Most kids have the potential to learn an instrument and enjoy the enormous benefits this brings. Studies have proven that children who learn music are advantaged academically, physically and emotionally.

However, in order to be successful it is vital that each child is given the correct guidance, beginning with the selection of an instrument. Choosing the wrong instrument is the most common factor in failure - not lack of musical potential. A child learning the wrong instrument has to overcome a whole set of physical and mental handicaps. Playing an instrument is not like any other activity your child does. It combines the mental, physical and the emotional.
For most children the best time to start learning music is around 8 - 9 years old. Very little advantage is achieved by starting earlier. What takes a 5 year old three years to learn an 8 year can learn in just months and older children learn even faster!

Academic success is not a requirement, in fact, often under achievers at school make fantastic progress with music. (This usually stimulates improvement in class as well!) It is important, however, to consider your child's readiness for learning music. It is best if they can read and write reasonably fluently, do simple maths and most importantly have the spare mental energy required to begin an entirely new activity.



Which instrument?

We also need to assess each child's physical make up (arm length, lips, teeth, hands, general robustness etc) as each instrument makes specific demands of its player, sometimes in surprising ways (eg. A flute takes more puff than a tuba - to blow not to carry!) It is also apparent that certain personalities are best suited to particular instruments. In a successful match an instrument becomes an extension of the player and does not cause mental stress. Rather it should be a continuing stimulation of what is natural to each child's brain.

In order to advise you and your child correctly, an assessment of your child's physical suitability will be made. Your own assessment of your child's mental readiness is vital - all information you can offer about your child is useful in this process (see attached questionnaire). It is a combination of the information presented in the questionnaire and the band's assessment that will enable us to match the most suitable instrument to your child. Please be prepared to accept the recommendation made by our Training Band conductors Kelvin and Natalie who will be assessing each child who is keen to join the program.


About Band Membership

For most children, belonging to a band is a vital part of learning music. It is exciting and motivating to play with others and a professional conductor. However, the commitment is a serious one and they must be willing to:

  • attend rehearsals twice a week (Training Band rehearses on Monday mornings before school from 8.00am and Wednesday afternoons after school until 4.30pm)
  • attend performances (including on weekends)
  • attend Band Jam (intensive weekend, usually in May, of individual & group tuition/cost approx. $75).
  • have private instrument lessons for 1/2 hour per week (cost varies from $25 - $40 per session)
  • practice regularly at home
  • take appropriate care of instrument
  • wear the Band uniform: band black polo shirt (included with first year registration) and black pants.

In addition, band fees are to be paid. Band is an extra curricular activity that is not funded by the school; it is run and supported by a volunteer parent committee and the P&C. Band fees cover professional band conductors' salaries, music scores, competition entries and operational costs. School Instrument Hire covers equipment maintenance and purchases. These fees are essential to the running of the band as it is self-funding and are non-refundable once the commitment is made to join band and the fees are paid.



Band Fees & Instrument Hire

Band fees are usually paid on either an annual or semester basis (Term 1 & Term 3), but we can offer a flexible payment plan to enable parents to budget for the fees involved. Arrangements for fee payments can be made by contacting the Band Treasurer, Susie Wu.

Tuition Fees

  • All Bands $400 annually for two weekly band practices (paid in two instalments)

Instrument Fees

  • School Instrument Hire $200 annually for hire and annual service charges
  • Percussion Maintenance Levy $60 annually for drum, bass guitar, keyboard & glockenspiel players
  • [Note: Instrument Hire fee is not paid if you have purchased your own instrument privately].


Performances

Over the course of the year our bands regularly perform at numerous local and regional events. These include performances at key school events and assemblies, participation in local competitions including the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod and the North Shore Primary School Festival, as well as performances at prestigious venues such as the Chatswood Concourse. In 2015 our Jazz Band was one of the first ever primary school performances at the Manly Jazz Festival, and we're on again this year!



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