Karen Anson graduated from Excelsia College with a Master of Music in 2019, with an interest in low flutes (flutes that play below the range of the standard orchestral C flute). For Karen, wanting to finish her degree at a smaller campus in person drew her to Excelsia, an environment that she describes as ‘welcoming, supportive and community minded’.
‘I felt very welcomed from the start by the other students from the music department and staff. I enjoyed being a part of the practical shows and concert practice (cp’s) and as a master’s student I felt welcomed and happy to be the first to present a practice-led research thesis of Australian low flute repertoire,’ explains Karen. For nearly 22 years Karen has been part of concert bands, first joining only six months after starting flute lessons! She performed with South Pacific Concert Band for over seven years and for the past two years has played with Camden Community band.
Karen was working for the Department of Education as a primary school teacher when she first commenced her studies at Excelsia College. She had experience working as a conductor and tutor of woodwind and brass instruments within the public school system, but she was striving towards a lifelong goal. ‘The most motivation I had throughout the degree was the fact that I was completing a lifelong goal of becoming a music teacher. Some mantras I lived by throughout my studies are “never give up” and “follow your dreams” and I still carry these mantras with me to this day.’
Excelsia helped open doors for Karen to work within new school contexts. ‘Now, I teach a school wind band program through the Amadeus Music instrumental program within the Sydney Catholic Schools system, something I hadn’t done previously.’
One of Karen’s highlights during her time at Excelsia from 2017 to 2019 was presenting and premiering two new Australian low flute pieces to the College community as part of her thesis, one of which has now been published through Middle C Music company, who publish music scores. She performed this piece on flute (not alto flute) for the Band Association of New South Wales’ state solo contest on 25 June this year, in the open flute and piccolo section and was awarded first place!
She also premiered an alto flute piece for her last recital at Excelsia. ‘Taking part in showcase nights as a master’s student alongside the undergraduate students is up there as one of my favourite times at the College,’ says Karen. ‘I had a wonderful small support group of friends and my fabulous flute teacher who totally believed in my abilities even when I didn’t and never let me settle for second best or give up.’
If you have a passion for music like Karen and want to study an instrument or specialise in a particular area of music, why not explore where Excelsia College’s Master of Music can take you? With passionate staff and leading industry professionals to learn from, Excelsia College can be the place that will extend you.