Music at Scotch College Junior School offers an exciting and diverse curriculum. In order to make the most informed decisions for your child’s music education, it is important to have an understanding of the overall program from Prep-Year Six and beyond.
Classroom Music Program
Each Prep to Year 6 classes has three forty minute lessons per six-day cycle. The classroom program is inspired by the Kodály philosophy and is a sequential, child-centred music literacy curriculum. The singing-based course concentrates on the development of creative, melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, listening, literacy and performance skills. An emphasis is placed on the introduction of signs, names and symbols to provide students with music notation skills. Rhythmic time names, solfa and hand signs are used to help students express what they are hearing, reading and writing. More information about the Kodály approach to music education can be found at http://www.kodaly.org.au.
The instrumental program is extensive and conducted by a team of excellent staff in the stunning James Forbes Academy.
Prep and Year 1 students may choose to learn pianoforte, violin or ‘cello. Scotch College has an especially strong Suzuki Program at this level. All Prep and Year 1 students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to and from music lessons for safety and educational reasons.
At Year 2, all boys not currently learning a string instrument participate in a string program during second and third terms. This culminates in a delightful concert. Boys may also choose to begin woodwind, brass or percussion lessons from Year 3 onwards, depending upon factors such as the child’s physical development and ability to hold the instruments are important. Years 3 and 4 String students have their own String Orchestras.
At the beginning of Year 4, students are exposed to demonstrations of all the instruments available in the Music School. This is a good year to begin a Woodwind or Brass instrument or ‘cello, double bass or Percussion.
At Years 5 and 6, students learning Woodwind, Brass, String or Percussion instruments have two lessons in an instrumental ensemble and one classroom music lesson. Non-instrumentalists or boys who learn guitar or pianoforte only still have three normal classroom music lessons. Many boys in Years 5 and 6 will be able to participate in Concert Band or String Orchestra.
Links: Music Handbook and Music School Forms, “In the Spotlight”
All boys are involved in year level choirs for special occasions and receive appropriate choral training during their designated music classes and occasional additional rehearsals during school time. The auditioned Junior School Choir is drawn from students at Years 5 and 6 levels and comprises approximately sixty students. At Years 3 and 4 levels there exists an auditioned Year 4 group as well as a non-selective compulsory Years 3 and 4 choir. These groups rehearse during school time and have occasional commitments out of school hours. The criteria for the auditioned choirs are good vocal tone, a strong sense of pitch and a disciplined, enthusiastic and committed attitude.
The Junior School has a policy that all students, whether they are instrumentalists or not, are involved in active and regular music making throughout the year. All boys are encouraged to sing in assemblies and chapel services at a high standard. From Year 3 upwards, all boys participate in year level concerts. There are regular opportunities for solo instrumental performances in recitals and assemblies. Students and parents are informed of events through notices, the school diary, intranet and the newsletter. The main goals of the program are for students to develop sound musical skills and through their engagement in music, develop a life-long appreciation. The evidence is clear about the benefits of music education, as was reported midyear 2015 in The Age: "Two decades of frenzied research has now found that music education grows, hones and permanently improves neural networks like no other activity. Children who undertake formal, ongoing musical education have significantly higher levels of cognitive capacity, specifically in their language acquisition and numerical problem solving skills. They also continue in education for longer, reverse the cognitive issues related to disadvantage and earn and contribute more on average across their lifetime."