Take Note

We are looking for our 2024 Take Note Jazz Leader. Applications are now closed.

Now in its sixth year, Take Note is a program that addresses the underrepresentation of women and gender diverse musicians in jazz by celebrating and promoting women and gender diverse leaders on stage and in high schools across Victoria.

We believe that ‘if you can see it, you can be it’.

Women and gender diverse people are underrepresented as leaders at every level of public and creative life—including in jazz performance.

Throughout their careers women and gender diverse people are often dissuaded from pursuing creative careers and leadership roles, from secondary school through to university and into the professional sphere.

There are a multitude of reasons for this, including societal pressure regarding gendered instrumental bias and a lack of relatable role models for emerging musicians—compared to their male counterparts.

In 2019 MIJF launched this program to support the career development of a Victorian early to mid-career leader in jazz while championing diversity and encouraging high school-aged musicians to consider a career in jazz performance.

In 2023, composer and saxophonist Cheryl Durongpisitkul became MIJF’s fifth Take Note leader. I Still Miss You, her powerful new suite for 12 musicians left the sold-out audience at MIJF 2023 overcome with emotion. Durongpisitkul also led workshops with her trio Koi Kingdom in high schools across Victoria, teaching students about collaborative composition and cultivating bonds with an ensemble.

Previous Take Note leaders include Claire Cross (2019), Holly Moore (2020), Ellie Lamb (2021) and Flora Carbo (2022).


The Take Note initiative is supported by The Harry Kestin Foundation, The Robert Salzer Foundation, The Angior Family Foundation, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (University of Melbourne), Monash University and ABC Jazz.

Melbourne International Jazz Festival wishes to acknowledge the generous support provided by the late Harry Kestin, who was instrumental in conceiving this program in 2019 and beyond.


Take Note in 2024: Applications now closed

We have begun the search for an early to mid-career jazz leader to lead the Take Note program into its sixth year.

The successful candidate will receive: 

  • A $5,000 cash bursary to support the development of new original music to be presented at the 2024 Melbourne International Jazz Festival. 
  • A career development package comprising mentoring sessions and professional development shaped around the needs of the Jazz Leader. Examples of professional development may include areas such as artistic and composition development, marketing and promotion, project management, funding, etc. 
  • A performance at the 2024 Melbourne International Jazz Festival (18 – 27 October), for which the artist will be paid an additional performance fee. 
  • Rehearsal space in the lead up to the MIJF 2024 performance. 
  • Ticketing package for MIJF 2024 and networking opportunities based around Festival events. 
  • Regional and metropolitan mentoring engagements as part of the delivery of educational activities in secondary schools for which the artist will be paid an additional facilitation fee. 
  • University mentoring engagement for which the artist will be paid an additional facilitation fee. 

You are eligible to apply for Take Note if you: 

  • Are a woman or gender diverse musician 
  • Identify as an early to mid-career jazz leader 
  • Reside in Victoria 
  • Currently work as a professional musician in the Victorian jazz industry 

How do we define an early to mid-career jazz leader?

We will accept applications from anyone who self-identifies as an early to mid-career jazz leader. As a guide, you will likely have practiced professionally for less than 15 years, especially in the context of a band/ensemble leader. There are no specific age restrictions or requirements.

Applications are open until 12pm on Monday 26 February 2024.

Click here to read more about the program and download the application pack.

Submit your application via our application form here.

Any questions? Please contact Merinda Dias-Jayasinha, Festival & Programs Coordinator on merinda@melbournejazz.com or by calling (03) 9001 1388.

2024 Application Pack

Donate to support Take Note

MIJF is committed to amplifying the impact of this initiative—and aims to bring the program to a growing number of high school students throughout the year in a continued effort to promote cultural change within the sector and the broader community.

We greatly appreciate donations—big and small—towards the annual Take Note program. Your support will ensure more diverse leaders are more visible in leadership roles, inspiring the next generation of women and gender-diverse musicians to lead the way into the future.

Donations of $2 and over are tax-deductible. Donate online today or contact our team on (03) 9001 1388.

  • $50

  • $100

  • $250

  • $500

  • $1000

  • Other