Performing Arts Coordinator - Geoff Campbell
Instrumental Music Staff 2011
George Andrews - Percussion
Classroom Music Teachers
There is a long tradition of excellence in music making at The University High School (UHS), which boasts one of the premier music programs in Victoria.
The Instrumental Music program at UHS is based on an orchestral program. Tuition in all of the following orchestral instruments is offered.
Strings: violin, viola, cello, double bass.
Woodwind: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone.
Brass: trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba.
Percussion: all tuned and un-tuned orchestral percussion
Instrumental Music Teachers (IMT’s)
Sixteen teachers attend the school each week for varying amounts of time. Many of our experienced teachers are themselves professional musicians and thus offer much expertise and inspiration to our students. Most of them conduct one or more of the ensembles.
The music school is made up of 7 instrumental teaching rooms as well as an ensemble rehearsal space, three classrooms, an instrument store room for students to keep their instruments, and administration facilities. The school also has a Performance Centre and a Hall in which rehearsals and performances take place.
Lessons occur weekly, and are given in small groups, except for VCE students and very advanced students who receive individual tuition where possible. Each instrumental music teacher prepares a timetable, whereby students come to lessons on a withdrawal basis (from their regular classes). The lesson time is different each week so that students don’t miss the same class more than a few times each term. It is the responsibility of the student to find out what class work has been missed, and to catch up with any homework and tests.
At the end of each semester, each instrumental music student is given a formal performance examination in each instrument learned at the school. They are assessed on their technical proficiency, the performance of pieces (solo and ensemble works) and their organisational and practice skills. Students are expected to demonstrate progress made over the semester.
Students are able to sit for external exams such as AMEB, Trinity, ANZCA (usually as private entrants) where appropriate, and parents pay an extra fee for this directly to the examination body. These exams are usually held at a private venue. Singers and instrumentalists may need to engage an accompanist for these exams which usually also attracts an extra charge. Parents should understand that students who undertake to sit external exams do so as a non-compulsory activity, extra to the usual school program. The school does not hold any responsibility for students when they attend these exams.
Practice and Lessons
In the instrumental music lessons, students learn music reading skills, specific techniques as appropriate to their instrument, practice skills, occupational health and safety issues related to playing the instrument and a variety of skills in musical interpretation. Students are required to do regular daily practice (as recommended by their teacher) in order to make progress. Parents are encouraged to support their children by providing a quiet regular practice space and by encouraging them to establish regular practice routines. It is also important that the child’s instrument is in good working order.
Instrument Enrolment and Re-enrolment
Students already at UHS complete an enrolment/re-enrolment form by the end of October. As a contract is entered into upon enrolment in the Instrumental Music program, the fulfillment of that contract is considered when accepting or rejecting a re-enrolment. Students then are offered a place which can be accepted by making full payment of the Music Charge. Students can not begin or resume lessons until payment of the Music Charge is made, or alternative arrangements are made with the Business Manager.
Selection of an instrument can sometimes be a difficult process. We try to make it easier by doing some initial musical aptitude testing for new Year 7 students, and advising parents about what the most appropriate instrument might be for their child. At the same time we need to make sure that there is a balance of instruments in the program, so many factors are taken into consideration when an offer of tuition on an instrument is made.
At the beginning of the school year, all Year 7 students are given a musical aptitude test to determine instrument suitability. By week 3 or 4, all Year 7 students are offered a place on an instrument and are asked to attend a special Instrumental Music Recruitment evening, where students can take up the offer or discuss possibilities. Whilst some consideration is given to a student’s preference, the offer of tuition is made based on the Music Survey, the physical attributes of the student, and a balance of instruments in the program. As our music program is an orchestral and band program, it is essential that a balanced range of instruments are taken up each year so that all students can be given the best opportunity to be a part of a fully balanced ensemble. The instrument recruitment night is one of the most important events on the school calendar, and we would expect to see every Year 7 student there. There will be an opportunity for parents to find out about instrument purchase plans, and so selected reputable Music Instrument retailers are invited to provide an instrument display. They will also be offering special prices on the night. There is always a huge demand for lessons at UHS, and preference will be given to students who attend this most important meeting, and who sign up for the Instrumental Music program on the night. Lessons will start almost immediately after this meeting.
Whilst a limited number of orchestral instruments taught at UHS are available for hire through the school, we do encourage students to purchase their own instruments as it amounts to huge savings to families in the long run. Most musical instruments, if kept in good order, don’t lose much value over the period of a few years (some even increase in value). The better the quality of instrument purchased initially, the better the value will be if you ever need to sell it. More information about purchase plans and cost of instruments will be available at the Recruitment Night. Students who undertake piano lessons at UHS must have either an acoustic piano in good working order (well in tune), or an AMEB approved electric piano.
Apart from an instrument, students will need some other equipment. A Practice Journal is required by all students learning an instrument and is included in the music charge.
Other equipment may need to be purchased throughout the year. A number of music books may be needed, especially if the student is making rapid progress. Other equipment needed may include peripheral items such as reeds for wind players and strings for string players. Instruments need to be kept in good working order, and may need to have adjustments made by professional instrument service technicians from time to time. Piano students should expect to have their piano tuned at least once a year. It is essential that all Instrumental Music students own their own metronome. Most students learning an instrument will also need to purchase a music stand.
At The University High School the Music program is based around the performing ensembles. Students take lessons in order to perform in a huge variety of orchestral, choral, band, and jazz ensembles and gain much benefit from participating in shared music making. They engage in and learn significant musical and social skills including; cooperation, leadership, discipline, responsibility, blending and contrasting and working within given parameters. It is a requirement of all students who learn an instrument at UHS to participate in the ensemble program by being active performing members of at least one major ensemble at school. This involves their weekly attendance to rehearsals as well as performing with the ensemble. Ensemble participation is assessed and is included on the instrumental music report.
UHS offers a wide variety of music ensembles from orchestral and band, to choral and jazz. The numbers of students in the ensembles ranges from 4–80, and the levels range from beginner to advanced. The ensemble program is co-curricular with most of the groups rehearsing at lunch time. From year to year there may be some variation in the ensembles offered.
All ensembles perform at the Mid Year Concert in May, and at the End of Year Concert (Musical Breakfast) in October. Many of the ensembles are also involved in performances both in and outside the school, including events such as Westside Arts, eisteddfods, assemblies and other special performances.
Whilst students who learn an instrument at UHS are expected to be involved in the ensemble program, students who learn an instrument outside the school are also encouraged to join one of the ensembles if they can be accommodated. Students will be placed in ensembles either on audition to that ensemble or on recommendation by their teacher. Once having joined an ensemble, it is expected that students will remain in that ensemble for the semester. Regular attendance to ensemble rehearsals, bringing of equipment to rehearsals, as well as appropriate preparation of the rehearsal parts is required of all students in the ensemble program.
Students wear a performance uniform at all official performances, which consists of black trousers (girls may wear black skirts – knee length), black shoes and black socks (or stockings), and white button up shirts (girls – long sleeve blouses). It is the responsibility of the students to provide their own performance uniform and to wear it appropriately.
Classroom Music Program
The University High School boasts an incremental classroom music program from Years 7–12. Classroom music is a core subject in Years 7 and 8. At these levels, the program caters both for students who have not previously learned music as well as students with a musical background. Information and Communication Technology is used to enhance students’ learning, with a focus on music creating and notating software, as well as theory and aural training software. Students learn to communicate and understand musical language through; performance, composition, listening and evaluating music. They gain awareness of issues of music in culture, and learn appropriate responses to music.
Music is an elective subject in Years 9 and 10. Students who might be considering taking music subjects in VCE are catered for in these electives. Here they gain a solid grounding in theory, aural training, composition, and musical analysis. VET Music Certificates II and III are offered at Years 10 and 11 respectively, and students are admitted based on an audition process. Students interested primarily in the popular music industry are catered for in the VET Music course.
Two music subjects are offered at VCE level, namely Music Performance and Music History and Styles. UHS achieves outstanding results in all two subjects.
Junior Jazz Band
Intermediate Flute Ensemble
Senior Flute Ensemble
Junior Guitar Ensemble
Senior Guitar Ensemble