Production and Audio Engineering at RMIT. John developed his love of music at Williamstown High School where he was a member of the senior stage band, the concert band and was elected school Music Captain. In VCE he studied Music Performance, Psychology, Chemistry, English Language, Maths Methods  and completed a Cert 3 in Music Industry Technical Production.

John received his first Western Chances scholarship when he was in Year 12 in 2017 when he was nominated by his teacher for academic excellence and musical talent. John was a member of the SEALP class, played multiple instruments and was a member of the band for school musicals . He was awarded scholarship funds to help pay for MYKI and buy textbooks. John was successful in having his scholarship renewed in 2018 and received funding to buy music system software and a tertiary MYKI.
Support from the scholarship has enabled John to commute to and from school and university classes.

“Western Chances helps me out mostly with my yearly Myki which is super helpful as now I no longer need to worry about the costs associated with going to and from uni every day”

Together with fellow student, Luca Martin, John performs in a band called “Hollow December”, a music collaboration that began in school.

“Luca and I first met early on in high school, but we didn’t really know each other until we ended up in the same year 11 music class. It was around that time that Luca had started to teach himself some basic drum beats and coincidentally I was looking for a drummer to join the band (drummers were quite rare at our school). We started jamming and he was quite good (despite only playing drums for 6 months at the time), so we asked him to join the band and then he did!”

Being in a band has taught John a number of valuable lessons. One of the key things revealed through performing in public, is that effort matters. To achieve a quality outcome, it’s important to put the work in.

“It’s definitely noticeable when we don’t get to practice before a gig compared to when we do, and similarly if we can practice a stupid amount before a show it really lifts up the standard of the performance and it’s much more enjoyable for everyone involved.”

Another important lesson has been learning the value of communication and networking. Building a professional network and maintaining regular contact with industry peers will certainly increase opportunities in the music industry as a whole.

After studying, John is keen to follow a music-related career.

“I’m studying audio, so obviously a profession as a sound engineer would be awesome, but I don’t mind too much as long as it’s got something to do with music.”

John has some advice for other young people who might be interested in pursuing a career in music:

“I’d say go for it! That being said, it is definitely an industry that you pursue for how rewarding the work is and not necessarily how much money you make out of it, so you need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.”

And John’s big dream for the future?

“I’d love to be able to make a career out of playing music with my band. Nothing crazy like arena shows, but making music for a living would be awesome!”

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