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Face the Music 2013 - Melbourne Arts Centre

Face the Music is a music industry conference held in Melbourne each year. In 2013 it was held at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November. The conference program features presentations, discussions, networking, music-making workshops, and tips and tools for music careers.

I just happened to be headed for Melbourne and the window of opportunity was there to attend the conference. What was being delivered ticked my boxes and so I registered and applied for some of the more personalised workshops that were available. On the day I managed to get into a number of workshop sessions which were small group by appointment:

Arranging Strings for Your Music With Georgia Fields who took us through her approach to string arranging for both her own music and other local artists. The session was very informative drawing forth information about: simple voicings, voice leading, adding colour, adding in moving parts, swapping string parts, staggered entries, setting levels of a build. Using Sebelius Georgia demonstrated examples illustrating her aproach.

Incorporating Digital Elements Into Your Live Performance Setup by Matt Ridgway and Tim Shiel predominantly focused on the techniques and features of Ableton for preprogramming samples and instigating their inclusion in live performance. Tim Shiel provided information about the technology integrated into Gotye live on tour performance as a member of the band and the means to mix backing vocal tracks with live tracks to get their sound. Launch pads were used with button triggers for each song.

Songwriter's Campfire provided by Push Songs and APRA | AMCOS provided an oportunity for songwriters to receive insightful feedback from accomplished artists like Jeff Lang, Suzannah Espie, Van Walker, Emma Russack and Charles Jenkins. Feedback provided to individual songwriters was beneficial in having one's own song reviewed and listening to other songwriters have their songs reviewed. The break down into small groups enabled us to have two songs reviewed. I gained feedback on two of my songs. Jeff Lang provided me with constructive comments for, "Cry Baby Cry" and Charles Jenkins provided me with constructive feedback for my song, "Still".

APRA |AMCOS Songwriting Masterclass with Courtney Barnett One of ten participants in this group an opportunity was provided to discuss the intricies of songwriting and arranging first hand with Courtney who is now an established artist with her own label Milk! Records. In a loose format, participants got to ask direct questions to delve into finding our about Courtney's work processes.

Other presentations and discussions that I attended over the two days included:

Afternoon Tea with Renee Geyer: Spotlight on the Age Music Victoria Awards 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee. Interviewed by Craig Mathieson Renee revealed how she felt about where she was at in the context of the music industry. A striking part of her conversation was when she mentioned how 'they' are interested in you when you are just starting out and 'they' are interested in you when you are no longer here and they celebrate your music when you've gone but 'they' are not interested in the fact that you are just keeping on doing your music. Participants asked questions diretly to Renee in the last segment of the session.

Moving Pictures - Music Videos In this session, panelist Darcy Pendergast, Natasha Gadd, Samuel Cromack, Stephen Green and Tyson Koh - directors, musicians and industry experts discuss combining a great song with great visuals and revealed selection film clips of recent times.

In Conversation with Michael and Matt Gudinski: A Spotlight on the Mushroom Group An in depth interview with this father and son team - two industry leaders whocame together to reflect on the company's history and talk of their vision for the future as well as the state of music at home and abroard.

Music Listenting Panel - Through a submission box participants had the opportunity to have anonymous feedback on a single song submitted from panelists including - Dan Zilber(General Manager of Music, FBi), Dom Alessio (Presenter Home and Hosed, triple j), Jess Beston (Directory & Founder, Tiny Monster), Jimi Maroudas (Producer), Johann Pohniah (Director, I OH YOU), Tom Larkin (Producer/Musician/Artist Manager) With a 45 second snippet played from those songs selected, panelists gave their feedback on possible radio play, syncing, recording quality, originality and song styling. The panel also provided examples of music already connecting with audiences and reasons why.

Keynote Address: Jamie Farkas, VICE Music (USA) Being A Global Artist In a time of unprecedented access to music, Jamie spoke about how to shape a global career as a band pointing out that it is possible to be done without international touring. She indicated that bands today can make it without going anywhere. Bands can do many things to build a fan base. Part of her conversation spoke about the use of transformed spaces with the capacity to create real memories providing the moments when people love the music.
Vice Record's GM Jamie Farkas to speak at Melbourne Music Week

2014 - The Year That Was - A discussion panel looked to the future to put forward hypothetical views for the music industry in 2014. Some things that got a mention were: Major players in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr), A growth in streaming providing a wealth of music for listening anywhere anytime with streaming services that include notes and lyrics, A flourishing independent culture without needing intermediaries or labels, Vinyl sales resurgence, Sound Halo as a new live music platform - downloading show you are watching to phone, Monetising video online, Ticketing technology - the question will be about what to do with other people's money before delivery of the event, Crowd funding, Principles of artistry - needs to be a great song with compelling live act. Reliance on same pillars - Radio, TV, Film, Major Record Company, The changing role of what a manager does, People will be releasing their own music and producing a sustainable living from their music.

Splendour Forum Debate: Music in Advertising - 'Selling Out' or 'The New Radio'? Two teams brought to the fore messages for their argument for or against music in advertising being a 'sell out'.

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