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Excellence programs - Instrumental Music

Instrumental recruitment

The Instrumental recruitment process begins and ends in Term 4. At the beginning of the term we have an Instrumental Recruitment night in the PAC where parents are invited to attend and speak to the instrumental teachers regarding which instrument would best suit their child and the requirements of the program. Application forms are available from the office for the next 3 weeks for parents to complete and return.  
The instrumental teachers  then assess the individual students, liaise with the student’s classroom and music teachers and then make a decision as to whether there is a reasonable expectation of success for that student in the program. There are a limited number of places available in the Strings, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion programs. Students are notified on Wednesday of the last week of school. Keyboard (Grade 4-7) and Guitar (Year 5-7)  tuition is organized privately with Ms Vicki Trevanion. She can be contacted via email at

Hire of instruments

All new Instrumental recruits are assigned a school instrument. An instrument loan form accompanies this instrument. On this form is the EQ asset number and type of instrument. This form needs to be signed and returned to the school before instruments are sent home.
Your child has been loaned this instrument for the first year of tuition with it being returned at the end of the year. Students are encouraged to purchase their own instruments when continuing past the first year of tuition. This will depend on the type of instrument played. In these difficult financial times, it is never too early to start planning for this cost.
All woodwind students except for tenor saxophone and bass clarinet students are asked to purchase their own instrument after one year. All Brass students excepting baritone, french horn and euphonium students are also required to buy their own. Percussion students purchase a glockenspiel plus practice drum pad and sticks from the beginning. String students are supplied with school instruments as they may go through 3 sizes of instrument before reaching adult size in High School.
Students hiring instruments from the school pay a $35 hire fee. A further $35 music levy is also paid to the school. This is used for purchasing ensemble music, instrument repairs and servicing and other music aids.

Helping your child to practice

Learning an instrument for the first time is like learning a new language. There are notes and signs to read, plus learning how to hold the instrument along with using fingers, arms and mouths to make a noise. Initially the noise may not be particularly tuneful which may make your child feel less inspired. Find a regular time each day to set aside 10 minutes with your child and listen to their efforts.
Praise them appropriately and the difficult start will soon pass. Concert Band teachers use a book from the Sound Innovations series with the String students still using the Essential Elements series. All include a CD. Set your child up during practice where they can be accompanied with the CD. This accompanying music makes these initial stages more fun.

Questions for instrumental teachers

Parents often have questions about practice and instruments initially, especially when not having a musical background. For example, why is it when first learning a string instrument only plucking is used? Bowing is a difficult skill and as students initially have to conquer fingering and tuning along with reading music, bowing is left to a bit later.
The instrumental teachers are:
Strings: Mr Richard Newell
Woodwind: Mrs Jacinta Payne
Brass: Mrs Sue Darrigan
Percussion: Mr Ian Brunskill
Choir: Ms Mavis Aldridge
Guitar/Keyboard: Ms Vicki Trevanion
Lesson times are posted on the music noticeboard adjacent to the Performing Arts Centre. Teachers are always happy to answer questions. Please contact Ms Aldridge if you are unable to contact your child’s instrumental teacher.

Ensembles, choir and uniforms

Choir practice for years 4 to 6 is held on Tuesdays at 8:15 am and in the afternoon from 2.00 pm to 2.30 pm before Parade. Extra rehearsals are needed for Eisteddfod in September. There is a $10 choir levy payable to the school at the office for the purchase of music, transport or performance costs and Eisteddfod entries.
Senior band practice is under way on Tuesday afternoons from 3.00 to 4.00pm with Mrs Payne in the PAC.
The Chamber Orchestra rehearses with Mr Newell on Friday mornings from 8.00 to 8.50 am and the String Orchestra rehearses at First Break on Fridays.
These ensembles may perform for school assemblies and other school ceremonies, competitions and excursions. All instrumental students perform at the end of both semesters in concerts held at the Pimlico Performing Arts Centre. In the second half of the year, students who have commenced learning instruments at the beginning of this year may be asked to join the junior band and junior string ensembles, depending on their standard. All students are required to join ensembles as it is an essential part of the tuition program.
The senior ensembles may also perform at the school Anzac Ceremony, Fanfare every two years,  Eisteddfod, ‘Roadtrip’ (a day-long community ‘play-out’ and BBQ) and at the school Christmas Service plus any instrumental workshops arranged by the teachers.
For all performances, students are expected to wear the music uniform. This includes the school music shirt, blue skorts/shorts or skirt, white socks and black shoes (not optional). The Chamber String Orchestra students wear the music shirt, long black trousers, black socks or hosiery and black shoes.
The shirts are distributed at the beginning of each year your student remains in the instrumental, guitar, keyboard and/or choral program. The initial cost is $30. To allow for your child’s growth, $5 of this fee is considered a hire fee. Therefore, the initial $25 is paid only once as a deposit. For all remaining years, only $5 is paid for continued hire of the shirt (which may vary in size). At the completion of your child’s involvement in the music program the $25 deposit is refundable. All shirts remain the property of Music Mates and are required to be returned at the end of each year. Music Mates encourages you to donate the deposit back to their ongoing fundraising if possible.