Marryatville High School Special Interest Music Centre
Marryatville High School Special Interest Music Centre comprises a music program for the identified musically gifted, as well as a general music program embedded in a standard comprehensive high school. The Special Music Program is complemented by an elective music program, which is a full year single subject at years 8 to 10. 120 students gain entry via audition into the Special music program while another 350 students elect to study music as a full year subject. The extra curricular ensemble program involves even more students as it is open to any students within the school as well as students from neighbouring primary schools.
In the junior school curriculum all students play in an ensemble and sing in a choir. They also learn Applied Theory, Musicianship, Critical Listening Skills, Creative Skills and how to perform as a soloist. The use and incorporation of Music Technology is an integral part of the students' learning.
The Specialist program extends students in areas such as Creativity, Performance, Critical Listening Skills, Score Reading and Historical Studies.
Although the curriculum is driven by the South Australian Certificate of Education at the senior level, our courses offer maximum choice and opportunities for extension to all music students, because the school generated Year 11 program (3 discrete subjects) leads to all 8 units of study in Year 12. In addition to this class-based study every student in the music program learns a musical instrument either through the education department or privately.
Opportunities to perform are many and varied. Extra curricular ensembles are given opportunities to tour locally, interstate and overseas, exposing students to many culturally and personally enriching experiences.
In the past, the excellence of the music program has been recognised by such organizations as SA Great (winner Arts section) and The Australian School of the year (runner up). The CIS (Council of International Schools) judged the Music Faculty to be outstanding in its provision of general and specialist music education with a focus on Internationalism.
At MHS we monitor and evaluate our programs through listening to student and parent feedback, observing student outcomes and being aware of trends in pedagogy. We continually modify programs to suit student needs so that they remain engaged and inspired learners. For example, we noticed that we were losing entrance of students to the senior school. So some years ago we created a parallel year 11 course to cater for students with an interest in music from a musicological rather than purely theoretical and performance perspective. It also gave them opportunities to explore a wider range of music technology skills than those offered in the existing course. Another important factor to consider was the development of a course that catered for students who lacked confidence in some aspects of Applied Theory including higher level Aural and Theoretical skills.
We developed a course that taught students to learn about music and to perform and appreciate music in a historical context and to learn how to hear with a discerning ear. Music of the19th and 20th Centuries is studied from a historical and analytical point of view in the form of a chronology of Western music from the Romantic Era to the present day encompassing both 'Art' and popular music. There is a focus on General History, Musical history, Score Study and Aural analysis.
Student solo performances are integrated into this structure by choosing pieces from the eras being studied. These are presented in a concert format with a printed program of scholarly notes about the music and performer biographies. Students are taught to write short appropriate biographies of composers as well as their own autobiographies for self-promotion.
The third component of the course uses Technology to aid student research and learning. Students are taught to research World Music using the Web and then to create and publish their own web pages including audio-visual examples. Students learn to compose a piece of music using sound manipulation software and gain skills in sound reinforcement and sound recording. The Concert Management assignment teaches students to devise and develop a concert from start to finish. They engage performers, book venues, promote, advertise and manage the concert, research legal issues to do with royalties and permissions, record the concert, publish the recording to CD with appropriate art work.
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