A career in the performing arts is hard to find, but this Stawell singer is determined to make her dream a reality.
Recently-graduated Marion College student, Alanis Williams, has earned herself a place in the highly competitive Bachelor of Music at Melbourne Polytechnic, where she will be taking the next step towards her dream career.
Throughout 2020, Ms Williams had to overcome many challenges, but with the help of her school and the Stawell Performing Arts Company, she impressed the judges during her application process.
Ms Williams said this was important because the entry process relies heavily on applicants audition.
"What they really like is for you to have a history in performing and music, which being in a rural area is really hard. Luckily we have the Stawell Performing Arts Company, which I have been with since I was five," she said.
"Every year I have done stuff, I have been on stage, I have been performing for a really long time and so having that experience and that support system really allowed me to make a strong impression with the interviewer.
"What I did find out after the interviews is they really like it if you have a stage or musical theatre background because when you get on stage, it means you have more confidence and without the performing arts company experience, I wouldn't have been able to learn all of the skills I have and I wouldn't have had as many performance opportunities."
However, last year, many of these performing opportunities were lost as events were cancelled, and her studies moved online.
"Over the last twelve months lots of live performing opportunities went down and they were a no-go, so luckily Stawell Performing arts company picked up the slack for us," she said.
"We started doing Zoom performances, so every month or so there would be a performance which would allow us to get online, practice and get some feedback from our peers.
"That was really really helpful because then I had to go on stage and perform to the examiners, so getting that practice was really important for my application."
As well as completing four other VCE subjects, one of Ms Williams major focuses was on the subject 'Music performance: contemporary voice solo'.
Meaning much of her school year was spent studying a performing subject online.
"Having the performance subject was definitely the trickiest part of the online learning," she said.
"For our assessments we just had to film ourselves and send them in. We were able to go on campus and film the assessments, but living half an hour away it was a bit tricky.
"It was hard because you'd have to perform in front of your peers, but, it wasn't much of a performance because you were just performing to a camera, so it was a bit odd."
After spending the year overcoming these challenges, Ms Williams is ready for her next step.
"Goal number one, I'd love to be a performer in a band, being in a band would be great and being from this area it can be really hard to find positions that are like minded in the music I like to play. So being in a band and being a performer would be awesome," she said.
"The other thing I really liked was business management and I would like to do a business course and go into the music production industry because I understand performance is a really important part, but performers can't get on stage and have gigs and produce albums unless there is someone there managing it."
Ms Williams also encouraged anyone else passionate about performing to use every opportunity to be on stage and practice their skills.
"Get on stage and perform as much as humanly possible. You want to be in front of an audience every single chance you get, it is so majorly important to build your confidence," she said.
"And just have fun with it, because when you are performing you have to have a bit of fun, otherwise what's the point in doing it."
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