At Mount Carmel, music is a life force that flows throughout the whole school, from Kindergarten to Year 10, both inside and outside the classroom. We are Tasmania’s Champion School for Musical Futures: a new and imaginative way of engaging school students that has revolutionised music education in UK and is quickly spreading around the world.
It works by basing music education around the music that young people already like, and by giving them a chance to play the instruments they actually want to play.
At primary level, all classes have a weekly music lesson, fortnightly singing lesson and the opportunity to participate in Choir (fortnightly from Grade 1).
In secondary school, music classes are based around themes. For example, Year 7s have a taster on woodwind and brass where every student gets a chance to learn a simple piece on several different instruments. They then play the piece as a group and gain some fantastic hands-on learning about working as a team.
As well as the Musical Futures style student-driven activities, classes learn about music from a range of cultures and genres through practical music-making activities. Plus in the critical stage when our girls are moving into their teens, we run a special ‘Finding Your Voice’ unit which focuses on building musical, personal and interpersonal confidence.
By Years 9 and 10 those students who choose music as an elective are undertaking activities that explore music in more depth – composing and performing pieces in particular musical genres, such as minimalism or film music. This is in addition to tasks that allow them to explore their own personal interest in the area.
Our ‘singing for well-being’ class every fortnight ensures that all Year 9 and 10s continue to enjoy the proven positive benefits of group music-making on their emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth.
Outside of class, there are many others ways students can be further involved in music, for example:
- Grade 5 Instrumental Group: bass guitars, tuned percussion, drums, ukuleles, keyboards – depending on student interest and ability
- Pop groups: currently run for Grade 6s
- Chamber choir: the College’s main representative choir. Students from Years 7-10 audition for the 16 places, performing more traditional choral music, a capella, and 3- and 4-part harmonies.
- College orchestra: open to anyone from Grade 5 – 10, with no audition required. The orchestra plays a wide range of music that is suitable for students at various stages of musical ability.
- Musical: held every 2 years and open to all Years 7-10s for a wide range of on-stage and behind-the-scenes roles.
- Secondary Choir: open to all Grade 7-10s, practising popular music and musical theatre once a week at lunchtime. This choir performs at Eisteddfod, assemblies, regular concerts for parents and friends and on request for other events.
In addition, every student from Grade 5-10 forms a mass choir for our annual speech night.
From 2015, Mount Carmel is also pleased to offer annual music tuition Scholarships. Our aim is to inspire an intrinsic motivation to make music, and to help our students find their own voice and their own passion.
We’re delighted that more and more of our students are realising that music can be a part of their lives and make a positive difference in so many ways. Those choosing music as an ‘elective’ has doubled in the last 2 years.