Elizabeth Greenhalgh

Music Programmer at ABC Classic
Alumni

Undergraduate Degree:  Bachelor of Film Studies, Media, Culture and Technology, and Bachelor of Music / Bachelor of Music (Hons)

Current Position: Music Programmer at ABC Classic

1. What attracted you to studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW?

It was when I found out that UNSW did music performance double degrees! This meant that I could continue practicing my instrument at a tertiary level as well as doing a different degree at the same time! I also just loved the feel of the campus.

2. Did you always have a clear idea of what you wanted to do after completing your degree?

I knew I wanted to keep playing the violin no matter what, but I was also thinking about radio. In the end, an opportunity came up at the station as a Music Programmer and I just went for it. A huge plus was that almost everyone else working at the station is a muso, so I still could be part of the music performance community and still play the violin!

3. How did your time at UNSW help shape who you are today?

I think it helped me grow as a person intellectually, emotionally and personally… I think that’s thanks to my courses of study but also to my friends, teachers and colleagues I met and worked with along the way!

4. How did studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW help you develop transferable skills?

Almost every assessment in both my Music and my Arts degree required a high level of critical thinking along with either writing extended essays or doing some kind of presentation/performance. At first I semi-dreaded it - basically everything that you thought you knew at school had to go out the window. I had to spend time (and A LOT of hard work and dedication) to really discover my own style, my own opinions, and way to clearly articulate them. By the end you’re well-and-truly practiced, and before you know it you’re writing theses!

In regards to music, performance practice class, performance exams, masterclasses, and weekly private lessons, along with participation in orchestra and choir (and gamelan!) soon whipped me into shape, teaching me good performance skills and the ability to work and perform well under pressure.

5. How did studying Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW help form your view on the world and the contemporary issues we face today?

While my Music degree was focussed on the niche field of music performance and violin practice, I feel that my Arts degree gave me a wider understanding of how the media industry works - particularly the philosophy and psychology behind it all. Very enlightening.

6. How did UNSW Arts & Social Sciences help prepare you for the workforce throughout your degree?

It definitely allowed me to get a lot better at my instrument! Thanks to all my (sometimes incredibly stressful) music lessons and recitals… But it also gave me a very strong base knowledge of the Western classical music canon (as well as world music), which is something I build on everyday in my job as a Music Programmer at a classical music station.

7. How did you get your foot in the door as a graduate, following the completion of your degree?

I had been working casually at ABC Classic in the last two years of my degree, and when I wasn’t there I was working as a violin tutor. But since I absolutely loved it at the station, I worked really, really hard, and basically volunteered for as many things as possible - including all the tasks that weren’t so popular. I was just happy to be there and do anything! My hard work paid off though as I was able to use all that experience in my interview for the full time position.

8. What advice would you give to someone considering studying Arts at UNSW?

Give it a go! You can make the degree into almost anything you want as the faculty covers so many different subjects. And something that I had learned by the end of my degree was that it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be to try different subjects. You really get out what you put in, so once you commit, just put your head down and go for it!

9. What is your most memorable experience from your time at UNSW?

Definitely my final Honours music recital - it was the final showcase of almost everything I had learnt in my time at UNSW. That, and also my involvement the Balinese Gamelan group ‘Suwitra Jaya’ - we got the opportunity to go to Bali twice to perform in the Bali Arts Festival and at the Australian Consulate!

Also of course, I will always remember the times hanging out with my friends in between classes as being some of the best times ever!

10. Why do you Love What You Do?

I love what I do now because I am still immersed in music. It’s both my job and my hobby! I am lucky enough to listen, discover and share music, and create radio content for almost 1 million people per week. And I’m also fortunate enough to perform in fantastic orchestra performances with my friends.