Cassie Slater

Flautist student
The Australian National Academy of Music
The academic understanding of the meaning behind the music heightened my performance as a flautist and as a result, I now seek to engage with the all the facets of the repertoire that I’m playing.

Why did you choose to study at UQ? 
For me, the reason why I chose to study the Bachelor of Music (Honours) at The University of Queensland was the faculty, consisting of high-calibre musicians and pedagogues, and especially as a flautist, the flute lecturer Patrick Nolan. The School of Music’s small size meant that as soon as I stepped foot into the building, I felt very welcome and supported. It also meant that I was able to have one-on-one relationships with all of the faculty and students. I was also well-aware of the University of Queensland’s prestige as an institution and the long history of excellence in academia and the arts.

What was the best thing about your program? 
I had a high level of respect of all the faculty but for me, the best thing about my program was being able to study with the flute lecturer, Patrick Nolan. His nurturing and supportive approach paired with a thorough understanding of flute pedagogy and a meticulous ear for flute playing left me inspired and energised after every lesson to keep honing my craft. The four years spent soaking up every word from him, armed me with the tools that make me the flute player I am today. Through the Honours program, I was fortunate enough to receive academic support and guidance from Dr Liam Viney. He opened my eyes to a rich understanding of music performance through research. The academic understanding of the meaning behind the music heightened my performance as a flautist and as a result, I now seek to engage with the all the facets of the repertoire that I’m playing.

Was there anything that you found that made your program unique?
One of the real advantages of being on a world-class campus such as UQ is being surrounded by students studying subjects other than music. Through the Bachelor of Music, you have the option to undertake electives outside of music, opening up a whole new field and depth to your degree. The School of Music is also of smaller size which meant that the all the Bachelor of Music students came together each week for performance class. To be in an open forum, hearing your peers perform and receive feedback allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of other instruments which has benefited me when working with others. Personally, I found the location and campus of the University of Queensland stunning and walking through the gardens proved to be a really amazing way to spend an afternoon! The facilities were excellent and the surrounding natural beauty was very unique. Another thing I found unique was the amount of cross-disciplinary students. I found many students studying more mainstream degrees like arts or commerce would enrol in music subjects (which is fairly rare!).

What did your study lead to?How did your study help you to get to your current role, and what does your current role involve?
I was fortunate enough to be offered a place to undertake the Professional Performance Program at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in Melbourne after graduating from UQ. ANAM is a high-octane environment, with new repertoire on the music stand every week. It has been an eye-opening and inspiring experience being surrounded by the best musicians from around Australia and New Zealand and having the opportunity to collaborate with international artists that frequent the building. It was thanks to my academic understanding and strong grasp of the flute fundamentals from Patrick that has allowed me to tackle the challenges at ANAM head on.

What has been your biggest professional highlight since graduating from UQ?
For me, my biggest professional highlight has been the opportunity to tour with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. To work at such a high level is incredibly inspiring and stimulating and I have learnt so much from the permanent members of the flute section.

What advice would you give to students in the same discipline you studied?
I would say that students need to get excited and engage about what they’re studying! Studying music can be an incredibly stimulating experience and very different from a lot of professions. There are so many resources available at UQ and I would encourage everyone to soak them up whilst you are there. Spending some time with the score can be daunting at first but really gives you some perspective on what you are playing and where you fit in to the larger picture. I loved going on “borrowing sprees” at the Architecture and Music library. I’d often walk out with too many scores and flute music to hold and challenge myself to how many scores could I listen to or sight-read through each week!


Bachelor of Music (Honours) (Music Performance)