Award-winning artist with an ARIA No1 album, Postcards from the Shellhouse, Tom Busby (Busby Marou) and international writer/producer Robert Conley, inspired students to write and record four original compositions in just two days at the TCTC.
Heatley Secondary College and the Townsville Creative Technologies College(TCTC) was once again chosen to take part in a national program about contemporary music. Sixteen of the combined College’s senior students collaborated with two of Australia’s most successful musicians and producers, as part of SongMakers – a national mentoring program run by APRA AMCOS with support from The Australian Government.
The program is offered to a select 50 Australian schools each year.
The Townsville Creative Technologies College was transformed into a creative hothouse for the budding songwriters and producers. They worked over two intensive days – 20th and 21st March – with Award-winning mentors: songwriter and producer, Robert Conley (Kiss, Beyonce, Ricky Martin, Santana); and artist/writer Tom Busby (Busby Marou) to create and record four new songs.
It is a credit to the strength of the music program at the college that we have selected it for a repeat visit this year,” said Dean Ormston, APRA AMCOS Head of Member Services Group.
“The great thing about the SongMakers program is that it brings the real world into the classroom. Students get to collaborate with and learn from some of the biggest names in music. And because it’s so hands-on, it really fast-tracks students’ understanding of today’s contemporary music world and the steps needed for success.”
A big surprise was in store when Shannon Noll and the Head of A&R with Warner Music, Heath Bardby, arrived to add their point of view regarding the value of a good song to an artist. Shannon and Heath spent an hour with the students talking through the creative work process and reassuring them that, “the challenges of finding a great melody with the right lyric is exactly what every songwriter is confronted with every time you start working on a new collaboration hoping it turns into an amazing song.”
Shannon: I usually find that it gets really really tough a couple of hours in when everything’s been going smoothly but then you hit a block and no one knows which way to go but you have to push through that and 99% of the time that’s when the great bit of work is done that completes the song.
Tom: Yeah, you just persevere because you have to trust that it’s going to happen.
Shannon: A great song is everything to an artist. It’s going to be a part of your live shows for most of your career and has to feel good to sing night after night.
At the end of the second day, Robert called all students into the studio to listen back to each other’s completed songs. Everyone was completely amazed and in awe at what they had achieved over the two days working with their industry mentors Robert Conley and Tom Busby.
Asked how he enjoyed working with the students, Robert said, “They’re really talented! They worked so hard and produced great songs all under a lot of pressure, and the facilities, instruments and the music technology that’s available at the TCTC is the best out of all the workshops I’ve been a part of.”