UNSW's Visual Content Team and the Music Performance Unit worked together to bring project 'Empathy' to life. Performing an original work by Brendon John Warner, the music supports a soon to be released animation short that promotes the value of students looking out for each other and how even the smallest of acts can help someone in need. You can check out the performance and an interview with flautist Nadia Hui, who speaks about the message of 'Empathy'.
- Please introduce yourself!
Hi! My name is Nadia and I am a first year student studying Medicine at UNSW. Other than going to anatomy pracs and talking to patients, I love playing the flute and piano, as music has been my passion since I can remember. Having played the flute for around 12 years, I have experienced the joys of music performance throughout my life. It has taught me so much about resilience, determination, and growth. I also enjoy hanging out with friends, playing tennis, and going for walks to see the sunset in my spare time!
- What do you think the main message of the Empathy project was about?
I think the main message of the Empathy project was to raise awareness about the importance of fostering a healthy and supportive environment at uni. Mental health and wellbeing is a huge aspect of uni life, as young adults begin to navigate their own lives. This project aims to support positive wellbeing in students through music and a simple video. This can brighten up one’s day and be a constant reminder that it is okay to feel down sometimes. It also emphasises the importance of looking out for one another because it is difficult to know when someone is struggling.
- What was the creative process for this project? i.e. rehearsal, performing, filming process
The creative process for this project was very unique. We rehearsed the piece many times before recording the audio, to make sure that we could capture the nuances of the music as well as the changes in harmony. Since we could not see our music when the smoke machines and different lighting were on, we had to record the audio first before filming. This was a very valuable experience as it helped me to appreciate the creativity and initiative that was needed to make this project so successful.
- Did you have a favourite moment while preparing for this project?
My favourite moment while preparing for this project was definitely during the filming process. Having the cameras around us while we were playing in many different positions was an experience I have never had. It was so interesting to see the different camera angles and shots that could be taken to create the final product. The lighting, smoke and curtains during the filming process also created an atmosphere that tracked the mood changes within the music. It felt so real playing with so much emotion to try to convey the main atmosphere of the Empathy project.
- What do you wish the audience got out of it?
I wish the audience can realise that raising awareness about the importance of empathy does not just come through words but can also be achieved through simple acts of music and creativity such as a project like this. I also wish that the audience can appreciate the importance of looking out for the mental wellbeing of those around them as well as themselves. This can help to foster a nurturing uni environment where everyone feels supported and not judged.
- Which qualities do you think makes a great musician and why?
I think that great musicians have incredible resilience. To be able to practice regularly and constantly find ways to overcome obstacles when learning pieces is a skill that is always being developed even in the most advanced musicians. And to do this, one must have resilience to keep going even after any challenges or setbacks. A great musician also loves playing music not for the recognition of others but for their own comfort and passion. This is something that I realised during my musical journey, and I found that to really become a great musician, you have to enjoy the music that you play and find passion in it.
Everyone can play a part in Wellbeing and UNSW offers a range of support services for its students. More information can be found here.
Head of Culture - Sonia Martin
Conductor – Alex Siegers
Flutes – Nadia Hui; Andrew Carter
Violins – Basil Ong, Natalie Liu
Viola – Lara van den Dolder
Cello – Kathryn Dalton
Piano – Reika Suzuki-Macklin
Audio engineer – Mark Mitchell
Esme Timbrey Studio - Paul Matthews
Visual Content: Lee Henderson, Marty Jamieson, Richard Freeman, Aleks Wynne, Jake Willis.
Special thanks also to Sandersan Onie, Roisin Trainor, and Cameron Faricy for their ideas, support, and experience.