Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram
Link to our TikTok

Navigating The Labyrinth That Is The Music Industry: Where To Start & How To Succeed

20 July 2023 | 11:21 am | Ellie Robinson

If you’re determined to be the next big thing in the Australian music industry, you’ll need to know what you’re doing. SAE can put you on the right track with their newly overhauled music courses – here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Anna Lunoe

Anna Lunoe (Source: Supplied)

More Anna Lunoe More Anna Lunoe

Education makes the world go ‘round. It’s through learning, adapting and refining our skills that we’re able to evolve as people, in virtually every aspect of our lives. Especially so is this true in our creative endeavours – nobody’s first song is a chart-topping hit, nor is anyone’s first gig worth packing out a stadium. All of the world’s greatest artists started somewhere, and without their consistent, undying drive to learn, learn and learn some more, they wouldn’t be anywhere close to their pedestals.

But as a budding musician, the industry can be a terrifying labyrinth. Where do you start? How do you take those crucial first steps to honing your skills, developing your artistry, and ultimately making a name for yourself?

That’s where the SAE Creative Media Institute comes in. SAE is preparing the future of the music industry with their newly overhauled Associate Degree and Bachelor Of Music courses, fusing a unique creative energy into pivotal teachings of the business and technical sides of the modern music industry. The aim is to build a new generation of leaders to make the Australian music scene stronger than it’s ever been, setting them up to make incredible music and illustrious careers.

“The beauty of this degree,” says David Turner (SAE’s Music Course Leader and producer), “is [that] regardless of whether a student has just left high school or has worked in the industry for the past 10 years, it’s tailored to their career aspirations. The fact that it is fast-tracked over two years as well, means students can get into the industry sooner. We’ve spent a long time consulting industry professionals, so students can expect a music course that’s highly relevant, that equips them with sought-after skills, and provides them with inspiring work placement opportunities through our industry partners.”

SAE’s music courses are designed to guide students in building the essential skills needed to launch successful careers in the modern-day music industry. Studying at any one of SAE’s six campuses around Australia, you’ll learn theoretical knowledge and key industry practices, which you’ll have opportunities to get hands-on and apply at state-of-the-art recording studios with cutting-edge equipment. You’ll become proficient in all the most important areas of music creation and industry navigation, from songwriting and composition to recording techniques, electronic music and studio music production, right to stagecraft and music business/industry know-how.

SAE now offers students more flexibility than ever when it comes to their degrees: you can enrol in a broad-based music degree or a music degree with a specific specialisation, and you’ll have the freedom to explore a new set of elective offerings. No matter what you choose to study, though, you’ll be able to take advantage of a blended learning structure (comprising a mix of learning on-campus and online experience), studio-based practical learning/training with the best modern equipment on the market, opportunities to collaborate on projects with likeminded people, and direct industry mentorship and experience.

Plug into the latest music with our FREE weekly newsletter

At the forefront of the relaunch for SAE’s music courses, is the one and only Anna Lunoe, who has spent more than a decade making a name for herself as one of the brightest stars in electronic music. Last July saw Lunoe drop the mind-melting Saturday Love EP, a five-track journey down the club music rabbithole that shines with some of the genre’s most inventive sounds and dynamic production. Her sprawling catalogue is tangible proof of the power of education, and because of that, Lunoe says she’s “stoked to be involved with the launch of SAE's new Bachelor of Music degree, while supporting the future of music”.

She added: “Creating a career around your passion for music is an incredible journey, and learning skills from people who have been there and done it allows you to own your path, while building the career you want.”

SAE’s music courses are flexible, allowing students to choose a mix of electives from different areas, or hone in on a chosen area of interest with a selection of specialised electives in one of four pathways. Here’s the official breakdown on what those are:

Songwriting and Music Production

For emerging songwriters, music producers and composers. Students will further specialise in songwriting and composition for screen media (films or television) and video games, develop scoring and notation skills and learn advanced studio production techniques, including mixing and mastering.

Electronic Music Production

Interested in refining your electronic music production skills? From various EDM genres, to hip-hop and electronic pop music, gain a deeper understanding of digital mixing, mastering and sound design, sampling, synthesis and programming and various contexts for music making including live applications.

Music Industry and Business

This one is for students interested in the business side of the industry. From artist and event management, to music exports, legal frameworks and entrepreneurship. Develop a deeper understanding of the dynamic and ever-changing music industry and drive the success of your own business ideas along with key creative collaborators.

Creative Musicianship

Dream of being a working musician? This specialisation is for students interested in pursuing performance as a career. Defining your creative identity and brand, developing stagecraft and further exploring collaborative music making through innovation and improvisation. You’ll also get to explore current and emerging modes of music making through various instruments and technologies.

The Eora/Sydney-native Lunoe is uniquely positioned to engage with all four of these pathways. She grew up surrounded by all kinds of diverse sounds, and notes that songwriting came as “a natural progression” for her. “Songwriting started everything. Turning a feeling or idea into a tangible piece of music was a revelation. ”

Once she learned how to write a song, the next step was bringing it to life. Electronic music offered her the outlet she’d always been looking for, assuring us that as soon as she discovered dance music, it “changed [her] world”. She explains “it allowed me to express myself freely, without limiting my creativity. Diving into music history, adding meaning to different sounds. Understanding the process of mixing, sound design and mastering. Experimenting with sampling and live programming, it’s a journey that has taken me all over the world.”

Across her journey thus far, Lunoe has explored many corners of the music industry, both at home and abroad. Her first release – the 2012 EP Anna Lunoe & Friends – arrived on Future Classic, and she’s since had releases land on such genre-defining labels as Ultra Records, OWSLA and Nest (both imprints founded by Skrillex), Mad Decent (founded by Diplo) and NLV Records (founded by fellow Australian trailblazer Nina Las Vegas). She’s also taken to stages at festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza, and in 2016, she became the first woman to perform solo on the mainstage at EDC Las Vegas.

On top of all that, Lunoe launched her HYPERHOUSE brand in 2016, kickstarted the danceXL show on Apple Music Radio in 2019, and started her podcast Create/Destroy in 2021… All while navigating the ups and downs of motherhood.

Lunoe says of her journey through the music industry: “Becoming an artist, you start to see how big the industry really is. There are so many moving parts and people that make the industry what it is. Having an insight into that world is super helpful when starting out. Gaining those skills allows you to really own your journey And take a hold of your own business, and build it the way you want it.”

Bringing it all together is Creative Musicianship, an art-form that Lunoe says has guided so many of her fondest memories. “I remember the first festival set I walked out to play,” she says. “It was so different from my early club gigs. Performing in front of people is such a wild feeling. Sometimes you’re collaborating, sometimes you’re out there on your own. You find ways to use music to excite people. It’s a show, a mixture of innovation and improvisation. It can really take you to another place.”

So much of SAE’s offerings are enticing, but perhaps the most lucrative part of their approach to education is how tailored their courses are to ensuring students are successful in their studies. Classrooms are small and student-focussed, steered by mentors and lecturers with more than just knowledge – everyone teaching you will be someone who’s gotten their hands dirty in the industry, delivering their personal experience straight from the source. Students are given the unique opportunity to embrace a rigorous and engaging learning experience that is focused on real-world problem-solving.

To that end, SAE’s music courses are practical right from the get-go. The learning experience is immersive, focussed on students getting hands-on experience and building a portfolio of work as their studies progress. Students will be given access to industry-leading music equipment and software, and lessons will be centred largely on developing original projects. They’ll get direct experience using programs like Logic and AVID Pro Tools, and get your hands moving on equipment from revered companies like Neve and Roland.

In an official statement, Matthew Evans (Chief Operating Officer at Navitas, SAE’s parent company, and a former music industry executive at EMI Music, Secret Sounds and beyond) noted, “It’s been well reported that there’s a major skills shortage in the music industry. The sector is rapidly evolving, which is why we’ve recognised a need for graduates to possess an array of different skills – this course supports that. With the learnings and skills they’ve developed, graduates will be more versatile to any potential changes in the market, and be industry ready from day one.” 

“This degree will produce graduates who are agile in response to current trends in the music industry,” says Dr. Luke McMillan, General Manager at SAE Australasia. “To maximise their job opportunities, professionals now need an array of skills - industry employers are not only looking for the practical skills, but the people skills as well, which is what this course offers.”

SAE offers music courses to students in Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. You’ll be able to choose how you study – over six, eight or nine trimesters, with an additional part-time option being offered – and fee help is available. The Institute is currently accepting applications for enrolment ahead of the September 2023 semester start: you can head here for all the complete course and unit descriptions, here to apply for a course, and here for info on campus tours.

This article was presented with SAE Creative Media Institute.