Michael Franklin-Browne recently returned to live in his home town after a 25 year absence and likes what he finds here.

The upbeat muso is Whanganui UCOL's contemporary music lecturer and drummer for Head Like a Hole.

"I have loved coming back to Whanganui and seeing the music community thrive. The UCOL music course is a great addition to the local music landscape," he said.

Mr Franklin-Browne left Whanganui as an 18-year-old and studied at Massey University where he became drummer with Wellington rock band Head Like a Hole.


The band released a new album last year and played a Whanganui gig at the Riverside Bar in April this year.

After living in Auckland for many years, Mr Franklin-Browne says it is great not to have to battle the traffic when he takes his children to Saturday sports.

"My partner has lived her life in Hong Kong and Auckland and she was doubtful about moving here but she loves it and I think I would have trouble convincing her to leave now."

He thinks Whanganui is a great place for aspiring musicians to get the support and encouragement they need because audiences are so receptive.

"The Whanganui Musicians Club is offering free entry to UCOL students on club nights at the Savage Club on the first Friday of every month and they had a first night performing there last week.

"It's a brilliant thing with brilliant people running it and they have donated $500 to be given as a scholarship or an award to one student from each intake."

There were plenty of auditions for the latest intake in June and Mr Franklin-Browne said there are 14 students learning written music theory, aural training, practical keyboard, composition, music writing and recording software, recording original compositions and learning about the current music climate.

Students on the programme enjoy performing at gigs, covering various genres, and developing skills on their primary instrument, which can include voice.
"We also teach how to set up P.As and book gigs and tours," says Mr Franklin-Browne.

In addition to the Savage Club gigs, students get to perform around town and a group performed at the whanau day for Maori Language Week outside the atrium last Wednesday.