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Studying Music

At St Brendan's College Music is an integral part of the academic offering of the College.  Music is offered as a core subject for all Year 7 students, with various music subjects offered as electives throughout Middle and Senior School.  

Year 7 Music

The Year 7 Music course is designed to engage students in music making by developing basic practical skills in relation to drums, guitar, trumpet and clarinet. We believe, as research shows, children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills. We also believe that children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school longer and pursue further education.  St Brendan's College offers a unique program in Year 7 utilising cajons, a Peruvian box-shaped percussion instrument to teach rhythm to an entire class at the same time. 

Long-term Head of Music, Mr Jack Ingram explains: "With the introduction of Year 7 into secondary school, we were given approval by our Principal to explore how we could present music to our new junior cohort, and we wanted to move away from the traditional theory and musicianship that many schools teach,” Mr Ingram said.

“We thought, how can we teach rhythm to twenty or more twelve year olds all at once?” he said.

“Cajóns, the Peruvian box-shaped percussion instrument seemed to be the answer we were looking for, so our Manual Arts Department went above and beyond and made our first class set of 30, and now with the support of our local volunteer Men’s Shed we have a significant asset of 90 cajóns to use within our music program.”

The Year 7 course focuses on rhythmic music notation and the skills required to play the instruments:

  • Cajón - rhythmic grooves and subdivisions along with basic drum techniques
  • Guitar - chords, finger technique and Tabs
  • Clarinet - creating the correct embouchure and technique to play the first five notes
  • Trumpet - creating the correct embouchure and technique to play the first five notes. 

Year 8 Music

To extend our students love of music and development of their skills, two music courses are offered as electives in Year 8; Contemporary Ensemble and Concert Band.  Concert Band will see your son assigned a woodwind or brass instrument depending on where the Head of Music anticipates he will have the most opportunity for success. Contemporary Ensemble will see him learn guitar with an introduction to percussion and keyboard.

Year 9-10 Middle School Music

In Years 9 and 10 Music is again offered as elective subject choices. This includes Concert Band (Brass/Woodwind/Percussion); Contemporary Ensemble where guitar, bass guitar, percussion and keyboard skills are developed; and Music Theory and Performance which is offered as complementary to studying another music elective, or studying music with a specialist teacher.

The Contemporary Ensemble course is a performing arts performance-based course which focuses on the students' roles as performer/presenter while developing their specific instrument skills in Guitar, Bass guitar, Keyboard and Percussion - all the instruments of a rock band. The subject covers the musical elements in detail as they relate to Contemporary Bands as well as ensuring fundamental theory, musicianship and history skills in line with national (AMEB) and international music organisations is secure. Composition is also explored.

The (Private Music Tuition) Music Theory and Performance course is designed to allow the music student additional practice time and support in developing his chosen instrument of specialty. He will also be expected to acquire the fundamental theory, musicianship and history skills in line with AMEB and international music organisations.

Year 11-12 Senior School Music

Highlighting the significant emphasis and support for music and performance at St Brendan's College, Music is offered as a significant elective program in Senior School. Students can choose to study 1) OP Music 2) Music Certification (AMEB & Trinity College) 3) Private Music Tuition 4) Instrumental Band, and 5) Music Theory and Performance as part of their Senior studies.  (In Music Certification (AMEB & Trinity College) Private Music Tuition and Music Theory and Performance, students should ideally have been studying an instrument in Year 10, if not longer, but this is not essential.)

Students must be able to play a musical instrument or have taken singing or music examinations in the past to study OP Music.  A study of music assists students in understanding and heightening the enjoyment of art in their lives and the music heritage of a range of cultures. From a career perspective, there are many industries which employ musicians in primary or secondary roles, including education, theatre companies, advertising agencies, event management organisations, the armed forces, film and television and record industries.  Assessment in OP Music is undertaken in both practical and theoretical domains and encompasses Musicology, Composition and Performance. 

In Music Certification (AMEB) & Private Music Tuition, students should ideally have been studying an instrument in Year 10, if not longer, but this is not essential. They must have a desire to understand the theoretical aspects to the writing and reading of music. Students are to attempt to reach their Grade Five Theory exam for recognition on their Senior Statement. Students will study a two-year course on units of work incorporating pitch and tonality, creative work and general knowledge.

Instrumental Band is offered as a course in Senior.  For the serious music student considering a career in music, music education or education, this course will provide the opportunity to acquire performance, theoretical and musicianship skills essential for direct and audition entry into relevant tertiary institutions. Students will work towards Grade 5 Theory and Grade 7 Ensemble Certification offered by the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB).   

Please download the attached Music Information Form for specific detail on year level music offerings, pricing and private tuition as an additional option for students. 


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