Sonja Van den berg Sydney, NSW - TAFE WSI Skip to content Skip to page navigation

Music and Entertainment

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Sonja Van den berg

What you studied: Advanced Diploma Music (Performance)

Graduated: 2006

Current position in the industry: Freelance Sound Engineer and Bass Guitarist

How did you get where you are today?

By having a good work, building networks, being multi-skilled and adaptable. I gain work both in the technical and performance fields by word of mouth. I was offered my first industry job by inadvertently offering to help my (unbeknownst at the time) boss run sound at a gig I was playing at. She then got me booking bands and running sound for her events all over Sydney. With networking skills I was able to repeat the process of meeting people in Melbourne and once again grow my freelance ventures into a full time job: both as a performer (live and studio) and as a live engineer for pubs, festivals and other productions.

What do you like most about your career?

I enjoy working with people, and the industry is a very people driven one. I also enjoy being part of the creative process and making things happen.

What did you like most about being at TAFE?

I've made many lasting friends and certainly some of us have worked together after we graduated. The teacher's were very helpful in grounding and growing us, and I'm thankful for the wide variety of skills they have taught.

What advice would you give someone who’s considering studying at WSI Entertainment?

Get to know your peers well and help each other grow. They are your first contacts in the industry.

What advice would you give a TAFE student trying to break into the music industry?

Be pro-active. Be involved in as much as you can, and hone your skills. Meet people and get to know them.

Has networking played a role in your success?

As said above, absolutely. Industry jobs rarely (if ever) exist on seek.

Do you hire people, subcontractors, employees?

No I am a subcontractor. I work with professional people who really enjoy what they do. And I learn a ot while I'm at it.

How important is time management in your life?

Very important. Juggling lots of different employers can be tricky (and lots of paperwork!) so it's important to allocate time to different tasks and also include time for yourself/family to keep things in balance.

What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?

This is the digital age. So be tech savvy. Learn how to use social media and the internet to promote your music of you're a performer. Many people use smartphones these days too. So take advantage of ways to make your music accessible on the move as well.

What characteristics or skills set you apart from your peers and enable you to be successful and / or forge a career in the industry?

Being multi skilled is important. But being friendly and easy to work with is just as important.

If you could turn back time and be back at TAFE, what would you do differently?

I would have become more involved in organising events and getting experience back then.