Music Education at its very best
Blackburn High, continues to raise the bar in music education.
At the recent Melbourne Bands’ Festival the school’s ensemble performance was remarkable.
The school entered 11 ensembles and 9 of them won Gold. The other two ensembles were in novice sections where participation was the award. Competing against state and private schools, no other school was comparable.
The Gold Award ensembles were – Junior and Intermediate Concert Bands, Symphonic Band, Junior and Senior String Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Junior, Intermediate and Senior Jazz Ensembles, and the participation ensembles were Quarto Strings and Novice Band. There were 309 musicians.
Blackburn has a fine tradition of music excellence however this amazing result was against the odds. Blackburn is currently undergoing a major redevelopment and for all of 2011 and most of 2013 the music department had no home. The instruments and teachers were spread across the school, c as their new music centre was being built. They were constantly being relocated and had to practice with all manner of building noise interference all around them.
Against these odds the staff and students were still able to maintain their renowned standard of excellence.
Students come from across Melbourne to be part of this music program. Its high standards and award winning performances are a result of a culture of dedication to producing the best possible music. Staff and students alike set the bar high.
The school’s reputation attracts quality staff many of whom are professional musicians themselves. So the teaching practise is not ‘do as I say’ but ‘do as I do’. Students are introduced to the rigours and disciplines of performing as a professional musician by staff who know all about it – first hand.
Some of the professional musicians on staff are:
- Stephen Hardie – Percussion, who plays with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
- Dave Palmer – Trombone, who plays in many TV bands including Dancing with the Stars, Reverend Funk and Horns of Salvation
- Andy O’Connell – Saxophone, Musical Director, Reverend Funk and the Horns of Salvation
- Chris Ondaatje – Clarinet, sessional musician
- Nikki Aitken – Singer, Melbourne Cabaret Festival
- Steve Sedergreen – Jazz Pianist, Steve Sedergreens’ Points in Time. Steve is one of Melbourne’s best known Jazz pianists
- Carolyn Grace – Flute, Sessional Musician