Insight

From Bluey to Ed Sheeran: Alex turns volume up on her career

Alex Reaper is a 23 year old audio engineer who has worked on shows around Queensland featuring Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Lorde, Elton John, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, U2, Snoop Dog, Queen, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Bon Iver. The SAE graduate shared how her time studying propelled her to work on Bluey and with some of the world’s greatest artists.
Woman sits in chair and loops into distance. Her arm hovers above a mixing slider console. A keyboard and mouse is at her elbow on the desk.

SAE audio gradS work experience

During her five year career, Alex has worked on over 200 shows, including Ed Sheeran’s record breaking Australian tour earlier this year.

“I was with the touring crew for eight days, and a team of us would be putting up six steel masts, working with almost eight kilometres of power cables, and we’d be doing everything from audio to lighting,” Alex said.

“I got the chance to chat to Ed, and he was lovely,” she said. “He was so grateful for what we do, because he was well aware of how big the production is – it’s massive!”

Student life at SAE

Alex did the accelerated two year Bachelor of Audio degree at SAE Brisbane. The transferable skills that she learnt at SAE, helped her secure paid employment in the live music industry. “Learning about teamwork and organisation – you can’t underestimate how valuable that is.”

The growth of her audio and communication skills while studying, Alex explained, made her the audio engineer and person she is today.

“Aside from learning the fundamental audio skills that you need to be successful in live sound, being able to build on my interpersonal skills changed my life,” she said. “There’s no way I could have stepped into the industry and have the career I’ve had so far, without those experiences at SAE.”

Learning from experienced audio lecturers who have been there and done it in the industry, was of real benefit to Alex to get where she is now.

“I really loved talking to the lecturers about live sound and networking,” she said. “They were really knowledgeable about the industry, and didn’t sugar coat it, which was what I needed.”

Building connections

The value of networking was repaid when Alex got the opportunity to work on the hit tv series, Bluey.

“I wouldn’t have got that gig if it wasn’t for one of the lecturers recommending an APRA meeting promoting females in the industry, back in 2017,” she said. “I was the only one from my cohort who went, where I met a lady called Jazz.”

Then in 2020, Alex got a message from Jazz to meet about her job at Ludo Studios, as Jazz was moving to work on a feature film.

“She was so impressed at that APRA meeting in 2017 that she recommended me to step into her role to partner with the animation and composition teams, and mix the audio as well as session management between disciplines on Bluey,” Alex said. “It sounds simple, but networking is critical to building connections and gaining employment opportunities.”

SAE Australia General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan commented on the value of the skills SAE’s lecturers impart on students and commended Alex on her achievements since graduating.

“SAE prides itself on lecturers who have strong industry connections, who can provide current and relevant knowledge to students, so they can be work ready upon graduation,” Dr McMillan said. “It’s fantastic to hear of successful graduates like Alex and how she’s applied the learnings – she’s an inspiration to all our current students.”

Musician sits on a chair and hands on an electric keyboard adjusting knob. Computer screen with editing software and a second keyboard to her left

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