Learning to play a musical instrument is an immensely satisfying challenge. The ability to play builds friendships across year levels and schools. Playing music brings students together, and immediately a common bond is established, and a sense of belonging realised. This is extremely beneficial when students move to high school.
The aim of the instrumental music program is to give students the opportunity to learn to play and perform in a group situation. Providing ensemble/band experience for students develops their performance skills and extends their knowledge, thus increasing confidence and pride.
The Selection Process
Students are considered for selection to play an instrument if they demonstrate strong musical aptitude in the Selmer test. This takes place at the end of year 2 for string instruments and year 3 for all brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Children are also checked for their general aptitude to study and their physical suitability to a particular instrument. Students’ interest in the instrument and their ability to commit, with parental support, are also considered.
The benefits of learning an instrument are numerous and worthwhile. Music:
- develops pride, responsibility, confidence and social communication
- increases memorizing capacity
- improves reasoning capacity
- improves time management and organisational skills
- fosters the development of team skills
- fosters self-expression and emotional intelligence
- promotes and relieves anxiety and stress
- improves health, well-being and increases stamina.
Music goals don’t always come easily, but students will achieve with persistence. The appreciation and enjoyment of music that comes from learning an instrument is unique. Research indicates that students who study an instrument improve in all other areas of study. Time management and perseverance skills learnt in primary school through regular practice and rehearsal benefit the child throughout their education.
Parents also need a level of commitment when helping their child learn an instrument. Ensuring attendance at out of school rehearsals and performances and setting aside family time for regular practice assists the child to reach success.
Taking the time to listen to and encourage music practice will strengthen the love of music and create a mutual interest.
Registered instrumental teachers are employed to provide weekly half hour lessons. Students are initially grouped by year level and this is reviewed as the students’ progress. Group lessons, averaging 6 to 8 student, are held during class time. Rehearsals for Junior and Senior Band, Senior Percussion and Senior String Ensembles all take place before school.
The following instruments are available to the students.
- Strings: viola, violin, cello, double bass
- Woodwind: clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
- Brass: trombone, trumpet, bass guitar, french horn, euphonium, baritone, tuba
- Percussion: glockenspiel
For a nominal fee the school loans these instruments to students selected to be in the program. After the first year of tuition parents are required to purchase an instrument for their child. Students can continue to hire some instruments whilst they continue their tuition throughout primary school as these are expensive to purchase.
The Instrumental Music program is a wonderful opportunity for children to explore and develop their music skills and knowledge. Children who learn to play an instrument are intrinsically rewarded for their hard work, and disciplined practice.
The benefits of learning an instrument far outweigh the time dedicated to regular practice.