IgniteLAB is a world-class professional development program which supports students of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to dream and design sustainable creative careers.

We understand that musicians in the 21st century are required to have a wide range of skills beyond their artistic excellence to thrive on and beyond the stage. Our IgniteLAB program supports the development of creative entrepreneurship and enterprise skills from the first day of our students' journey so that our graduates are prepared to create their own opportunities.

IgniteLAB is designed to provide each student with individualised resources to help them develop and reach their own unique artistic and career goals. The program is delivered through extracurricular workshops, individual career advising and a variety of funded internship and curatorial opportunities.

New for 2018

IgniteLAB was granted funding to create a new range of internships and initiatives designed to build graduate employability. This new project will be administered by two newly created, paid IgniteLAB Student Interns who will be mentored by Susan de Weger, Associate Lecturer in Music (Entrepreneurship) through the development, delivery and acquittal of this project.

Throughout the year, any MCM student can present a case for $1,000 stipend to work as a Community Teaching Artist or Community Music Organisation Intern. Additionally, IgniteLAB will support the new Melbourne Conservatorium All State Band initiative to offer paid administration and ensemble management intern opportunities.

Workshops Semester 1 2018 

22 and 23 February: Chamber Challenge with Zoe Knighton (Founder, Flinders Quartet), Tamara Kohler (Founder, Rubiks Collective), Ingrid Martin (Conductor and Artistic Director, VYSO) and Nicole TJ (Founder, anon).

A two-day business development program for existing or new chamber music ensembles. This event helps groups to build the skills to make the leap from student performers to professional ensemble with a vision, strategy and goals.

This selective program will offer a maximum of 5 ensembles the opportunity to participate in workshops to build skills in strategy, branding, marketing and audience development. Groups will pitch their business model to a panel of industry experts, with the panel awarding the prize of $3,000 for the ensemble to implement their strategy in 2018.

8 March: Build Your Teaching Studio with Tim Topham

Tim Topham is an internationally-renowned music educator, piano teacher, writer and presenter. Through his blog at timtopham.com, Tim regularly inspires over 8000 teachers across the globe with his imaginative teaching tips and ideas. Join Tim to design your roadmap to build and maintain a private teaching studio

21 March: Fulltime Freelance with Thea Rossen

Thea Rossen is a percussionist, creator and educator based in Melbourne, Australia. She is co-founder of the Ad Lib Collective an ensemble focussed on presenting new Australian music to audiences through commissions, performance, outreach and concert curation. Join Thea to design your career roadmap and the business behind working as a performer, educator, community teaching artist and curator.

19 April: The Business of Composing for the Screen with Tom Rouch

Tom Rouch is an award-winning composer, session guitarist and music producer. His feature film score for the crime thriller The Reckoning won the award for Best Music at the British Independent Film Festival 2014 and he received a nomination for Best Music For a Documentary at the 2016 APRA-AGSC Film music awards for his score to The Will To Fly. Join Tom to design your career roadmap and understand the business behind working as a freelance commercial screen composer.

10 May:  Musicians Personal Finance with Dianne Steller

Dianne Steller MIPA BComm is an active accountant in Melbourne, with a passion for the arts. From her early days as a passionate but untalented cellist in secondary school, she pursued a career in arts finance and held the position of Finance Manager for the Victorian Arts Centre. Join Dianne to learn good financial habits, how to manage money in a freelance career and create a personalised plan to support your creative career aspirations.

Individual advising

Every MCM student has access to free career advising with Susan de Weger, Associate Lecturer in Music (Entrepreneurship). These individual advising sessions can cover any career-related topic from bio writing and resumes, creating an artist website, starting a private teaching studio, applying for grants, scholarships or further study, applying for teaching or music management roles, career direction and artistic goals.

Book an appointment. 

Creativity Fund

The IgniteLAB Creativity Funds grants $10,000 to fund innovative and impactful projects and help students develop skills critical to their success. Students are coached through every step of the grant process, from first draft to pitch, project delivery and acquittal by the IgniteLAB team.

Our 2018 Creativity Fund awardees are:

  • Wayne Kington for the Mindfulness Orchestra Project 
  • Hudson Wallis-Grant for work on a new system of guitar pickups
  • Alexander Clayton and the Six Four Ensemble 
  • Chris Pickering and Jackson Fumburger for New Stage composition commissions for performance
  • Brienne Gawler for the “Beyond the Notes” workshop 
  • Patrick Telfer for "Little Music Lab” 
  • Stephanie Heather for “Palomina” 
  • Asher Elazary for “Aegis” inter-disciplanry performance and art 
  • Kiya van der Linder-Kian for the "Scored” Podcast 
  • Tim Hassall for "Follow the Music” Podcast 

                  More information

                  Visit the IgniteLab Facebook page for current event details.


                  Susan de Weger
                  Associate Lecturer in Music (Entrepreneurship)