When Mckenzi Scott turned up this year for her first day at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, her classmates made an enormous assumption.
"The wanted to know what we were up to on the first day the year," Ms Scott said.
Thing is, she was their classmate and not their lecturer.
And while the 51-year-old admits going back to study with 19-year-olds "took a lot of adjustment" it's a path she's wholeheartedly embraced.
But, doing things conventionally is not necessarily in Ms Scott's nature.
She left Australia and spent 17 years in Canada with dreams of pursuing an acting career. And while she did appear in films, TV shows and commercials, she kept hitting brick walls.
"Then home called. I missed my family and the ocean," she said.
Not only did she return to her family home in Wollongong, she returned to practices of old - specifically piano and the keyboard.
"Between the ages of five and 17 there weren't too many days I didn't play piano. A lot of it was driven by my mum."
She considers her reacquaintence with music one of the positives to come from "the COVID years".
Ironically it was the passing of her mum, as well as a much-loved friend from the Central Coast, that was the catalyst for her reinvention.
"My friend was a terrific support and encouraged me to return to music and keep composing."
That encouragement continued when Ms Scott took on a Certificate IV in Sound Production at TAFE NSW Wollongong where she came under the guidance of teacher John Kilbey.
"They also told me to record, record, record," she recalled.
During her studies at TAFE, Ms Scott won the prestigious 2022 Avid Award for Best Mix of Music or Composition.
That inspired her to continue recording music with traditional instruments, vocals and electronic input, as well as innovative percussion sounds using timber, glass and other household items.
Why else would you take recording gear to the glow worm tunnels at Helensburgh?
If you know the tunnels, and are into music, then you'll understand, Ms Scott insisted.
"There are big opportunities to be had in the video game sector and the need to create sounds is going to keep growing - it's a cool and interesting world!
"When you think of video game soundtracks, they are often filled with traditional and non-traditional sounds to create the emotional experience of the game - so it's not unusual that my three most recent compositions included a piano and sounds collected in disused rail tunnels in Helensburgh."
But it's not all personal experimentation as she is now working towards completing her Diploma of Music at the Conservatorium in Sydney.
Originally that meant four hours travel daily four days a week but as the year has gone on, that's down to a more manageable three days.
While her dream of playing piano backed by a full symphony orchestra has remained, there's now more to it - digital production, film and multimedia.
"That's where TAFE has changed me," Ms Scott said.
The sound production course gave her a window into a world once little known to musicians - the video game industry.
One Australian careers website lists creating soundscapes for the video game industry as one of the 10 hottest jobs for gamers. It's a fact not lost on Ms Scott.
"My focus is to create and share music that melds the acoustic and digital world, all while maintaining a connection to the soul."
And the games sector could just be an ideal space, her TAFE teacher John Kilbey said.
"Mckenzi's goal to use her talent to build a career in the booming games sector perfectly demonstrates the range of opportunity that exists - from recording artists through to producers or technicians - just to name a few."
Ms Scott's most recent compositions, Clove, The Siren and Peony, are available on SoundCloud.
"The best news is that people 30, 30 or 50 can restart. You can, quite literally, retsrta you life at any day of your life - it's up to you."
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