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Music Educator Career Profile: Raffaele Marcellino

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February 10, 2015

Following One’s Passion is the Key

Careers in music don’t necessarily go in straight lines, and one who proves that is Raffaele Marcellino. Since graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a composition student in 1985, he has found employment as composer, academic and senior manager in higher education.

Marcellino joined the staff of the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in 1995, quickly rising to become Interim Head of Department and Director. He then returned to his native Sydney where he picked up sessional teaching and was appointed Dean of the Australian Institute of Music in 2003.

A shift to Melbourne in 2010 saw Marcellino become Foundation Dean at the Australian College of the Arts (Collarts) from 2010, where he oversaw big expansion and accreditation changes at that institution.

Marcellino is now Director of Academic and Student Services at SAE Qantm Creative Media Institute. An international creative media higher education provider with six campuses in Australia, this organisation is claimed to be the world’s largest media education provider and offers qualifications in animation, audio, design, film, games, and web & mobile.

Marcellino holds a PhD in music from the University of Tasmania, and he undertook a Management Development Program in Leadership in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in 2011.

Meanwhile, Marcellino has been a prolific composer all through these years, writing an opera and works for orchestra, choir and multi-media combinations. Many of Australia’s orchestras and chamber ensembles have performed his music, and amongst his collaborators are theatre directors, filmmakers and radio producers.

Give me idiosyncrasy over ideology anytime,says Marcellino on his own website, and his words serve to remind us all that

musicians who are passionate about what they do can forge their own direction rather than follow the paths of others.

Raffaele Marcellino offers tips to those embarking on a musical career

  • What inspired you most on your career path in music?

“I was (and still am) deeply passionate about music. It was my father who, when I told him I was offered a place at Sydney Con encouraged me to pursue it as a career as it meant so much to me. He said, ‘I don’t know what job you’ll get but be the best you can’. It was choice of passion not common sense.”

  • Does it require sometimes thinking outside the square?

“Absolutely. As GB Shaw said, ‘the golden rule is there is no golden rule’. I was always mindful of what was happening in the industry and how I was positioned with regard to changes. Musicians actually have a lot of portability to their knowledge and skills.”

  • Are straight paths in music a bit of a myth, and ‘wiggly paths’ more the reality now?

“This is an important piece of advice for beginning musicians – all successful musicians have had a blend of skills and activities as they developed their careers. In fact, the straighter the path the less sustainable the career. We work in an industry that has significant impact from technology and changes rapidly.”

  • Any further advice for young people setting out in music?

“A qualification is a good idea. It doesn’t guarantee success but it does provide a structured start to a career and is the first place you will develop your professional networks. Networks that will be important for your career. A qualification is also important when working outside music circles.”


Institutions cited

Sydney Conservatorium of Music – part of the University of Sydney: degree courses and graduate programs in performance, conducting, jazz, music education, musicology
Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music – part of the University of Tasmania: degree courses and graduate programs in performance, composition, music education, musicology
Australian Institute of Music – Sydney and Melbourne: diploma, degree and masters courses in music
Australian College of the Arts, Collarts – Melbourne: degrees in performance, audio production, entertainment management

Credit: Written by Graham Strahle

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