Monash vs WAAPA

So this is the big debate I had going with myself all last year over whether I should go to Monash or WAAPA given the choice. It involved many late night chats (11:30pm till 1am nightly) with Matt about the various pros and cons of each course. Now I have one week to make a decision.

As much as I enjoy playing jazz standards, I really would much rather be doing something a bit more original and creative. It looks as though both courses are pretty similar in what they do. You can do other stuff with your teacher or bring it to ensembles but there are no specific classes in free improvisation or anything like that. In some ways that’s good because it wouldn’t really be my own original music then. Here are the options I have to weigh up:

Monash Pros:

  • -It’s in Melbourne which has a better music scene, good for building up contacts if I plan on staying there.
  • -Probably slightly more into the music that I want to play, which means I would be surrounding myself with people who want to do the same kind of stuff as me.
  • -Would get to see friends and family irregularly

Monash Cons:

  • -The players in the course will probably not be as good as WAAPA.
  • -It is actually quite a ways out from the city, in a hole called Clayton.
  • -I would be doing a lot of travelling around which will cut down on practice time.
  • -I have a bad vibe about the place.


  • -Will live on campus and there’s nothing else to do so plenty of time for practice.
  • -It is a very sunny, merry place.


  • -Will probably be a bit less into doing original cool stuff.
  • -Has a reputation for producing ‘jazz heads’ that just play bebop. I like to think though that at 21 I have a bit more maturity going into this course and I already know what I want to play so they can’t change me, just develop me.
  • -Wouldn’t get to see friends and family at all.

It’s quite hard to do the perfect summation of each course and weigh them up so succinctly but that’s about it I guess. There a lot more little points which don’t really come into the equation too much and would clutter things so I left them out. It just depends whether I want to go to WAAPA and sit on my arse for three years getting good before I try bustin’ into the scene. Or go to Monash and try to ease my way into the scene. I’m waiting to talk to people from both courses with some more information about what goes on, just to see if one course really is into doing more of the stuff that I like, or not. At the moment I’m fairly set on WAAPA even though Monash looks a bit better in this summation. I guess I’m more keen to just hide away, practice and develop my own stuff.

What do you guys think I should do?


~ by Hooly on January 2, 2007.

14 Responses to “Monash vs WAAPA”

  1. Basically, the only reason I’m going to WAAPA is to see who you choose as your best friend. Me, or Matt. haha.

  2. Seeing as I know absolutely nothing, I’ll say that flipping a coin in the dying minutes of the decision deadline seems the fair thing to do.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more help, but I do still have that disgustingly tarnished twenty-cent piece if you need it.

  3. It seems that there is only one real pro listed for WAAPA. Perhaps this is a hint as to which institution has more pros and is therefore is better. That’s about all i got. I would prefer you stay in melbourne for obvious reasons.

  4. JON
    Monash has more cons though, Jon. Perhaps this is a hint as to which institution has less cons and is therefore is better.

    ‘and is therefore is better.’ Nice.

    If you’re gonna be like that though then Monash only has two real pros. I only added the friends and family to keep you guys happy, I don’t really care all that much cos (lettuce) I never really see anyone during the year anyway.
    Then one of Monash’s pros, the ‘probably slightly more into the music’ one is just guesswork and is more like 1/2 a pro. So it’s 1 1/2 vs 1.

    I figure wherever I go, I’ll be able to get away from either you or Matt, the bottom two rungs on my friend ladder. It’s not about trying to be with my best friend, it’s about trying to get away from my worst friend, so find the silver lining.

    I’ll pick up that coin on my way through today.

  5. I think you want to go to Monash. Even though Whopper would be a better environment, being in sunny Perth and all, I reckon you’d be looking back at what could have been ‘musically’ at Monash. I guess it could come down to how disciplined you are at practising your playing. Maybe Melbourne will be too distracting?

  6. You could always do eenie-meenie trick. That’s when you do eenie-meenie (make sure you don’t say “catch a nigger by the toe” like I did when I was a kid. Apparently it’s a racist term.

    When you land on the final choice, if you have the urge to do it again, then you know that the alternative choice is the one for you.

    Also, you’re about the biggest Beauty & The Beast fan I know. Jon’s pretty into it as well but he’s more of an arsehole. I spose I can just keep emailing you thoughts on characters and songs.

    On a serious note, Melbourne does have a sick international Jazz scene, which means there will be more opportunities to cut sick and earn cash on the side (and maybe teach???). That’s the big one for me, the scene and culture and epicure.

    I know you’ll cut sick in whatever course you do.
    All the best man.

  7. I’ve noticed you didn’t mention the third option, Fjord.



  8. ADAM
    I’ll be looking back at what could have been at the alternative course no matter where I end up. It’s no so much about being disciplined at practicing with distractions and such, it’s just a simple matter of time.

    Thanks for the eenie-meenie option, but Daniel has already offered me the use of his filthy twenty cent piece.
    Beauty and the Beast is one of those smaller factors that I didn’t mention because I didn’t want it to really affect my decision. It’s small things like that though which will cut me deep, you’re right.
    Melbourne does have the sick jazz scene, which is why I would be looking at coming back eventually. I just think I would be in good stead to woodshop (or whatever the term is) for a few years and get good beforehand. The cash-in-hand factor won’t really come into play because I have my fingers in everything, but if times get tough there’s lots of teaching gigs in Perth.

    Third option being Julian’s School of Music in C/Springs. I was there in 2006 and actually did really well and got a lot out of it. Great for character building and such but you really miss out on the contact-building due to so many students passing away. Ed has a good point about it:

    The only problem I have with JAYSOM, is the core subject “Duelling With Your Instrument.” It’s fine for Soprano Sax Players and Flute Players, their nimble weapons are swift and oft will they cut a swathe through even the most hardy foe. However when you play a more cumbersome instrument such as a full size grand piano or a wurlitzer, you have to plan for weeks just to get your instrument into the catapult, lest actually defeat your foe.

    That was wicked sweet when you mowed that guy down with a Steinway Jules. I’ll never forget the look on his face when you uttered the perfunctory one-liner “This is my Concerto “You” in Smashed-Flat.”

    And another thing, Jon! How dare you instantly dismiss my pro about Perth being a sunny, merry place. I think such an environment is quite motivating. Better than Monash which is a place that sucks the life out of you.

  9. Jules, I have talked muchly with you, Matt, Davey G, Dr. Tim, and Lord Elrond. Lord Elrond was keen that you head over his way; The Rivendell College of Mo-Fo Jazz and the Sort. However, seeing as this is a school that I just made up, in a land that is entirely fictional, TRCMFJATS (what a catchy acronym!!) probably isn’t for you.

    So, Monash does appear, on your admittedly brief summation, to have more Pros. I think that the Melbourne Jazz scene issue could perhaps be a larger one than first thought. Consider how cool it is to be able to head into the city to watch world class players play regularly. And does that inspire you enough to make it a bif factor?

    Slightly more into the music? Hmmm, I didn’t know there was much difference. And i wouldn’t know.

    I think the family/friends thing would be a big thing for me. Probably on that alone, if I were in your position, I would choose Monash. However, making friends will come. You’ll be forced into it in that sort of arrangement.

    WAPAA has a better name. It’ll probably look better on a CV.

    Doing original stuff is possible wherever you choose, so it’s basically whether you feel the creative juices will flow without the inspiring jazz scene in Perth, or will they not flow.

    Conclusion: Monash. Perhaps this is because I want you to stay in ‘the big V’. But it would seem that the sun is slightly shinier on this side of the fence in my opinion. But I wouldn’t really know. That’s my opinion. But hey, if you choose WAPAA, I trust you. I wouldn’t trust me, that’s for sure. Good luck my friend.

  10. JULIAN
    It seems that when anyone ever says something, you just rebut them. Sometimes you tease them as well, which isn’t a great way to build a readership. Reflect and repent.

    Monash didn’t want you last year and now they come crawling back? You had your chance, Monash! I say go to WAAPA Jules, if only to spite Monash. We’ll all miss you… but not as much as Monash.

  11. I know nothing of Monash, WAAPA, higher education in general, but last night I drove through Clayton, and that fact alone puts me in a better postion to advise you than any of these other chaps and chappetts that consider themselves to be your friends.
    Now that I have completely jumped onto the bandwagon of cynicism, I shall try to offer some advice.
    Clayton is a whole. That’s one bad.
    Monash is within driving distance of your parents. That’s two bad.
    I was inforemd by Issac W. just yesterday that you’re fairly good at playing something, which I never realised myself, but the point would be that if you think you could make a fist of a lifetime of music, then you should put yourself in the place with the best name and the least distractions. Which, by what I’m reading, would be WAAPA. Your friends would miss you, but it’s a chance you might not have again. If you were running your own “workshop”, then dipping off to Perth for a year would be a touch disrupting.

    Personally, I’m not bothered either way.
    I never see you anyway, you swine, so for all I care you could move to Neptune.

    Just as long as you bring me back some squillion year old ice.

  12. Of course, if you rejected my advice based on the number of elementry spelling and basic grammer mistakes found in the above text, no-one could blame you.
    And I realised Clayton is a hole, as a whole.

  13. I’m bored as…. my muse apparently. So I’m reading my old blogs and some of the Oberts Monster’s blogs. We were really mean to each other back then weren’t we? And we still are, mostly. Bloody hell. I am very sorry everyone.

    Still not 100% sure whether or not I made the right decision. One thing that was true, I had my fingers in everything and the money is certainly coming in. And out, but the in is more important.

  14. Hi Hooly, I found this blog doing a search for WAAPA and Monash. Out of curiosity , which institution did you pick? Did you consider the VCA? I’m going to audition for all three this year, for jazz or contemporary music performance. I gather that you play piano, same as me. Would be great to hear from you with any advice you may have. My email is (without the hashes)

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