U2 lead singer Bono once said “Music can change the world because it can change people”. Music has the power to entertain, speak a universal language, evoke memories, cultivate imagination, nurture creativity, teach social skills, motor skills, musical skills, it unites people, it breaks down cultural barriers, it inspires people and speaks to the mind, heart and soul of all who take part in it. We believe in the power of music and love sharing it with the children in the school.
‘Authentic Engagement For All’ is a phrase that aptly describes the aim of learning music at our school. In other words, we aim to give every student the opportunity to develop their music ability and perform in a way that real musicians do. We also aim to teach students team skills, social skills, organisation, work ethic, commitment and develop self-confidence that extends far beyond music itself. Music at our school is fun and engaging for students of all ability levels.
At Runcorn Heights State School, we offer a number of opportunities for all students in the school to engage with, and enjoy music. All students attend a weekly classroom music lesson, and selected students can also join choirs, guitar ensembles, string orchestras and concert bands. Performance opportunities include eisteddfods, competitions, whole school music concerts, our school ‘CultureFest’ fete and other music workshops in conjunction with other primary, and high schools.
All students attend a classroom music lesson for 30 minutes each week with Mr Neil. In these lessons, students learn to sing, play instruments, perform, write their own songs and learn the theory that magically makes music come together. Instruments that students learn to play include:
djembe (African hand drum)
tuned percussion (xylophones, glockenspiels, metalophones, marimbas)
untuned percussion (maracas, tambourines, bongos etc)
boomwhackers and more!
There are many great ways in which technology can be used to make learning about music, and creating music fun and easy for all students at every ability level. We use music software, iPads and recording gear in most music lessons as one of many strategies to help improve student engagement and achievement in music.
Our school currently has a junior choir (years 1-3) and a senior choir (years 4-6) that meet weekly for rehearsals with Mr Neil. The aim of these choirs is to have fun while learning good singing technique, and to build confidence through performance. The choir is available to all students (there are no auditions to include or exclude students) and there are no costs involved in joining.
String lessons and orchestras are available to students from year 3 with our strings teacher. To be selected for the strings program, students need to achieve high results in classroom music, score high marks on a listening test and show support from home. For a small levy for the year, students in year three have access to a school instrument, plus lessons. From year 4 onwards, the levy drops in price, but students are required to purchase their own instrument (with the exception of double bass). Our beginner, junior and senior orchestras have one 30 minute lesson, and year 4-6 students attend a weekly orchestra rehearsal before school.
Students from year 5 onwards can be selected to play a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument with our band teacher Mr Millar. Similar to strings, students are selected by scoring high results in music lessons, listening tests and show that their family is willing to support them with learning a new instrument. Year 5 students pay a small levy for lessons and the use of a school instrument, however, from year 6 students are required to buy their own instrument (with the exception of Tuba and large percussion instruments like timpani). Junior Band begins in July each year for year 5 students and Senior Band is all year round for year 6 students.