Thomas Waller

Music Scholar

2019

My overarching goal is to audition for a Master of Music course and gain further experience in the performance industry. Percussion is multi-faceted and has provided me with the opportunity to play a variety of different instruments and styles of music, such as jazz drumset, timpani, orchestral and solo percussion. However, I’m looking to forge a career as a soloist and chamber musician, specialising in marimba, and am therefore searching for a teacher who has expertise in this unique area.  

Compared to other orchestral instruments, which have hundreds of years of musical tradition and extensive repertoire, the marimba has only started to hold a serious presence in the classical music scene since the 1960s. As a result, the musical and technical applications of the instrument are still developing and there is only a small selection performance repertoire. The ever-increasing standard of musicianship will inevitably push the use of marimba in new directions, and my passion for the instrument has led me to feel a sense of responsibility to be a part of this process. Through my studies, I hope to test the limitations of the instrument and promote the expressiveness of the marimba.  

This trip is pivotal for establishing connections that will lead to postgraduate study and performance opportunities that are not available in Australia. Furthermore, gaining an understanding of how these players have navigated their careers will provide an insight into how I may be able to push musical boundaries in future.  

Growing up in a small regional town, it became very apparent to me early on that I could only go so far before I would have to seek out my own opportunities. In 2015, I moved 7.5 hours away from home to study in Sydney and gain access to better music resources. This experience taught me a lot about myself and I learnt a lot of things the hard way, but without a doubt these challenges have taught me patience, perseverance and commitment. Most importantly, moving to Sydney opened my eyes to the competitive level which was demanded of me if I wished to be a successful musician.  

Long term, I hope to have a fruitful career as a freelance and self-directed musician. I hope to collaborate with other distinguished artists to create interesting and inspiring programs that will engage the public with percussion in new and accessible ways. Additionally, having a Masters level qualification will allow me to teach at tertiary institutions as well as being heavily involved in music programs at local schools.  

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