Emily Pritchard’s passion for music, her perseverance and the opportunities presented by Victoria University (VU), have taken her all the way to Chongqing, China where she is teaching and performing.

We caught up with Emily to find out how music helped her to overcome personal hurdles and forge a successful career from her talent.

Emily's story

When you chat with Emily, it's unmistakable the positive influence music has on every aspect of her life, and now, she is making a living doing what she loves on the other side of the world.

How did your study journey begin?

“I fell in love with Kindred Studios after coming from a rather intimidating audition at VCA. The environment at VU was welcoming, and the teachers who heard my audition were warm and made me feel like a person and not just a number.”

“As a mature-age student, I had some life and work experience but was still lacking in confidence as a performer and wanted to become a better musician”

How did you get experience performing during your studies?

“I played in bands and did some solo gigs at VU’s different campuses which was great. I would have loved to get into more of the Visual Art projects and have more to do with MetroWest but at the time living far away (in Koo Wee Rup, regional Vic) made it difficult.”

Who or what inspired you during your studies?

“I loved being around Footscray and the VU Library, I really loved that I was able to pick Visual Arts as my minor in my Bachelor of Music. The course coordinators Dr Robert Bell and Dr Greg Aronson were just amazing people, super supportive and motivating.

During my Advanced Diploma in Music I got to hear a lecture from Tony Mantz from Deluxe Mastering who I became acquainted with after I reached out to thank him for the talk and inform him of it’s lasting impact on me. He offered solid support and great advice.”

What helped keep you motivated?

“I felt like quitting many times. I was going through anxiety and depression, financial hardship, travelling long distances every day for classes, dealing with loss of family members, helping to care for others and was also in a long distance relationship. My sister welcomed me to live with her in Koo Wee Rup (Vic) so I took the V-Line bus to Melbourne each day. I am eternally grateful to her, my partner, my parents and my extended family and friends for supporting me through meals, giving advice, lifts, proof reading, hearing my work and coming to my gigs.

My Nan was ultimately the thing that helped me drag myself to the finish. She was battling three different types of cancer with such radiant positivity. She used to say to me, when she would have a bad day and felt like staying in bed, “You’ve just got to get on with it!” She was right, and she is still fighting!”

What does music do for you?

“I love music as an art and as therapy, it just completes me. I appreciate all styles from classical to punk, folk to rock and – well – all of it! I just love music for music’s sake.

While teaching myself, I would get enormous therapy from figuring out how to play my favourite songs by No Doubt, the Cranberries, Green Day and Nirvana alone in my room. The lyrics and melodies of those songs spoke to me at that age and when I struck a chord that harmonised with my voice it would soothe me emotionally.

Where did your love of music come from?

“I always loved to sing, and I had a one single with an instrumental track that I would sing along to (a Britney Spears tune, I believe!). But it got so scratched it wouldn’t play anymore. So that’s why I taught myself to play the guitar!

My parents bought me a guitar for my fourteenth birthday, which came with a couple of free lessons, and once I’d had those I figured it out on my own and started writing my own songs.

My mum is a beautiful singer and my Dad and uncles shared with me a love of the guitar. I knew all my parents’ favourite ‘golden oldies’ so, I would lead their rowdy sing-alongs to Neil Young, Credence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Aussie Crawl and Crowded House.”

What’s next now you’re living in China?

“Getting good uni results ensured I was qualified to move to China where my fiancé is studying for his masters degree.

Here I am working for an established music training school in the city of Chongqing and am also planning to open my own business next year. I hope to come back to Australia to study a Master of Arts at VU within the next five years – and start a family.”

Performing with passion at Kindred Studios.

Pure joy! Emily teaches music to children in China

Want to find out more?

Did you know with course pathways at VU, you can study your dream course, regardless of your ATAR or educational background?

Emily completed the Advanced Diploma of Music CUS60109 (course no longer offered; see Advanced Diploma of Music Industry CUA60515) which gave her a year of course credits to enter directly into the second year of the Bachelor of Music.

If you successfully complete an approved pathway TAFE course via Victoria University Polytechnic, you can use your course credits (up to two years) towards your degree.


Writer: Jessica Jury