Canberra’s 'rock school' hits the right tune

3 February 2021

Aspiring musicians will be able to write and produce an original song in just five weeks, for free, amid a host of innovative short music courses starting in 2021 at The Open School of Music at The Australian National University (ANU).

Over five consecutive Saturdays, participants will expand their knowledge of song writing, while learning the basics of studio recording, rehearsing and mixing.

"It's a unique opportunity for wannabe singers and songwriters. We are unearthing undiscovered adult artists in Canberra and enhancing their talents," Open School of Music Convenor, Ms Jenny Binovec said.

The course, which starts on 13 February, is ideal for budding singer/songwriters who have written original songs in the past but have limited recording experience. 

Local singer/songwriter Shannon Parnell and former student said: "I loved it. It was fantastic having such an experienced team of mentors.  It was especially great to record and mix my song in the School of Music's recording studio." 

For amateur musicians and beginners, The Open School of Music is offering an introductory four-week program to learn basic concepts for playing in a rock band.

The Community Rock School short course is the first to launch this year, and will run on Saturday afternoons from 20 February to 13 March for piano, guitar, bass, drums and vocals. 

"It is during difficult times like this that music can offer so much to all involved, and the connection and expression that is created through music can take on greater significance," Ms Binovec said.

"It is particularly important to continue creating music, to bring what is special and beautiful into the lives of those involved and others in the community."

The Open School of Music, which is funded by the ACT Government through the provision of a Community Outreach Program grant from artsACT, aims to develop a unique program for adults.

"By combining the expertise and resources at the ANU School of Music with the ACT Government's grant funding, we are able to offer development opportunities for all ages in classical, jazz and contemporary genres," Ms Binovec said.

The school also offers a mentorship program run in conjunction with Gugan Gulwan Aboriginal Youth Centre for young artists to learn about song writing, recording and performance.

To apply for these programs, or find out more about the Open School of Music, please visit or email