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Learning a little more about the Australian Institute of Music

Like many industries, music education has undergone a number of changes over the past few years. Changing technologies, course delivery methods and content has prompted institutions to refocus their offerings to remain adaptable and cater to a broader demographic of potential students. Originating in Sydney, The Australian Institute of Music (AIM) has emerged as one of the country’s leading independent education providers. Recently their Melbourne Campus has opened in the bustling CBD, providing modern facilities in a central location. Ahead of their Melbourne Campus open day on Saturday August 13, Beat spoke with Senior Coordinator Daryl McKenzie and Operational Coordinator Glenn Cannon.

How long has AIM been running?
Sydney originally started as a guitar school in 1968 and changed names a couple of times until what it is today, while Melbourne has been up and running for just over two years.
What courses are on offer?
We offer Diploma and Bachelor courses in both Contemporary Performance and in Composition, a Bachelor in Business Entertainment Management, a Diploma in Audio Engineering and Masters Degrees and Graduate Certificates in both Composition and Performance.
 
Do entrance requirements vary?
Yes, we cater for a range of students. In terms of Bachelor courses for students coming straight out of school, they need a pass in VCE and then it’s based on an audition. Mature aged students (21 and over) are based solely on audition. These auditions involve meeting a performance standard and a theory standard. Entry into the Diploma courses are slightly different in that they are audition and require a performance standard only.
As a relatively new institution how does AIM differ to other traditional Music Education providers?
Two of our main strengths are the quality and diversity of our teaching staff. It’s an industry based course so we’re aiming to give students a really well-rounded education to prepare them for the music industry. In terms of logistics, a lot of people find our location attractive being right in the middle of the CBD on King St. We’re only one block from Southern Cross Station and we have students coming from places such as Bendigo, Mt Macedon and Geelong. Despite that seeming some distance, it’s only a single train trip in. In terms of our Sydney campus, students do have the option to transfer between the two. Both campuses run the same course program and we’ve had students move between both and enjoyed broadening their experience by studying in two different cities.
 
Education seems to be more flexible with a focus on catering to student needs these days?
Absolutely. We have flexible study options – students can take one unit per trimester if that’s all they can manage, right up to full time study loads. With our facilities being modern, centrally located and well equipped, we help with this as much as possible.
 
I understand you’ve had acts such as Snarky Puppy, Spyro Gyra in for workshops recently – is this a common occurrence?
We regularly have events a couple of times a trimester, in both Sydney and Melbourne. We often have artists at both campuses for workshops and performances in a range of styles and genres.
 
What opportunities do students have on completion of a course at AIM?
We’re just about to complete our first Melbourne Graduation ceremony this week. Plenty of students have already found employment. One student is heading overseas on a performance contract, another has been doing assistant Musical Direction work, others have gone onto further study such as Graduate study or areas like Music Therapy. Plenty of musicians have taken up work in professional bands and playing settings and obviously with Sydney – having some further history than Melbourne – there have been students going on to work internationally and on TV. Most of our graduates from the Business Entertainment Management course have already found placements working in their field of expertise, which is a great success for us.
 
Do you think it’s important for AIM to foster the Australian Music scene?Absolutely. We have professional musicians performing on campus where the students can interact with them. All the staff are professionals in their own right and students network with them and get out to see them at gigs. It’s a very interactive scene that we’ve got going.

The Australian Institute of Music will be hold their Melbourne open days on Saturday August 6. For more information head to www.aim.edu.au.