Scone Grammar School's instrumental program a big hit with students

SCONE Grammar School's (SGS) instrumental program is a big hit with the students.

Every individual pupil learns a range of instruments from kindergarten through to Year 7 in their classrooms.

And, the benefits are endless.

Principal Paul Smart explained its importance within the SGS music curriculum.

"Experiential learning is a big focus of our Grammar Minds program," he said.

"As an example, resilience and co-operation are two groups of attributes we teach our students to help with their learning.

"These are easily learnt through our music program.

"We're also very focused on drawing out strengths in each, individual student, opening them up to new experiences and helping them to discover their own inspiration and capacity for learning.

"As a result of this, their confidence grows and so too, does their learning.

"Having the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music (UHCM) just down the road in Muswellbrook is of great benefit to our school.

"Not only are UCHM teachers teaching instruments to our classes, they also tutor individual students in instruments of their choice right here at school."

SGS Year 3 string musicians performed in a concert organised by the UHCM on Sunday, October 27.

It provided them with a great opportunity to play with other musicians in front of an audience.

Each Year 3 student at SGS learns either the violin or cello for the full year.

In 2020, the school will offer a semester of learning a string instrument and a semester of playing a woodwind instrument.

Years 5 and 6 pupils study the ukulele, Year 7 students are taught the guitar, and right from Kindergarten through to Year 2, the youngsters learn the Djembe drum and percussion to develop their appreciation of rhythm.

Gilian Miles, who is employed by the UHCM, teaches cello to Year 3 students at SGS and tutors individual pupils who choose to learn an instrument outside the classroom.

"In the earlier years, learning a string instrument helps to develop students' fine and gross motor co-ordination, creating new pathways between the hemispheres in their brain," she said.

"It also helps them learn to hear pitch and sounds produced by the musical notes they play.

"Music is a universally common language across the world and learning an instrument is a great opportunity for the students."

UHCM director Dr Wendy Brooks is thrilled with their SGS partnership.

"Learning to play an instrument potentially benefits children's physical, social and cognitive development," she said.

"The programs offered through SGS are a wonderful opportunity for all students.

"We're pleased that Scone Grammar is making the most of having the UHCM right here in the Upper Hunter.

"We have a huge depth of talent within our teaching staff at the UHCM, opening up many musical opportunities within the region.

"We also encourage and facilitate opportunities for our musical students to rehearse and perform together, bringing a strong sense of community."