Northern College of Arts and Technology is a training institution like no other. Sure, there are training colleges around Melbourne, but the expertise and commitment at NCAT is something you may not find elsewhere. Walking through the front doors, no matter what study course you are undertaking, the warm and friendly nature in which you are greeted makes NCAT feel like a second home.

From songwriting to mixing a live gig, producing music in the studio to performing, NCAT give students the opportunity to enhance their skillset in whichever pathway they choose. Together with the expertise of industry professionals, studying at NCAT is one of the best education choices around. Friendly staff and world-class facilities combine to give you the opportunity to shine in whatever field you want.
NCAT has various study pathways in the music department including Music Performance, Technical Production and Musical Instrument Making, each made up of subjects that are both engaging and challenging.
On Saturday September 10 all of these music disciplines will come together with the whole school as part of Couch Fest 2016, to celebrate the performance achievements from these courses, with 4 stages, 27 bands, food stalls, art sales and recycling workshops.
A Student Perspective
It’s funny to think about what 2016 would’ve held for me, had I not have taken up the Certificate IV in Music Performance at the Northern College of Arts and Technology.
Walking through the front doors in 2015 I remember fondly being greeted with genuine warmth and a smile as I auditioned for the course. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s easy to see that this is the greatest thing I have done and it has become a second home.
The opportunity to be surrounded by likeminded people in an institution that helps you craft your individual career and product is something that still astounds me. Regardless of music preference, to be in a room with people that are there to develop their craft as musicians, is incredibly inspiring. Developing skills in recording, songwriting, music theory as well as career development, this course equips you with the skills to make it work as a professional musician. Some strive to become session musicians, some want to become media and public relations personnel and others want to sell their songs to big time musicians. At NCAT all of this possible.
With the support of industry professionals, headed in part by Rebecca Barnard, the end result of a Certificate IV at NCAT, is a performance tour at venues along the Great Ocean Road as well as a fully recorded, mixed and mastered EP from the in-house studio and production facilities. Combined with projects incorporating the photography and design students, I feel that at the end of the year, I’m going to be equipped with everything I need to tackle being a musician in the Melbourne music scene.
Guitar Building
There are a number of hobby courses around the country, but the Northern College of the Arts & Technology (NCAT) is the only place in Australia where students can gain a nationally recognised qualification. NCAT run a full-time Certificate IV course that involves study in Instrument Construction, Setup & Repair, Drawing and Design, 3D Modelling and Business Studies.
Program manager Bon Nardella leads a team of highly experienced teaching staff to deliver the program, accompanied by a selection of specialist guest speakers. Tours to industry locations, including Maton Australia and Cole Clark Guitars are also an integral part of the course. As a professional component of the program, students are given the opportunity to complete a five-day work placement with one of NCAT’s industry partners. Many of the graduating students are successful in gaining employment with either of these two major manufacturers. Alternatively, graduates can work as a guitar technician – having obtained the skills and knowledge to provide setup and repair work – or as an independent luthier. Graduating students also leave with their own hand-built Tele style electric, dreadnaught acoustic, or a custom-designed guitar.
As NCAT is a government-funded program there are no tuition fees, with costs incurred by students limited to materials charged. Students up to the age of 21 can access the program for $2500. This covers all of the materials and access to equipment. Mature age students are also welcome.
The college has a state-of-the-art technology centre, filled with high-end machinery including CNC routers and a number of laser machines. These sit alongside traditional woodworking and guitar making equipment. This gives students the opportunity to gain exposure to traditional instrument making methods, right through to the latest mass production processes. The instrument making philosophy at NCAT exposes students to both ends of the guitar construction spectrum, empowering them with the knowledge to utilise all methodologies appropriately.
In addition to the full-time programs, NCAT are now offering evening guitar and ukulele building classes, as well as a 10 day Italian guitar making experience in Verona.

Enquires can be made by contacting the college or visiting the NCAT website at ncat.vic.edu.au, where direct online application can be made.