A love of both listening to and playing music is already setting the rhythm for Mia Nolland's future. Growing up surrounded by the different styles and genres of songs, it was inevitable that Mia would find a way to become involved in music. Taking another step in the world of rhythm and beats, she was recently awarded for her achievements, taking out the 2021 Composer Prize Award as part of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra's Connect Compose Project. It's likely just the beginning for this budding musician who plans to incorporate music into her career.
During the QSO Connect Compose Project, Mia took part in workshops and lessons which introduced secondary-school students to composing for orchestral instruments. Only 3 students were selected from each school to have the opportunity of finalising their piece with Mia one of the lucky ones chosen, describing the whole experience as an eye-opener.
“I am honoured to have gained the chance to learn and work alongside professionals such as the Queensland Symphony Orchestra," she says. “My finished piece was performed by a string quartet and it was incredible to be able to hear the finished product performed by professional musicians, instead of listening to a computerised version. It can be difficult to imagine the final piece, when working with computerised composing programs."
Although she only picked up and played her first instrument, the clarinet, when she was in grade 4, it seems music had already started carving a path for Mia long before that. Along with still playing the clarinet after 8 years, Mia also now plays the saxophone.
“I consider music a massive part of my life because I grew up with it," she says. “I remember when I was younger, being in the kitchen dancing and singing to music with my family that was blasting from our old computer.
“Even now I love a wide range of different types of music from rock or heavy metal to film and game music or even foreign music to jazz.
“Some examples of artists I like include Linkin Park, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bear McCreary, and Jason Mraz."
Still coming to terms with her big achievement, Mia admits she didn't even expect to be a part of the QSO program to begin with. She also very much has the full backing and support of her proud family.
“When I first was told of the QSO program, I was excited and very curious about it although I had no expectations of getting in or even winning an award," she says. “Now, I am still in a bit of shock and disbelief, but even more so, very happy and proud. As is my family, who are very impressed with what I have created and they feel as if my award is frame worthy!"
Even at such a young and impressionable age, Mia already draws on the world around her as her place of inspiration to create music. There's no one person or thing that she turns to, rather using everything at her disposal.
“Many people and things inspire me," she says. “Even the piece I created for the QSO performance was based off of wildfires and was inspired by film and game music and composers."
Mia knew early on that she wanted to make music, even downloading free music maker apps to see what she could create. Taking music as a subject in high school has also enhanced her knowledge and love for music composition. Her recent award win is also another step in the direction of one day heading down the path of following a long-held dream.
“My goal and dream has been to become a professional musician in the military," she says. “However my goal in life is to always try new things, get involved in everything and learn as much as I can. So, hopefully I can accomplish and experience so much more."