Music is an intensely personal and emotional force where each student will respond in their own unique way. At Pymble, all students have the opportunity to participate musically through a wide array of ensembles, experiences and activities which celebrate student enjoyment and expertise.
The three programs – Curricular, Co-curricular and Private Music Tuition – complement and support each other, providing our students with the maximum opportunity to expand and enrich their musical experiences.
At Pymble, we offer an integrated, enriching and challenging Music program that is developed through a comprehensive Performing Arts Program from Kindergarten to Year 6 and followed through in the Curricular Music Program from Years 7 to 12.
Preparatory and Junior School
In the Preparatory and Junior School, students have regular classroom music lessons as part of an integrated approach to the performing arts. These lessons have an emphasis on learning through performance-based experiences.
Students entering Year 3 are invited to participate in the String Program and learn violin, viola, cello or double bass, while a Band Program that incorporates wind, brass and percussion tutorials is introduced in Year 4. Students who do not wish to pursue the study of a String or Band instrument participate in a classroom music program with an emphasis on singing and percussion which is continued for all students in Year 5. In Year 6, classroom music activities culminate with a musical involving every student in a spectacular singing, dancing and dramatic production.
The Mandatory Music Course in Year 7 and the Elective Music Course from Years 8 to 10 allow the students to continue their music studies through an exciting and diverse program. This program promotes enjoyment and appreciation of music while laying strong foundations for those students wishing to study Music at HSC level. The course allows the students to become engaged with music through integrated activities in performance, composition and listening.
With the introduction of a Contemporary Music course for Year 9 in 2015 and Year 10 in 2016 there will be even greater emphasis on the use of technology in music and the role that in plays in the lives of young people. The College has acquired, and will continue to acquire, the latest in music educational resources, facilities and technology, thus making the learning environment in the David Blackwell Music School dynamic, relevant and engaging for all who pass through its doors.
Pymble has a long tradition of excellence in music and offers a huge array of bands, choirs, orchestras and small ensembles. Beginning with the Prep Pizzicatos and the Preparatory School Choir, flowing into the many orchestras, choirs and bands in the Junior School and culminating in the elite Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Strings, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Pymble Chorale in the Secondary School, there are almost 30 ensembles. Many of these ensembles are graded to allow musicians to work together at the appropriate level of performance. Students prepare challenging and exciting repertoire and present these at a wide variety of performances. Musical productions, overseas music tours, regular ensemble concerts, students organised lunch hour concerts, recitals, internal and external eisteddfods and festivals, chapel services and assemblies, community service concerts and whole-school performances are all part of the rich tapestry of Music at Pymble. Special events and concerts enabling collaboration with distinguished professional artists also characterise the College’s Music Program.
Private Music Tuition
At Pymble we are fortunate to have over 40 highly qualified specialist music teachers and performers who provide private instrumental and voice lessons. Girls in the Preparatory School may learn piano, violin, viola or cello only and from the Junior School upwards tuition is available in all instruments. These lessons operate on a rotational basis throughout the school day. Group musicianship lessons are also available. Students are also encouraged to present for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB), Trinity College or ABRSM examinations where appropriate, although this is not compulsory. Pymble consistently rates in the top 5 schools in the state by the AMEB for outstanding results.
The College not only offers up to three full Academic Music Performance Scholarships each year for students entering Year 7 but also a number of 1-year private tuition scholarships in Senior and Junior categories, Piano, Pipe Organ and Double Bass to current Pymble students.
Pymble Musicians’ Program
This is a support, monitoring and mentoring program for the music scholars and other identified musically gifted students, studying and performing on their instrument at a very high level. Entry is by invitation or application. It assists student with time management and planning, possible release from some non-essential areas of study or lessons and provision of additional programs to suit the individual needs of the student.
Harpsichord Development Project
Following the acquisition of a magnificent double manual Ruckers-style Harpsichord in 2013, interested piano students are able to participate in intense study of harpsichord techniques and specialist repertoire to further enrich and expand their keyboard studies. In addition, a small group of students are afforded the opportunity to form a small Baroque ensemble to explore playing techniques and styles of this period.
Overseas Music Tours
Overseas Music Performance Tours are offered every two to three years, operating on a rotational basis between Strings and Choir or Bands. The College has undertaken many successful tours to places such as the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Scandinavia, USA and Japan. Some of the most memorable performances have been in the Musikverein, Vienna; St Mark’s Basilica,Venice; Disneyland in Tokyo and Los Angeles and St Matthias Church in Budapest.