Excelsia BLOG

Mikaela Wu – How studies stretched this budding conductor’s wings

After discovering Excelsia College through homeschooling connections and attending an open day in 2015, Mikaela Wu decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Music. It also helped that theology was embedded in the music course as she was wanting to increase both her musical and biblical knowledge.


Fast forward nearly seven years and Mikaela graduated from Excelsia with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in music. After finishing her Bachelor of Music in flute in 2018 and working for a year and a half, she was encouraged by staff at Excelsia to do a master’s. ‘I’d had enough of spending time on one instrument (classical flute) and practising on my own. When I found out I could do my Master of Music, majoring in conducting, and hang out with people all the time, I decided to start my studies,’ says Mikaela.


The budding conductor enjoyed getting to know her lecturers on a more personal level due to the smaller class sizes. This in turn allowed her to be involved in musical events outside the College. ‘I played in many different ensembles with a variety of instruments including Strathfield Symphony Orchestra under the instruction of Dr Sada Muramatsu.’


Whilst Mikaela focused on classical flute in the Bachelor of Music course, she learned far more than just the skills for a career playing that instrument. ‘I learned music production and live audio skills, how to conduct and how to compose in other styles. I also stage managed and crewed for shows and even acted in a musical!’ Despite some of the difficulties learning these skills at the time, Mikaela is thankful that she persevered and for the opportunities and connections she made at Excelsia. ‘I’m currently writing a musical with a friend from the drama department at Excelsia and conducting and managing various choral and orchestra concerts. I am glad that I didn’t get stuck with a niche skill set, where I could only perform flute. In terms of extending my biblical knowledge, the classes at Excelsia led me to take some subjects at Bible college to continue that learning journey.’


A key highlight for Mikaela was her time in choir. ‘As an instrumentalist, it was great to have a chance to regularly work on singing and in a class with all the year groups together. It also definitely made a difference to my aural skills in terms of harmony,’ she explains. The musician is also thankful for the space offered to be creative and the collaborative time spent working on music showcases with other students. ‘There was a variety of ideas and we enjoyed making music together and trying different styles.’ Mikaela appreciated the adaptability of the showcases which continually morphed to suit the current cohort of students. ‘This flexibility allows students to better display their skill sets’.


Since finishing her Master of Music, Mikaela works with Wollongong Conservatorium Community Orchestra and Bankstown City Choir. Within these groups, Mikaela has enjoyed helping members to improve their musical skills, gain confidence, and put on concerts. On top of this, she teaches choir at a homeschool creative arts group and tutors students privately at home and in schools. She has also started playing violin and practises and performs with Excelsia Chamber Orchestra on Thursday nights! Mikaela is thankful to Excelsia for helping to improve her musicianship. ‘On top of improving my conducting, I learned more about music pedagogy throughout my master’s course which has affected the way I teach both ensembles and private lessons,’ she explains.


If you want to explore a variety of instruments, have the opportunity to join different musical groups and orchestras and gain a variety of skills to set you up for a career in music, why not explore Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Music or Master of Music?

Excelsia College | Mikaela Wu - How studies stretched this budding conductor’s wings