Harper Dawson

Harper Dawson: Accelerando

For year 10-12 students at Government Schools wanting to accelerate their music studies with behind-the-scenes training, music workshops, instrumental lessons, concert access, and the opportunity to perform in the Primrose Potter Salon, our free year-long development program Accelerando gives talented young musicians an industry advantage.

Alto saxophonist, Harper Dawson is in her final year of the program, having started in Accelerando in 2017.

When did you start playing the alto sax?

I first picked up the alto sax when I was in grade six in 2013 and I’ve never put it down since then.

Why did you choose this instrument?

I enjoy answering this question because I actually have an interesting story behind it! When I was younger, I loved to sing and I always wanted to be a famous singer. An opportunity came up for me to audition for a soul band for young girls in Geelong, so I decided to audition as a vocalist. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the cut as a singer, but the panel liked something about my attitude and asked me if I would be willing to learn the saxophone. I was so keen to be in the band that I agreed and here we are almost seven years later.

Why did you decide to audition for the Accelerando Program?

My music teacher at school gave me an application form to look at and the opportunity just seemed too good to pass up.

How long have you been in the Accelerando program and what has been the best thing you’ve learnt so far?

I have been in the Accelerando program for three years now and have made some wonderful connections with fellow musicians and mentors over the years. The best thing that I have learnt during my time in the program is to never doubt my abilities, and to be able to see my accomplishments and achievements as really valuable and special. It can be easy to get stuck comparing yourself to those around you, but this program has taught me to take a step back and remember that everyone is different, everyone has different skills and interests, yet what is most important is our shared passion for music.

How does it feel to play in the Primrose Potter Salon at Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the end of year recital for Accelerando?

It is incredible to have the opportunity to showcase all of the hard work that you have put into your music practice over the year, and to share with family and friends in such a lovely building just makes the experience even better. It’s lovely to be able to see all of the fellow Accelerando musicians perform, and the complete range of styles is incredible. It’s definitely a night that I look forward to all year.

What do you like to do outside of practicing music?

I really enjoy reading and writing, as well as hanging out with my dogs.

Any advice for 2020 Accelerando applicants?

My advice would be to take all of the opportunities that you are given in this program. It is not often that you get to access all kinds of free concerts, lessons, masterclasses and workshops, so try to soak up as much of it as you can. Push yourself to think outside the box because there are so many opportunities that can be given to you.