Five years on…

I left Linuwel in 2013, which ended one of the best experiences of my life. From Linuwel I went on to pursue year 11 and 12 at Saint Mary’s in Maitland with the hopes of graduating and studying History and Archaeology at University, which had been my plan since year 7 at Linuwel. However, year 11 wasn’t what I expected, not coping with the stress of higher study led me to look for alternate entries into university. This is when I started studying a certificate IV in digital media at Hunter Street Tafe in Newcastle. After finishing my certificate IV, I decided to move into a diploma in 3D animation and Digital Effects, knowing a diploma would serve as an equivalent to the HSC. I had an interest in animation and thought that if I didn’t continue with archaeology this was the avenue I’d go down career wise. It was during this year that I started an important new hobby, which slowly changed my long-term goals; I began playing piano. I started with an interest in playing songs from all my favourite movies and games. After I finished my diploma I realised technology didn’t really agree with me as all my computers and devices required for 3D animation kept malfunctioning in various ways. So I lost interest. But it wasn’t for nothing because now that I had a diploma, University felt closer than ever. But in 2016 my interest in archaeology took a major turn.

I had a gap-year in 2016 and went backpacking across Europe with my brother for 3 months. This was an amazing experience I would highly recommend for anyone thinking of taking a gap-year. But with all my interests in history, the ancient history capital of the world didn’t inspire me that much. You would’ve thought that Europe’s rich history would have made me super excited to study archaeology. I’m not saying that the Roman Colosseum wasn’t amazing and I still have a deep interest in history, but what got me more excited was seeing a lone piano in a train station in France or seeing amazing 5 storey music stores in Switzerland. At the time I was reading a book, where the main character plays a Lute (A 16th century “guitar-like” instrument). You’ll find a lot of my decisions are influenced by books or other people rather than my own thinking. I found a lute in England (which I wanted to blow our travel budget and buy) and that was the tipping point and I decided to pursue music instead of Archaeology.

Upon returning home from Europe I started my preparation for university with first deciding to focus on music composition as a major. Since I did not start playing piano until I was 17, a concert performance career wasn’t within my reach. Also, music composition appealed to me more because I liked to create new things; I’ve always been into painting and poetry, so composition was obvious to me. I studied like mad trying to catch up to students who had been learning music since childhood, teaching myself music theory and listening to more classical music/art music.

In December 2016 I started a job down in Sydney at the International Convention Centre, so a move to Sydney was imminent. That’s when I got accepted to study Music and Sound Design at UTS (The University of Technology, Sydney) which I studied throughout 2017 until I realised it was mainly going to focus on the popular music and audio engineering/recording side of the music industry. So in August that year, I got some music notation software on my computer and in the space of a stressful month I wrote my very first three works for acoustic instruments. I did it in one month because the deadline for Sydney Conservatorium Portfolio’s was September 1st. In September I was told I was successful and would be studying music composition in 2018, which was super exciting as I felt I’d finally made it to where I tried so hard to be.

So now I’m halfway through my first year of Composition and can happily say it’s 100% more relevant to what I want my career outcome to be and being a much smaller faculty then UTS, I know almost my entire cohort. Last semester I had my first public concert at the conservatorium where I had a piece played by real people and instruments. I’ve got a recording of that piece linked below for anyone interested in hearing it. This semester is already busy with two concerts coming up in October and November, which I’m stilling actively writing for. My hope when I finish is to be writing music that can be enjoyed and contemplated by people of all backgrounds, but the main reason is to enjoy myself and be immersed in my art.

My first few years post- Linuwel have been active with finding my personal identity, which I feel like I’m finally on the right path toward. I’m certain that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for everyone at Linuwel who supported my education and most importantly, my creativity.

Zachary Crawford

Link to major work