Culture //

Miss music jams? Have your cake and eat it too

An overview of music societies on campus

In 2020, the performing arts were among the first of many sectors to be decimated by COVID-19. But many university students are yearning to throw themselves back into the live music scene – according to the 2016 Australian Music Consumer Report, 46% of males aged 16-24 attended a live music concert at least once a month. Maybe the solution is under their noses. USyd’s 14 music societies are welcoming new creatives this year – whether you want to relive your band kid days, live your classical fantasy, become a triple threat in a musical or just jam with your mates, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a list of all the musical societies on campus, with interviews from their spokespeople.


Popular with band kids and Conservatorium students, BarberSoc is an a cappella society that has a passion for barber shop quartet music. They welcome people who “love to sing, experiment, and arrange, in a safe and warm community where learning is a priority”, and encourage people of all musical levels to “learn, collaborate and perform in different ensembles”. 

Chinese Dance and Musical Instrument Society

This society explores a rich array of styles, varying from “Chinese classical and folk styles, contemporary, jazz, and K-pop”. Whether you want to learn some fresh, original choreography for your favourite K-pop songs, or learn a new Chinese traditional instrument, this WeChat-based community has you covered. 

Conservatorium Students Association (CSA)

For those interested in providing support and events for Conservatorium students, the official faculty society for USyd music students “truly is the one stop shop for support on campus and drinks off campus”. The CSA is for you if you’re looking to foster your leadership as a musician. 

Hip Hop Appreciation Society (SUHHAS)

SUHHAS attracts rappers, producers and students who are looking for a “fun, relaxed environment full of passionate people”, and features styles ranging from Soundcloud to Oldhead. SUHHAS is “a very young society with a small, friendly and involved exec team”, with students of all musical backgrounds welcome. 

Jamming Society (UniJam)

With no required admission fee and musicians ranging from “complete beginners with a love for music” to experienced players, UniJam is a great place to ”showcase your talents and help you develop your own musical career,” while also meeting new friends along the way. 

Jazz Society (JazzSoc)

JazzSoc comprises both jazz performers and listeners who “have regular meet-ups at jazz clubs close to campus.” JazzSoc promises “a fun chance to get back into live music after lockdown… hold[ing] gigs for all [their] bands throughout the year” for both society members and the public to enjoy. 

Madrigal Society (MADS)

Composed of 15-25 members, this friendly Renaissance choir loves to sing historical music for fun in small, casual rehearsals. MADS representatives are looking forward to “picnics, pub hangouts, and casual outdoor sings” now that the quarantine restrictions have been lifted.

Musical Society (SUMS) 

At 142 years of age, SUMS is a “non-audition choir for everyone regardless of musical ability”. Similar to MADS, SUMS has a “great social atmosphere packed with pub visits, camps and more”. 

Musical Theatre Ensemble (MUSE)

For musical enthusiasts, MUSE is for you! MUSE is a great opportunity to play along to your favourite musicals while being involved in an orchestral setting. The society also runs “showcases, open mics, masterclasses, panel discussions, viewing parties, meetings and workshops.” 

Marching Band Association (SUMBA)

SUMBA has a focus on “inclusive, fun and social music-making”. Leaving out an audition process for accessibility, SUMBA’s rehearsals often feature free pizza and lots of opportunities to “socialise, providing a fun, relaxed atmosphere to get to know other members”. 

Piano Society (PianoSoc)

PianoSoc celebrates a passion for piano music, from classical and jazz to pop and contemporary. Piano jams are encouraged, while meetups “have free pizza and drinks”. PianoSoc representatives have emphasised that they “try to be a place where music students, amateurs, and people who’ve never played an instrument before can meet and enjoy music”, with the icing on the cake of free membership. 

Wind Orchestra (SUWO)

SUWO is the band kid’s dream of an “enthusiastic and welcoming bunch playing traditional, and not so traditional, wind band repertoire” hoping to begin rehearsals soon if COVID-19 permits.

Youth Music Mission

Youth Music Mission is a go-to for students looking for a Christian community to jam with. They also organise various outdoor activities like coastal walks, performances and volunteering with the community.

Sydney University Symphony Orchestra (SUSO)

SUSO is another large society for students interested in classical music “uniting to… enjoy each other’s company at our social events (including an annual camp)”, however due to COVID-19 and subsequent funding cuts, the society has delayed further auditions to the end of semester one.