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Gold Coast music bubble set to expand in 2021


Media team
9 November 2020
woman playing guitar
Kate Stroud

As the Gold Coast’s only university to offer a music degree, Southern Cross University has made a seismic impact since launching its music course in partnership with Coomera TAFE one year ago.

In its first year, more than 40 students enrolled to study music at the Coomera Creative Campus location, and already more than 35 have applied to study in 2021, with the audition process set to begin this month.

Even during COVID-restrictions and lockdown, the University – a leader in the online education space – quickly pivoted to delivering its comprehensive music degree online, with many students saying it was a lifeline for them to continue their creative collaboration and learning.

From mid-year students were able to return to recording studios and rehearsal rooms on campus, with COVID-safe protocols in place, eager to lay down the tracks they’d been working on during the kaleidoscope year of 2020. Now with the travel bubble expanded to include Lismore in Northern NSW, students and staff from Southern Cross University at Lismore and the Gold Coast’s Coomera and main Coolangatta campuses can again travel to collaborate, create, teach and perform.

For Southern Cross University Bachelor of Contemporary Music graduate Kate Stroud – who opened and managed the immensely popular Dusty Attic Music Lounge in the Northern Rivers – 2020 has presented new opportunities.

Kate has partnered with Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA), managing events and coordinating artists, to breathe life back into the Northern Rivers live music and performing arts scene.

She recently presented the STROUD X NORPA Studio Sessions with Ash Grunwald, Emily Lubitz, Jex Lopez and Harry James Angus a few of the headliners, and this month NORPA is presenting ‘Great Southern Nights’ a series of performances and tour dates from artists such as Tim Freedman, Budjerah, and No Frills Twins. Last week the line-up included stellar emerging artists from Southern Cross University’s contemporary music program including Maya Holstegge, Mykaela Baillie, Joe Conroy and Georgia Cummins.

“It feels so good to be presenting real live music again, and bringing people together to celebrate our talented music makers, performers and community,” Kate said.

Bachelor of Contemporary Music course coordinator Dr Matt Hill – who specialises in collaborative music making processes – said his area of expertise had expanded in the past eight months.

“For the first time we were forced to run classes and meaningful collaborations and rehearsals over Zoom, Facetime and Collaborate Ultra in Blackboard, to facilitate everything from large ensembles and small group instrument lessons, to lessons in composition and sound production, as well as live performances – and our students rose to the challenge,” he said.

“We currently have applications open for those musicians, songwriters and aspiring producers who want to study the degree in 2021 at our Coomera and Lismore campuses, with auditions and interviews to be held this November and December. Some may also be held in February based on demand.”

Southern Cross University’s internationally renowned contemporary music degree was the first of its kind to be offered in Australia when it launched in 1986 – back when the University was known as the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education.

The course is designed and delivered by current industry professionals, with Southern Cross University music graduates now making waves across the globe – from our favourite band of the moment WHARVES hailing from Lennox Head, and singer-songwriter BUOY, to musical director of ‘The Voice’ Scott Aplin, award-winning producer Matt Fell, Matt Smith of Thirsty Merc, and US country music number-one hit songwriter Phil Barton to name a few.

For more information about studying the Bachelor of Contemporary Music or studying creative arts in 2021 visit