Music, Mayhem, and Change

Music, Mayhem and Change was the inaugural student led symposium held at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University (QCGU). The theme was inspired by the 50th anniversary of The Beatles touring Australia. When we designed the theme, we considered what The Beatles and this tour represented for music. That one group could have such a widespread effect that is still felt 50 years on made us pause to consider other changes, big and small, that impact on music and how these changes have impacted on society. And so the concept for Music, Mayhem, and Change was born.

The symposium attracted more than 40 papers from around the world. These were organised around five streams: music and society, pedagogy, performance, music technology, and music and health. Catering was provided by GUPSA, who also generously sponsored the event.

Day 1: Dr Samantha Bennett
Day 1: Dr Samantha Bennett

The symposium attracted two dynamic keynote speakers. Day one saw Dr Samantha Bennett, a sound recordist and academic from London, UK and current senior lecturer in the School of Music at ANU. Dr Bennent presented ‘Production Mayhem: Tech Processual Unorthodoxies in Popular Music Recording’. Sam fascinated us with tales of sonic innovators who challenge sound recording orthodoxies, and push boundaries with maverick methodologies. Day one rounded out with our scrumptious conference dinner at Southbank restaurant, Olé.

Dr Mary Broughton was our keynote speaker on day 2. Mary is the current Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Creative Collaboratorium at the School of Music, University of Queensland. Her research focusses on the role of movement and gesture in music performance communication. Mary’s presentation ‘Bodily mediated processes in generating, communicating, and understanding western music performance’ captivated the delegates with a discussion about how the body is intimately linked to our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Drs Broughton, Bennett, Taylor, and Spearritt at the announcing of the MSA Gordon Spearritt prize winner

Day 2 concluded with an expert panel discussing future directions in music research. Dr Brydie Bartleet led the panel with Dr Samantha Bennett, Dr Mary Broughton, Dr Dan Bendrups, and Prof Scott Harrison. This was followed by the presentation of the Gordon Spearritt Prize sponsored by the Musicological Society of Australia, awarded to Christine Carroll for her paper Canon meets Kimbra: Classical and popular music converge in the senior secondary classroom. Special mentions were also given to QCGU students Leah Coutts and Graham Ashton.

Bringing the symposium to a close, delegates were invited to a cocktail party in the foyer, which was sponsored by GUPSA. ‘PORTAL for massed keyboards’ by Luke Jaaniste was an impressive installation of forty keyboards that had been in place throughout the day and he was joined by the Conservatorium’s Ba-Da-Boom percussion ensemble to serenade us as we said our farewells.

Delegates relax to the PORTAL installation and the Ba Da Boom Ensemble
Delegates relax to the PORTAL installation and the Ba Da Boom Ensemble

The symposium proceedings will be published by Griffith University ePress. This is an online publication that will feature both the written papers and video and audio recordings of the performance presentations.

We are looking forward to more Music, Mayhem and Change in 2015. Thanks to the QCRC for their invaluable support throughout, to Prof Scott Harrison, Dr Dan Bendrups, Prof Huib Schippers, Dr Brydie Bartleet, Prof Vanessa Tomlinson and the Ba Da Boom Ensemble, and to Dr Jodie Taylor for her vision. Thanks also to our tireless and enthusiastic committee. Special thanks to our keynote speakers, Dr Mary Broughton and Dr Samantha Bennett, and to all of our presenters and many thanks to GUPSA for their ongoing support, and for ensuring the delegates were all well fed and refreshed throughout by providing the catering and sponsoring the cocktail party.

Joanne Ruksenas
PhD Candidate QCGU and GSM