The Music Stream at The McDonald College is unique as it offers two hours per day of training in the art of performance within the normal school curriculum. The programme is designed to be accessible to all students regardless of their chosen style, e.g. Contemporary, Jazz or Classical Vocal or Classical Instrumental.
Learning experiences in performing, performance techniques, composition techniques and styles, musicianship and analysis, aim to heighten student awareness and assist in the development of the complete musician.
The Music Stream consists of 4 core days where students work towards achieving specified performance outcomes in relation to Music. These number 30 over the school year. Performance is valued as the culminating musical experience of the educational process engaged within the teaching and learning environment. The Elective day is designed for students from all streams to experience another art form that interests them. Music students may choose to remain in the Music Stream on elective days, but are encouraged to broaden their education by choosing a class in another performance discipline. The Music Stream elective is Composition. In any of the Elective or Core Performance Days, students may have access to choreographers, directors or specialist musicians brought in to supplement the programme, as the need should arise.
The Music Stream programme works alongside the Academic Music programme and can support students who wish to study Music for the School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate, particularly in the area of performance. Refer to Academic Studies for details of HSC Music. All academic music students attend the Meet the Music Concert Series at the Opera House as part of their extended listening.
Each year the Music Stream Staff assist students in the recording of 3 CDs of their own original works, i.e. Music Stream Live; Music Stream Double CD; and the Christmas CD. Specialists in the area of Music production and composition teach students the process involved in writing original work and how the recording process works. These recordings are made in the College’s digital recording studio located within the Music Department.
The Music Stream students gain performance experience by performing on many occasions throughout the year. These include Graduation Ball, showcase concerts, open days, fairs, studio recitals, lunch-time concerts, CD launches, various competitions, the City of Sydney Eisteddfod, corporate functions and the Music Stream’s Annual Gala Performance held in the City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney or at NIDA.
Students in the Primary School experience the Music Stream by becoming involved in a Primary Orchestra, which, under the direction of a Primary Music Specialist, offers our students the opportunity to extend their skills learnt as part of the Primary Orchestral Instrument Programme, which operates from Year 3 to Year 6. Instruments offered include: Violin, Cello, Flute, Trumpet, Trombone, Clarinet, Saxophone and Percussion. Students are invited to perform at such functions as the Open Days at the College, Grandparents’ days, the Annual Music Gala, Primary Speech Day, the City of Sydney Eisteddfod and numerous other corporate events.
Students who would prefer a more traditional approach to Music performance can hone their skill as part of the Classical Music programme in the secondary school. Performances are held regularly in our Recital Room that houses a full size Yamaha Grand Piano.
A popular area in the Music Stream is the provision for Contemporary singers and musicians. This style of performance is strongly supported at the College. Jazz and rock bands develop within different year groups and play a large part in the life of the Music Stream, engaged in by both classical and non-classical players and singers alike.
On occasion, industry professionals are invited to give workshops to our students. Some of these have included: Tim Draxl (solo recording artist); Amelia Cormack (Priscilla Queen of the Desert); Gil Sullivan (International Pianist and Lecture at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide); Jenny Eriksson and Chris Berensen (Gamba and Harpsichord); Alex Pozniak (Chronology Arts – Composer); and Taryn Fiebig (Soprano with Opera Australia). Events such as these prove to be very successful and provide an excellent learning experience for the students.
To support the Academic and Performing Arts programmes students may arrange for individual lessons in all instruments as well as contemporary or classical voice. These lessons are provided through the McDonald Performing Arts College by peripatetic staff, sourced from a pool of Music industry professionals. Students within this programme are given opportunities to display their individual skills at concerts throughout the year.