Music in Fiona

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.

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.

    Enquiries

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