2017 Reflection

A reflection on the past year

Ah 2017, what a year. As the year closes with the festive season, there is no better time to think back to all the things that have happened for me.

Music

The year started off with a trip up to Bright in the far North of Victoria, where I spent a week at the Bright Tuba and Euphonium Festival. I found this to be a fantastic learning opportunity, and I continue to put into practice what I learned from tubists Tim Buzbee and Roland Szentpali over my time there. While the festival will not be running next year, I will be still heading up to Bright for a different camp, the Bright Brass and Percussion Summer Intensive (quite the mouthful!), hosted by the wonderful Phillipa Edwards and Jamie Lawson of the Footscray Yarraville City Band.

Leading on from that, I joined Western Brass and starting playing lead euphonium with them. Over the course of the year, I’ve slowly become more accustomed to the hour long train travel to get to the band hall in Footscray, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to play under band director Erin Ellenburg. For the first time, I’ve had the opportunity to compete in the Victorian State Band Championships and Victorian Solo Championship as a member of the Victorian Bands League. While solo performance wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I was proud when Western Brass placed second in the C grade brass bands. A proud achievement in my books. The test piece, “Dimensions” by Peter Graham was also a joy to play, offering me multiple opportunities to flourish as a soloist.

Some other highlights over the year included marching in the Grand Final Parade to help the Hyde Street Youth Band, and the Winter Showcase that I played with the Glen Eira Youth Orchestra. Playing with the City of Glen Eira Brass Band continues to be a pleasure, as a non-competing community band where I can play for purely for enjoyment.

University

I also managed to survive my first year of university, meeting many new friends along the way. Studying Computer Science at Monash has so far been a great enjoyment for me, as I’ve set off on the path of becoming a software developer programmer computer engineer cool computer-y guy (who knows what the proper job title is anymore).

A particular highlight for the year was the research project I was able to complete as part of the Honours stream. Working with Matt Buttler from SensiLab, I explored various methods to creating more accessible 3D models for those with vision impairments. You can read more of that in the report I wrote for the subject. Although I ended up dropping down the regular stream of Computer Science, this research project was a fantastic learning experience for me. Coming out of it, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the importance of accessibility, and I hope to apply my knowledge going forward.

Coming into my first year at Monash, I also took the opportunity to join up with WIRED, the IT student society. I had great fun at their events, in particular the tech talks they ran and their self-hosted hackathon Unihack Mini. At the AGM, I was elected to the role of Marketing Officer, so I look forward to helping run WIRED for 2018 and continuing to make the IT student experience at Monash great!

Outside of continuing a strong academic performance, I also took part in several ‘hackathons’ with my peers, even managing to take out a prize at UniHack 2017 with the Bosch IoT Award at Unihack Mini. (Read more here).

As the year neared a close, my friend Eric suggested I apply for a position on the team at MonPlan, as a frontend developer. As a part of this, I started learning React/Redux for building web applications. In the end, I was offered a position on the team, so with the new year I can look forward to working in a proper software developer role for the university!

Moving Forward

As 2018 nears, I look forward to continuing to maintain a standard of excellence. With my new job at monPlan, the nearing Australian National Band Championships over the Easter weekend, and a whole year of university coming up, 2018 looks to be big, busy and exciting as always!

I welcome the challenge!