Music students shine in virtual live performance exams

Published 17 July 2020
Sophie Ozard contemporary music student vocallist Sophie Ozard during the music performance exams.

When music performance exams loomed last month Southern Cross University students had to get creative to deliver their live sets, virtually.

Instead of ready-access to an on-campus student ensemble band, third year Contemporary Music student Sophie Ozard arranged and laid down her own backing vocal tracks and piano loops for a 40-minute set.

“I played guitar to accompany myself for about half of the performance. The situation pushed me to do more in terms of production. Piano is not an instrument I usually play so that was hard but it was a good challenge,” said Sophie.

“It’s always weird watching yourself on video, up close. It was different to most other exams I’ve done yet I’m happy with the final result.”

Enjoy a selection of the Contemporary Music exam performances, including Sophie's:


Sophie has been a regular on the Northern Rivers gig scene for the past couple of years. She plans to return to Melbourne to pursue music therapy when she graduates.

“I found doing music online in Session 1 hard actually. Music creation is about coming together for collaboration, jamming, arranging and playing to an audience. The student ensemble is a big part of it and the part that everyone likes doing.”

Senior music lecturer Dr Leigh Carriage acknowledged the challenges students faced because of the University’s COVID-19 lockdown.

“It was so uplifting to witness so many students surrounded by so much uncertainly and under less than favourable circumstances, yet rising to the occasion playing and singing with so such passion and commitment,” Dr Carriage said.

Dr Carriage also said the additional skills and experience the music students gained was invaluable.

“The situation meant developing technical skills like creating backing tracks or learning to set-up for a video shoot. Self-sufficiency is essential within the portfolio of musicians. Students now know how to create good quality footage to add to their own social accounts.”

Dr Carriage also credited the enormous effort of all involved.

“For practice-based creatives the changes brought about by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions required music staff and students alike to dig deep and respond immediately with creative innovations and flexible online delivery.

“Our Contemporary Music course co-ordinator Dr Matt Hill and lecturer Dave Sanders were keystones of much innovation and problem-solving, and offered incredible stewardship during this time.”

Media contact: Sharlene King 0429 661 349