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Business - October 2018

04 Oct 2018

Business - October 2018 Image

Music has come to Docklands – in a very big way.

“Hidden” among the retail wreckage of the old Waterfront City Piazza is JZ Centre Stage. Perhaps you’ve walked past it? Perhaps you’ve seen through the window the beautiful white piano and an abundance of “Pokemon” soft toys and thought “What the ...?”

Next time you’re walking by, step inside. It’s amazing.

There are some 11 separate studios dedicated to the teaching and the production of a range of instruments. Some 350 students visit regularly and have created a dynamic musical community.

The fit-out is luxurious and no expense has been spared. This business is definitely here for the long-term.

The studio is the brain-child of musician and businesswoman Joanna Zhong who has teamed up with well-regarded vocalist Shine Yuan to create Shine Music Studio by JZ Centre Stage.

Joanna started the business in April 2017 and joined with Shine to merge their talents into a single entity late last year.

When taking her international baccalaureate in Hobart eight years ago, she had to introduce her chosen instrument to her teacher. She has now reached full mastery of the traditional, stringed guqin.

She explained that when she arrived in Australia, she had language difficulties.

“But, when I play music, everyone understands,” she said. “I feel music is the universal language which connects all of us, no matter where you are from.”

Shine is very well known and respected in the music community. At just 29, he has won and judged just about everything there is to win.

He told Docklands News he’d had many offers of business partnerships but only a conversation with Joanna convinced him to join forces.

“I started to judge competitions and I met Joanna at one of the competitions,” he said. “She was in the audience and I was the judge. I got a message from her.”

“She asked to sit down and have a chat and we didn’t talk about money at all. We talked about education, goals, dreams and the future.”

“I believe education is not about money. Education is more about responsibility to the students and the teaching quality,” he said.

Joanna said: “As a music school, we focus on two very important things. One, of course, is the professional skills of our teachers – the educational part.”

“At the same time, interest is very important. When our students come in, we tell them: You’ve got to love music first. You’ve got to feel the music. You’ve got to love the teachers and make the connection to what music is really about.”

The studio teaches piano, guitar and violin as well as traditional Chinese instruments guzheng, erhu, pipa and guqin.

Joanna is in a unique position to have studied music as well as finance at university.

“I used finance as a tool to start up my company. I feel university is something to guide you towards what you want,” she said.

Shine started learning to sing when he was just seven years old. Until graduating from university, he’d been immersed in classical western techniques.

Nowadays, he’s following a more contemporary style.

“Now I use a combination. It’s very challenging to combine the technical classical with emotional contemporary style,” he said.

Both business partners are loving Docklands.

Joanna said: “The moment I saw Docklands, I thought, this is the area. It’s next to water and that’s calming and peaceful but it’s next to the CBD as well.”

“I’ve always said, if this place was in China, it’s crazy – people would fight to come to this place,” she said.

“The District now is happening and Hoyts cinemas are coming and more and more people are visiting. Personally, I just love it.”

She has lived in the CBD for the past three years but was very familiar with Docklands long before establishing her business here with the help of Johnson Zhang (see our story on page 6).

“I’ve always had lots of friends here. All my friends love it here. It’s a perfect place for living,” she said.

Shine said Chinese people saw water as fortune. He still lives in Abbotsford but is considering a move close to the studio.

The studio is presenting its end-of-year concert at the Camberwell Girls Grammar auditorium on October 20. Joanna said it would be helpful for people considering lessons to attend.

She said both serious students and those wanting to develop a hobby were welcome at Shine Music Studio.

“If you want to do examinations, we have professional teachers or if you want to have music as a hobby we can help with that too,” she said.

“We are a music company, and music education is a major part of that. We also do music production, performance and music therapy.”

“Music is the start of something. It is never the end.”

“It’s a huge investment, but our passion is here. And we love Docklands. We want to make some movement – create a vibe.”

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