The film features the distinguished composer Professor Anne Boyd and head of the department in her struggle to run a functional department despite budget pressures from both the University administration and more importantly the Australian Federal Government. Boyd is an internationally recognised composer and an inspiring teacher, and now it seems she must be an entrepreneur as well. But the professor has no training or capacity for the money raising that's called for. Facing the music documents Anne Boyd's roller coaster journey as she struggles to negotiate the most tumultuous year of her life. It's a startling transformation from unworldly conservative to frontline activist, and one that comes at a high personal cost.
The film has won numerous awards including Cinematic Intelligence Agency Trenchcoat Awards 2002 for best documentary or true drama, Film Critics Circle of Australia 2002 for Best Australian documentary, and the if Awards 2001 for best Documentary.
At the end of 2004, the Music Department voted to merge with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The department, which has produced some of Australia's greatest composers, instrumentalists, singers and conductors for decades and still does, continues to struggles for adequate funding within the context of an overall reduction in higher education funding allocated by the Australian Federal Government.