Music is Life

James Muller was awarded the Middle School Musician of the Year for 2023. James performs at an exceptionally high standard on more than one instrument and is dedicated to his craft, investing hours of time perfecting his technical ability. He has demonstrated outstanding musicianship at all rehearsals and performances, is a member of multiple ensembles, and shows outstanding leadership qualities. We asked James about his music journey so far:

What do you plan to do with your music in 2024?

Having just completed my AMEB Year 8 alto saxophone exam, I’m planning on completing an AMusA examination in 2024. I’m also working towards completing my AMEB Grade 8 exam for clarinet in early 2024, and potentially auditioning for the Queensland Youth Orchestra later in the year.

What instruments do you play and how much do you play and rehearse?

I’ve been playing the clarinet since Year 4, and I also picked up the alto saxophone along the way in Year 6. I’ve also played the baritone and soprano saxophones for the jazz bands at ATC. I have a lesson for both instruments once each week and rehearsals in a number of the school bands I’m associated with. I aim to play one or both of my instruments for around 20 minutes every second day, with longer sessions on weekends.

What are some of your key music achievements and awards?

I have completed a number of AMEB exams on both of my instruments, with the highest current alto sax grade being 8 and clarinet grade being 6, in which I have received at least a distinction for every exam. I’ve also participated in both SHEP and AHEP for clarinet, and have received numerous woodwind awards at the Celebration of Excellence awards night.

What was your favourite performance so far?

I think my most favourite performance so far has been at Jazz By the River – an annual concert with over a thousand people in the audience. I played 1st alto sax for the Jazz Orchestra, as well as playing clarinet and soprano sax solos. The overall atmosphere of the event was an experience in itself, and I’ll never forget it, as the sun went down and the lighting set the ambience for a great night of music.

Do you plan on making music part of your career?

Currently being in Year 9, I’m not entirely sure where my career path is headed, but I am very sure that playing music will always be a part of my life.

Is there another instrument you want to learn?

Over the years, I have been passively playing and teaching myself the piano and the drums, and I’ve recently taken out my mum’s flute and have been trying to teach myself that too! Going into 2024, I plan of having having flute lessons.

Who is your favourite music teacher?

Over my schooling journey, I’ve been taught clarinet by Ms. Esbensen and saxophone by Mr. Bolt, and I couldn’t possibly choose between the two! I’m grateful to both of them for introducing me to a love of all things woodwind and music. They are so passionate about teaching music, and they have been with me since I picked up both instruments.

If your son is interested in learning an instrument, please email