MESS School / Course

Synth Start 2023

Jumpstart your journey into contemporary electronic sound and music production.

All classes run on Mondays from 6 to 10 pm at the MESS Studio.

Class dates:
November 13 – December 18

This course is limited to 10 places in total. Attendance is by application only. 


MESS members $495 ($82.50 p/class)
Non-members $605 ($100 p/class)

Scholarship places:
We are happy to offer 2 fully subsidised scholarship placements open to individuals with limited funds for whom the course fees represent a significant financial challenge. Please indicate on the application form if you wish to be considered for one of these 2 placements.

Please email the course coordinator.

Synth Start is a 6-class short course designed for beginner-level participants who are relatively new to synthesis and music production, including those who have little to no experience with hardware synthesisers.

This is a fun and supportive way to begin your electronic sound journey. If you’re just getting into electronic sound creation and production, this course will help to jumpstart your creative process by introducing you to the basics you need. You’ll have the opportunity to use MESS’s extensive collection of unique instruments as well as get to grips with essential software and methods. All of this is delivered with the guidance and support of a small course group who’ll be sharing the journey with you.

The course covers subtractive synthesis, creating new sounds, controlling hardware synths with software, effects, mixing basics, and moving into live performance. In the final week, participants will present sounds or a short composition created during the course to the class in an informal listening session.

In addition to supported access to the studio during class time, course fees include seven (7) self-directed 4-hour studio sessions at MESS during the course (1 session per class week).

  • All course sessions will be held at MESS in North Melbourne.
  • Classes will be held weekly on Monday nights between 6 and 10 pm. The first class is on Monday, November 13, and the final is on Monday, December 18.
  • Ideal candidates will be able to attend all course classes.
  • Each week will focus on a different subject. View the full course outline here.
  • Each session will be split between 1.5-2 hour lecture/Q&A and 2 hours of supported studio time.
  • In addition to studio access during class time, course fees also include six (6) self-directed 4-hour studio sessions at MESS during the course (1 session per class week).
  • We will use Google Classroom to share resources and course material throughout the course.

Read the Course Overview

Learn more about the course, prerequisites, requirements and class schedule.

Apply Now

Applications are open.
This course is by application only. Applications close at midnight (12:00 am) on Wednesday 1st November 2023.

Course Facilitators

Jonnine Nokes (they/them) is an artist and freelance audio engineer working across venues in Naarm (Melbourne). They have mixed and mastered music for local musicians across a wide range of genres. They have designed sound and score for theatre and dance productions, installation work, and web content. They have also worked as a synthesiser and production workshop facilitator for Melbourne Sound School.

Jonnine writes music under their current solo moniker, Horse Pills, and has composed primarily with eurorack modular synthesis for over 10 years. They have played in various electronic ensembles and under several solo guises over the past 15 years. They are currently a member of synthpunk outfit Screensaver, and formerly one half of industrial/synthwave duo Activities of Daily Living.

Jonnine is a co-founder of local record label Tender Collection, devoted to releasing queer/feminist electronic, punk and outsider music.