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Student stories - Music

Music programme attracts top-name musicians

Our thriving school music programme is attracting some of the top names in the New Zealand music business.

Katchafire trombonist Jonathan Tan, renowned Kiwi composer and conductor David Hamilton, and Chelsea Prastiti, one of the best jazz vocalists in the country, are all itinerant tutors involved with our school’s Practical Based Learning Programme in Music (PBLP).

Other tutors on the programme are professional musicians with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.

The course is unique for its compulsory practical component – every student in Years 5-8 spends one hour per week learning an instrument of their choice. It was started around four years ago by our Performing Arts Curriculum Coordinator, Dr Julie Garner. A cellist with a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Michigan State University in the USA and a wealth of international experience, her experience and industry connections have fuelled the programme’s success.

“The tutors are elite musicians in New Zealand with amazing resumes,” explained Dr Garner. “We pack so much into that one hour per week that if we didn’t have such a high calibre of teachers, the programme simply wouldn’t work. We’ve seen incredible growth in co-curricular music participation thanks to the inspirational tutors.”

Although many of the programme’s students have the potential to have careers in the music industry – this isn’t the main aim of the programme, she explained.

“Music helps students to develop perseverance, resilience, discipline, problem-solving and teamwork skills – all vital for lifelong learning. We are training ours students to develop skills that will be important to them for rest of their lives.”