Professional Development Program

[fancy_heading style=”style3″ size=”small”]Professional Development Program “The Artists Choice”[/fancy_heading]


“Music education institutions are fine places to learn music, if you want to learn institutionalised music.” Frank Zappa

There are six modules in the program that cover knowledge and practical skills critical to long-term success in the music industry. Each is interconnected like a network so that information introduced in Module 1 is explored and developed as a student music industry project, from conception to completion, in the other five modules. [one_third] [pricing column=”5″] [plan name=”Course Details” price=”” per=”” url=”” skin=”#cc0000″ button_text=”Enrol Now!” popular=”false”]

    • 4 x 2 Hour Classes Per Week1 x 3 Hour Class Per Week
    • Progressive Learning Where Every Module Is Connected
    • Professional Recording
    • EPK Electronic Industry Press Kit
    • Professional Photos
    • Website
    • Management & Agent Showcase
    • NMA Industry Certified Certificate
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“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell

The music industry success pathway begins each week by immersing you in the recordings of the most significant contributors to the development of all the modern styles of music. Each week a genre from recent history is chosen for focused directed listening. This genre and the features that define it then becomes the theme for the weekly music industry project developed to completion in the other modules. If you look back at any innovative musical artist who has been successful in the past 60 years you’ll discover they all had one thing in common: they listened to a lot of different music! More than this, they were able to make connections between seemingly disparate styles and blend them in ways that were new and interesting. This module will immerse you in the major works of all the great musical innovators beginning with Charlie Parker and the bebop era. From these modern music roots you will discover how new styles branched out and grew in innovative ways from older styles to ultimately form the dense forest of contemporary music styles that exist today. This module is at the core of the Professional Development Program because it reveals the vast scope of the contemporary music world and enables you to better see what your pathways within it might be.

“There are tens of thousands of theories about music.” Brian Eno

Thankfully there are only a couple of simple concepts that need to be understood in order to be fluent in the practical language of music! This module concentrates on three interconnected core areas: aural development, theoretical rudiments and keyboard basics.   The development of aural skills will enable you to see the music you hear (music transcription) and hear the music you see (reading music notation). These are essential skills possessed by every successful person in the music industry. Theoretical rudiments are the necessary companion to aural skills. They reveal and explain all the elementary musical materials and how they are utilised to construct compositions from simple nursery rhyme tunes to large scale complex works. Every person who works in the music industry should also know how to use a piano keyboard for basic routine tasks, such as entering notes into a digital workstation for sequencing or blocking notes to quickly hear chord progressions and melodies. This module will show you how to use a keyboard.

“Students should engage in real-world, practical workshops in which they demonstrate their knowledge through creativity and collaboration.” John Dewey

This module is the practical application of musicianship skills learned in Module 2. In it you will develop skills in the art of composing and orchestrating arrangements in five broad stylistic genres: rock, jazz and blues, pop and dance, stage and film, and experimental art-music fusions. Arranging for rock groups covers basics such as writing chord charts and lead sheets for rhythm sections. Arranging jazz and blues covers writing for horns from solo parts to big band section scores. Pop and dance arranging steps into the digital world and covers various industry standard software platforms and how to compose and arrange within these digital environments. Stage and film scoring covers writing for orchestral strings. Fusions and experimental forms of arranging blend elements of rock, jazz, blues, digital as well as classical art music techniques.

“I’m never pleased with anything. I’m a perfectionist. It’s part of who I am.” Michael Jackson

The performance module takes the arrangements created in Module 3 and puts them through the workshop process. You will acquire and develop all the skills necessary to transform you into a professional performer of your own material but, more importantly, you will gain insight into the “secret” of success: you have to possess an inexhaustible commitment to improvement through innovation, invention, reflection and reinvention. “Performance” is defined as the act of presenting … entertainment. The workshop environment isn’t just to play through the arrangements created in Module 3. This module is designed to transform you into an entertainer of the highest calibre. Aside from the practical skills of developing chord chart reading abilities, microphone technique, and so on, you will discover the difference between simply presenting a song and creating a memorable performance. This is revealed through stage craft and etiquette – two of the most overlooked abilities every performer in the music industry should possess.

“I want it to sound like an orange.” John Lennon

This module moves the weekly project one step closer to completion. Material conceived in Module 1 and developed and polished through to Module 4 is now recorded, produced and made ready for the final stage of the project: Module 6. You will learn a range of recording studio techniques from acoustics to signal flow to processing effects and manipulating audio data. Also covered in this module are basic video recording and editing techniques. Together, all these technical skills combine to produce one finished demo of your abilities that will ultimately become your music industry Electronic Press Kit (EPK).

“There is nothing to keeping a band together. You simply have to have a gimmick, and the gimmick I use is to pay them money!” Duke Ellington

Technology has made it possible so that anybody with a laptop and a microphone can create and produce their own music. The music industry, however, isn’t only interested in music production. The music industry exists in equal measure through music consumption. In this, the final module each week, the project receives all the finishing touches that would make it ready for market consumption. A little over 100 years ago, the Australian music industry consisted of just a few small businesses: music hall venues, music agents and sheet music publishers. Today, the Australian music industry is among the largest of industries in the country and is a network of hundreds of businesses both big and small. This module will give you insights into how to navigate your way through this large and complex maze of managers, agents, intellectual property law, avenues of promotion, merchandising, distributing and, most importantly, how to successfully brand and market your best asset: you! During the 40 weeks of the Professional Development, students will have amassed an impressive body of recorded work that will become their EPK. As part of the graduation ceremony at which graduates will receive a certificate of Industry Accreditation, you will be given a personal introduction to all of the leading Australian music agents and promoters. Additionally, all alumni of the program will receive ongoing support by way of an online publicity presence hosted by the National Music Academy.

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Media Relations

Members of the media who are seeking expert sources to comment on trending news, or looking to interview our staff or students for features and profiles, are invited to contact National Music Academy principal, Gianni Michilini, or email

Mission Statement

Our commitment is to provide our students with the highest standards of theoretical teaching combined with our unique practical approach to create the finest holistic music program possible. Our program is designed to provide all the music and business tools to the highest standards, supporting students a with practical hands on approach and applied theory basis. Our passion is the finest music education for the aspiration student wanting to become a professional working musician. Professional Development Program is not a piece of paper but immersion and mentoring focused on your craft and that’s why we are the right choice – “ The Artists Choice”.


Frequently Asked Questions [accordions]

The program is part of National Music Academy, which is synonymous with premium quality and focused on students goals and aspirations. This Academy has been based on the vision of our students having a mentorship guided by not only our highly trained academic staff but also professional working musicians. The PDP started with the basis of creating working musicians rather than university qualified musicians which often graduate unemployed and without the core experience to function in the real world as a professional musician. We aim to provide only the best industry experience and are truly dedicated and focused on the outcome of the student rather then applying as many modules as possible and passing students leading to massive a HECS debt with no career guidance. Our teachers and lecturers are trained and qualified and are rated as industry credible and qualified musicians with a world of experience. Our goal is to create a platform so students can learn and be immersed in practical applied theory and practice with guided mentorship leaving them with the essential skills to start their dream.
We could be but we deliberately choose not to be for reasons that are central to the principles on which the Professional Development Program was created. Firstly, recent years have seen dramatic changes to the way education is delivered to students at all levels. There has been a move back to an antiquated education model. It is given many flashy sounding names, such as Blended Learning, but in practice these are not models for innovative educational practices but rather; they’re corporate business models for selling education. Every aspect of education, from curriculum to assessment, is standardised according to business principles developed to suit the 19th century factory model that demands uniformity and conformity over diversity and creativity. When music programs are accredited by the government, by definition, they are compelled to conform to a model of education that is designed to produce the same outcome, regardless of whether that education is delivered by a university, a conservatorium, a TAFE college, or any of the myriad of smaller private accredited music schools. In other words, it is a model for mediocrity and sameness in outcomes. The creators of the Professional Development Program passionately believe that music is a creative art form. Thus, to impose restrictions to creativity, through accreditation requirements, is fundamentally wrong for innovative creative music practice. Secondly, government accreditation requires universities, conservatories and other music schools to collect a vast range of statistics about every aspect of their music teaching programs, from planning to student outcomes. This in turn necessitates the employment of a whole layer of middle-management bureaucrats. The cost of all of this is then passed down to “the customer” (the student). This also is fundamentally wrong and bordering on unethical business practice. It also explains why any accredited music course will cost at least double that of our Professional Development Program.
The Professional Development Program is organised into six spheres of learning designated as Modules from 1 to 6. Fees are calculated according to the number of modules enrolled with substantial discounts given to those who enrol for the complete program. The complete program also includes significant free benefits, such as an ongoing web presence for students to showcase their EPKs. This benefit is just one that many other music schools and agencies charge substantial fees to maintain for alumni students. The complete 40 week program costs $5996 Please refer to the website for the pro-rata scale of fees for individual modules. To receive the Website, EPK and Agent & Management showcase, students must be enrolled in the full 40 week Professional Development Program.
No. Government assistance is only available to government accredited courses. See above for more details.
Yes. Fees can be paid in advance of each of the four 10 week terms. Payments are due before the commencement of the terms lessons. Payment plans are available, please contact
We run two programs in parallel – one between the hours of 12pm and 2pm daily, and the second between the hours of 7pm and 9pm nightly. While online classes are not an option at this stage, all classes are digitally recorded and the content uploaded for archival purposes.
Students can enrol to begin in any of the four terms if vacancies exist. If no vacancies exist, we have a waiting list system and give enrolment preference to those whose names are in that system.
Our teachers come from a variety of music industry spheres from signed artists and performers, recording engineers and producers, to musicologists and contemporary music educators. Many have national and international music industry recognition in their fields of expertise.
A burning passion to work in the music industry is mandatory. Many of our students have some experience either as instrumentalists or singers in bands and we also have students with some experience in the technical side – DJ-ing, live mixing or home studio recording – although no previous industry experience is necessary. There are no academic prerequisites. A number of our students choose the Professional Development Program as a practical alternative to a music degree. We do request an interview to see if you are applicable to enroll in the PDP.
The Professional Development Program will provide you with all the skills, knowledge, and materials that success requires but ultimately, working musicians are freelancers. If job security is your priority you might do better to reconsider a music degree and a school teaching career.
Our state-of-the-art learning environment includes a live stage, recording studio, and private booths for individual and small group tuition. It is located on the corner of Steel and King Streets, West Newcastle, right behind National Music Academy. You are invited to visit and receive a personal tour (by appointment) prior to making any commitment to enrol.