Meet Alexandra Czarnecki-Roper, Bachelor of Music (Jazz & Improvisation) graduate at the Melbourne Conservatorium

Alexandra Czarnecki-Roper. Image by John O’Rourke.
Alexandra Czarnecki-Roper. Image by John O’Rourke.

Recent percussion graduate Alexandra Czarnecki-Roper discusses what it was like to study at the Conservatorium.

I didn’t secure a place at the Conservatorium straight away. So I studied for two years at another institution and, after gaining a lot of experience, decided to audition again, and made it through. I wanted to study at the Conservatorium because I really liked the idea of studying alongside students from other disciplines such as acting, photography and studio art. I also appreciated how well located and beautiful the Southbank campus was, being in the heart of Melbourne city, and near many amazing facilities like the NGV, Melbourne Recital Centre and Crossways.

The course was intensive. I was there five days a week, and had a performance based/practical subject pretty much every day. I practised every day too, and would rehearse with both small and large ensembles at least three days a week. We also had great theory-based classes, which meant that each day would bring a variety of different material to work on and practise, all relevant and related to each other.

I don’t have much trouble finding motivation to practise, as there are always things to work on, always more to learn, and always new ways to improve your skill. While I was studying, having amazing individual teachers from all around the Melbourne music scene motivated me a lot too – it was so inspiring to have teachers who were going through new and exciting things in their own performance careers.

Jazz and Improvisation students Keidan Morley, Reuben Lewis, and Alexandra Czarnecki-Roper. Image by John O’Rourke.

Presenting my third-year recital was awesome and definitely one of the highlights of the course. It’s a great way to think about what you wanted to perform, and with whom, and you have the freedom to do it how you’d like to. It’s a chance to challenge yourself but also refine what it is you’re interested in, and perhaps even get some insight into what you’d like to pursue after university.

I haven’t fully worked out my goals for the next couple of years yet. But on the list will certainly be performing a lot and in an array of different genres, touring with an original band I help write for, playing at large venues around Melbourne and abroad, and to keep learning new skills and getting better at playing the drums.

One of the most important skills I learned at the Conservatorium was how to manage my time.This will definitely help me to succeed in being a professional musician. I know now I’m able to achieve a lot – it just requires consistent and focused work, and using each day efficiently in a way that still works with my natural habits.

To people keen to pursue a career in music, I’d say: keep in mind that everyone is on their own path. No path is right or wrong. You just have to keep going along your own, whichever way it takes you or whichever way you want to go. And take up opportunities that come your way, if you want to, but also create them.