It’s time to take your deep love of music beyond rifling through vintage vinyls in shops and catching live gigs every night of the week. Whether you’ve been meaning to learn a few chords on the guitar, join a glee club or become a master djembe drummer, there’s a workshop for that. Keep at it, and it could one day be you launching into an epic saxophone freestyle at one of Sydney’s favourite jazz clubs.
RECOMMENDED: The best music shops in Sydney
Places to learn music in Sydney
ICE has been working with Western Sydney communities through creative courses and events for decades. A notable recent addition is the All Girl Electronic series of workshops for 15 to 25-year-old female-identifying youth, offering training and mentoring from Sydney musicians and producers for free. One of the facilitators, Del Lumanta, sees the connection between young people and established artists as mutually encouraging. “The workshops have been a great space to share skills and music with one another,” says Lumanta. “Our mentors also share their stories and dispel music-making myths, making it less intimidating for any person to start making music.”
Consider yourself a Flume in your room but want to collaboratively twiddle knobs with like-minded budding producers? Regularly popping up at 107 Projects in Redfern, Hack Sounds is an accessible jam session with guidance for anyone curious about electronic music making. With a focus on inclusivity, the free sessions involve hands-on learning and play with analogue and digital tools. If a table laden with drum machines, Roland synths, iPads and theremins is your idea of an aural buffet then keep your fingers warmed for one of Hack Sounds’ sessions.
This place specialises in short courses so is perfect for those just wanting to dabble in djembe rather than signing up for months of potentially incompatible West African drumming. With an eclectic roster of one-off and repeat casual workshops, you could find yourself having a red hot go of the ukulele one evening and sitting down with a beer learning the complexities of indie songwriting the next. The focus at Work-Shop is on fun and many of the classes also provide instruments, a bonus if you’re looking to try before you buy that dust-collecting djembe.
If you’ve had dreams about making it to the ‘Con’ but you’ve also had nightmares inspired by Whiplash, then a casual dip into Sydney’s prestigious music university’s short courses and workshops is for you. The Open Academy offers everything from shakuhachi (a traditional Japanese bamboo flute) to singing fundamentals for adults and school-age aspirants. The program has organised short courses, pay-as-you-go workshops and entire terms of private tuition with a teacher of your choice, including jazz drums if you’re brave.
Exactly what it sounds like, this music workshop hub caters for kids to seniors. Learn all the basic instruments, take in some music theory, or renovate your vocal range. The All Age Music School also runs a popular weekly Glee Club for adults, a no experience necessary, all ability, multi-genre, acapella sing-fest. The Glee Club operates in terms, but they encourage drop-in participants also. And, just like the show, there’s a climactic end-of-year show to obsessively prepare for.
Inside a Woolloomooloo hideaway is Australia’s premier Ableton-certified training centre. If you don’t know, Ableton is the production software used by countless electronic music artists, Flume being an example. Co-founder Adam Maggs is a working DJ-producer who has taught some of Australia’s most successful producers. All of the school’s instructors are industry professionals, from DJs to sound engineers, and the courses on offer range from three-hour introductions for absolute beginners to 46-week programs for professionals. Aside from music production, Liveschool runs INPUT – a regular event that gives budding producers an insight into the industry, offering career tips and tricks.