For Kaylie Melville (percussion, 2015), her three years in the Professional Performance Program at ANAM was her springboard into the global creative fraternity of percussion in 2016, brimming with enthusiasm, confidence and talent.

There were very few avenues for percussionists before 2013, when ANAM launched its new Faculty under Peter Neville. Among the first through the door, Kaylie was a perfect match to ANAM's ethos. Three years later seizing opportunities is second nature.

Kaylie wishes her future career to continue surprising her with wonderful discoveries. Only a year since ANAM she finds that some surprises give her less joy than others: administration and running the small business that is a freelance career. It is a business demanding yet more skills to be learned and much will-power.

Kaylie's fraternity is rather special: repertoire less than a hundred years old, thirsting for new music, populated as much by composers as performers, exploratory, experimenting with new sounds, music often abstract yet melodic, harmonious, richly rhythmic. A percussionist asks, 'Can I make music with this?' 'With matchsticks, flourescent light tubes?' 'Yes, I can. I'll show you.' To say she loves it is an understatement.

As a percussionist, Kaylie doesn't play an instrument but an orchestra. Her performances aren't only music, they can be soundscapes, theatrical, symbolic, physical, even athletic, visual. Her canvas is vast and multi-dimensional. How does a young musician find her place in this world? Kaylie holds in her mind a concept learned at So Percussion’s Summer Institute at Princeton University back in 2013: a family tree of music, composers and musicians. She seeks along the relationships, sharing her dreams confident she will find support and her very own place among the branches of this welcoming, lively, family.

In practical terms, planning your own program of solo and ensemble concerts with so much variety at your disposal and opportunities beckoning is complex artistically and logistically. Typically, several months are needed to plan a new ensemble piece. New opportunities must fit in with set pieces and travel plans. Instruments are expensive, some bulky, needing a lot of space. Percussionists frequently hire or borrow. Networking is vital at many levels. The US based Percussive Arts Society is international and, in Australia, Facebook offers her at least three closed groups: Australia-wide, Victorians and Gen Y!

What Kaylie calls her 'secret' degree is in English and French literature, specialising in Shakespeare. It gave her a taste for research, indulged again in her performance masters degree at Melbourne University, to inform her interpretation, staging and performances. She might have become a musicologist but for that door to ANAM opening in 2013. Now research also informs her communication with her audiences. Especially if unaccustomed to the novel music and sounds of percussion, audiences welcome her coming out from behind her instruments to talk directly to them. Research essentially informs her business communications: vital funding applications, a biography tailored to each opportunity - funds from her scholarship awards support her current trip.

Kaylie has the ability to introduce audiences to a new world. That is what she does as a percussionist, a guide.

Profile last updated in 2017

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