Meet Melbourne Conservatorium of Music student, Jessica Leigh


Get to know a student’s experience studying at The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Jessica Leigh is studying a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

What motivated you to choose your degree?

I love how music can make you feel so many different emotions. At 12, I was awed by a soloist’s rendition of Grieg’s piano concerto in my school orchestra. The power of the notes that were played really resonated with me. Since then, I’ve wanted to create beautiful and moving experiences for others. Through this degree, I’m immersed in what I love and learning the skills I need for an exciting career.

Describe a typical day of study …

A typical day kicks off in the practice room, where I prepare for the day ahead. Then, I either have a lesson, lecture, or tutorial. After an intense but fun session, I grab lunch and go to rehearsals or practice. During busier weeks, I go home and practice more or catch up on lectures or readings.

How do you feel connected to your industry through your degree?

It’s enriching studying in the heart of Southbank’s arts and music scene. I’ve connected to the industry through the degree in ways that go beyond the practice room. I’ve played for musicians of professional ensembles, like the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, Australian World Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra, and several American orchestral members.



What advice would you give to someone considering your degree?

Please know you are good enough! Your passion for music will drive you through the ups and downs. Be prepared for a rigorous journey, but remember the rewards are immeasurable. A music degree is only a foundation. Your passion and continuous learning will define your future success. Keep honing your skills and be curious; ask questions and stay open to new experiences, genres, and people. Embrace versatility; a music degree opens doors to other paths beyond performing, like teaching, music management, composition, conducting, to name a few. 

What are your goals for the coming years?

I want to keep studying, either in Melbourne, interstate or overseas. I plan to start a small chamber collective with friends, collaborate with artists, and share the results of our endeavours with the community. This will include performance spaces that are out of the ordinary, new, and old compositions, and many artists from VCA and MCM. 

You will soon tour to Singapore and Malaysia with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to playing in the three different concert halls during concert week: Hamer Hall in Melbourne (Sep 24), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music Concert in Singapore (Sep 27), and Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Kuala Lumpur (Sep 30). I can’t wait to experience the vibrant cultural scenes of Malaysia and Singapore and the delicious food too. We have a demanding schedule, with three major concerts in one week. I’m interested to witness the growth of our sound and how far we can push our limits during this exciting musical journey. •

Photography: Ajay Viswanath.

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