Music at Ascham

string player
At Ascham, we offer many opportunities to encounter and appreciate music in a wide variety of forms and styles. Of equal importance, we encourage girls at all levels to participate actively in the musical life of the school, in a range of vocal and instrumental ensembles working towards performances in assemblies, recitals and formal concerts.

Music in the Senior School 

Senior Classroom Music (academic)

The classroom music program places a strong focus on participation in performance, singing and group work. Music literacy is progressively acquired and internalised. Courses are streamlined to meet the girls’ needs.

Instrumental Ensemble Program (co-curricular)

Students learning an instrument or voice at Ascham are encouraged to participate in an ensemble. The aim of our program is to give every student the experience of playing or singing with others. At Ascham, there is an ensemble for every girl who wants to perform. Students are able to participate in more than one ensemble.

Instrumental Tuition

Private lessons are offered in the following instruments:

• Piano

• Violin

• Viola

• Cello

• Double bass

• Flute

• Clarinet

• Oboe

• Bassoon

• Trumpet

• Trombone

• Euphonium

• French horn

• Percussion

• Guitar

For information regarding applications for instrumental lessons please contact the Music Administrator on 02 8356 7052.

Special Events

Many other learning and performance opportunities are available to girls at Ascham. Visiting conductors and performers are often invited to work with an orchestra, choir or ensemble. Girls participating in choirs and instrumental ensembles attend the Annual Senior Music Camp in Term 2, which culminates in the first major concert of the School year.

Other performance opportunities include an annual Strings, Brass and Woodwind and Choral Concert, twilight concerts, Vocal Recital and chamber concerts. There is also a biannual Senior Musical involving visitors from other boys' schools.

Ensembles

Symphony Orchestra

The symphony orchestra is an auditioned ensemble that consists of the more advanced players from many of the other ensembles in the School. The Symphony Orchestra rehearses every Wednesday afternoon.

Strings

Ascham Strings is an orchestra open to string players from approximately Entry is by audition in which players need to demonstrate competent reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Ascham Strings rehearse one morning per week.

Sinfonietta is an orchestra open to string players from approximately . Entry is by audition in which players need to demonstrate competent reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Sinfonietta rehearse one morning per week.

Camerata is a chamber string orchestra. Entry is by audition in which players need to demonstrate competent reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Camerata is made up of advanced players and the repertoire undertaken by this group of musicians is more challenging. Camerata rehearse one morning per week.

Guitar

Ascham has a large guitar ensemble that rehearse one morning every week.

Brass and Woodwind

Concert Band is a large ensemble that rehearses one morning per week. The group consists of more a range of intermediate to advanced wind and brass players.

Chamber Music

Ascham also offers a vibrant chamber music program for a large range of instruments and will create an ensemble for a particular combination of girls if required. We encourage our pianists to join in chamber groups to broaden their ensemble experience

Choirs

Junior and Senior Choirs

At Ascham, we offer all Senior students the opportunity to participate in Junior Choir (years 7-9) or Senior Choir (years 10-12). Auditions are held for voice placement only and all students are offered a place. Each of these choirs averages approximately 70 students and rehearsals are held in a performance period in the middle of the day. These choirs often participate in the annual Sydney Eisteddfod


Junior, Intermediate and Senior Madrigal

Ascham offers three auditioned chamber ensembles for voice. These girls perform at a high level and rehearse once a week. They frequently perform in concerts and eisteddfods. Girls in these ensembles are also members of Senior or Junior Choir.


Chamber Choir

This is an auditioned ensemble that consists of dedicated choristers from Years 6–12 who commit extra time to their vocal work. The ensemble rehearses every Friday afternoon. This group is regarded as one of our flagship choral groups and enters eisteddfods. This group has toured overseas as well.


Music in the Junior School

Hillingdon Classroom Music (P–2)

The classroom music program in Fiona is based on the Kodály method, which is a developmentally sequential approach to music education. A strong focus on singing as a learning tool is fundamental to this approach and music literacy is progressively acquired and internalised. All Hillingdon girls attend two 30-minute Music lessons each week. In addition to this, girls from Kindergarten to Year 2 attend Hillingdon singing each week, where they sing a wide repertoire of songs, participate in listening activities and in the second half of the year, prepare songs for the Hillingdon Open Day.

Year 2 Choir

Girls in Year 2 attend a weekly choir rehearsal which is linked to their Classroom Music program. Year 2 Choir performs at Final Assembly at the end each term, the Annual Ascham Choral Concert and the Hillingdon Strings Concert which is held at the end of the School year.

Instrumental Tuition

Private lessons are offered in the violin and cello for Hillingdon girls from Preparatory and piano and double bass from Year 1. Learning a musical instrument is a challenging and rewarding undertaking for a young child. The best results are obtained when parents are able to commit time to attending lessons and carefully supervising practice at home. We strongly encourage you to take this into consideration when enrolling your child in instrumental lessons. For information regarding applications for instrumental lessons please contact the Music Administrator on 02 8356 7052.

Performance Opportunities

Hillingdon musicians have number of opportunities to participate in performances and all girls are strongly encouraged to take advantage of them.

Hillingdon Soirées

Hillingdon Soirées are held each term and enable Hillingdon Music and Speech and Drama students to give performance s in a positive and supportive setting.  

Twilight Concerts

Twilight Concerts are held each term and are open to Ascham musicians from Prep to Year 12 of all ability levels. Twilight Concerts are a delightful opportunity to hear girls from Kindergarten to Year 12 playing in the same concert.

Hillingdon String Program

Hillingdon girls who learn a string instrument also participate in a weekly group lesson. The focus of these lessons is to develop ensemble playing skills, sight reading skills and to further enhance their playing posture and technique. String players will be grouped with girls of a similar standard and they will work on a range of appropriate repertoire. Girls who learn a string instrument outside school are strongly encouraged to participate in this program.

Poco Ensemble

Poco Ensemble is an orchestra open to advanced string players from Kindergarten to Year 2. Entry is by audition in which players need to demonstrate some competence in note reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone.

Enquiries

Any enquiries regarding the Hillingdon Music Program should be directed to Mrs Jacqueline O’Connor on 02 8356 7013.

Classroom music in Fiona (Years 3–6)

The classroom music program in Fiona is based on the Kodály method, which is a developmentally sequential approach to music education. A strong focus on singing as a learning tool is fundamental to this approach and music literacy is progressively acquired and internalised. All Fiona girls attend three 30-minute music lessons each week. One of these lessons is devoted to a grade choir rehearsal. Each grade choir performs at Final Assembly at the end of each term and in the Fiona Choral and Instrumental Concert in November.

Year 3 Instrumental Program

Music in Year 3 is divided into three distinctive sections involving a 30-minute choir rehearsal, a 30-minute classroom lesson and a 45-minute group instrumental lesson. The Year 3 Instrumental Program forms a core part of the Music curriculum. The aim of the program is to give every girl the experience of playing an orchestral instrument and participating in a musical ensemble. Playing an instrument provides each girl with the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained during classroom music lessons. 

Girls who are already learning a string instrument have the option of participating in the Year 3 String ensemble which rehearses at the same time as the other instrumental group lessons.

Instrumental tuition

Ascham is fortunate to have a large number of excellent instrumental and musicianship teachers. Private lessons are offered in the following instruments for Fiona girls:

• Piano

• Violin

• Viola

• Cello

• Double bass

• Flute

• Clarinet

• Oboe

• Bassoon

• Trumpet

• Trombone

• Euphonium

• French horn

• Percussion

• Guitar

For information regarding applications for instrumental lessons please contact the Music Administrator on 02 8356 7052.

Special Events

Many other learning and performance opportunities are available to girls at Ascham. Visiting conductors and performers are often invited to work with an orchestra, choir or ensemble. Girls participating in choirs and instrumental ensembles attend the Annual Fiona Music Camp in Term 2, which culminates in the first major concert of the School year. Other performance opportunities include twilight concerts, soirees and class assemblies.

Music Camp

Music Camp is held at Collaroy for two days and one night in Term 2. All children in the Junior School who are in the orchestras, auditioned choral groups and instrumental groups have the opportunity to attend.

Open Day

Open Day in the Junior School is held at the end of Term 2. It is a day when parents and any interested friends may visit the school and see the childrens’ work.

Ensembles in Fiona

Strings

Vivaldi Strings is an orchestra open to string players from Year 3 to Year 6. Entry is by audition, in which players need to demonstrate good reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Vivaldi Strings rehearse one afternoon per week.

Corelli Strings is an orchestra open to string players from Year 3 to Year 6. Entry is by audition, in which players need to demonstrate competent reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Corelli Strings rehearse one afternoon per week.

Kreisler Ensemble is a chamber string orchestra. Entry is by audition, in which players need to demonstrate excellent reading skills, intonation, rhythm and tone. Kreisler Ensemble is made up of advanced players and the repertoire undertaken by this group of musicians is more challenging. Kreisler Ensemble will rehearse one afternoon per week.

Ascham Grammar: The School participates in a combined string orchestra with Sydney Grammar Preparatory School, Edgecliff. Auditions are held in November. The orchestra rehearses on Wednesday afternoons at Sydney Grammar Prep. This is an advanced ensemble and a high standard of musicianship is required. The Ascham Grammar Ensemble participates in a chamber music weekend each year in April. The orchestra performs in concerts at both Ascham and Grammar Preparatory School throughout the year.

Year 3 String Ensemble: is an orchestra open to string players in Year 3 and is designed to develop basic ensemble skills. Entry is by audition and rehearsals take place on Thursday mornings during the Year 3 Music Program. Girls in this ensemble are welcome to audition for Corelli, Vivaldi and Kreisler Ensemble.

Brass and Woodwind

Fiona Training Band consists of girls who are beginners on their instruments. This group will rehearse one morning per week. 

Fiona Concert Band consists of girls who have been learning their 1-2 years. This group will rehearse one morning per week.

Fiona Wind Symphony consists of more advanced wind and brass players. This group will rehearse one morning per week.

Clarinet Choir is open to more advanced clarinet players by audition.

Flute Ensemble is open to more advanced flute players by audition.

Trombone Ensemble is open to more advanced trombone players by audition.

Percussion Ensemble is open to more advanced percussionists by audition.

Guitar Ensemble is open to more advanced guitar players by audition.

Choirs

In addition to our regular Grade Choirs, Fiona offers auditioned choirs which rehearse twice a week:

Larks: choristers are selected by audition, from girls in Years 3 and 4 who are competent singers and interested in singing in a choir. Girls are given the opportunity to widen their choral repertoire in various styles, while developing vocal technique, music reading and choral singing skills. Larks rehearse one morning before school and one lunchtime each week.

Nightingales: are selected by audition, from girls in Years 5 and 6 who are competent singers and interested in singing in a more advanced choir. Girls are given the opportunity to widen their choral repertoire in various styles, while developing vocal technique, music reading and choral singing skills. Nightingales rehearse one morning before school and one lunchtime each week.

Any enquiries regarding the Fiona Music Program should be directed to Mrs Jacqueline O’Connor on (02) 8356 7013.