Music program hits the right note

Published 9:00am 19 June 2024

Music program hits the right note
Words by Jodie Powell

Redcliffe State High School’s thriving music program is nurturing students with a series of initiatives aimed at fostering their creativity.

Among them are a Music Program of Excellence for those in Years 7-9, and biennial music camps and tours.

Teacher Nathan Falkenhagen says the camps give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in two days of workshops.

“Tours and camps are a very important part of the success of the music program as they ensure real goals are set for students and offer opportunities for students to work with professional musicians and other conductors,” Nathan says.

“The intensive focus lets the kids really get into the music mood and we get really good feedback about how good it is for bonding.”

Guest conductors

Music program hits the right note

This year’s camp was held in April, bringing together more than 70 performers across all year levels, supported by Head of Department Brylee Taylor and teachers Sam Denning, Natalie Porter, Emily Ashton, Louise Fraser and Nathan.

“We spend the whole time working on music in different ways, with guest conductors and tutors,” Nathan explains.

“One of them was Timo Jarvela, who writes a lot of the pieces the students play.

“It’s really exciting for them to meet the guy who writes the music and he’s a local composer who works at schools in the area, mostly with strings students.”

Euphonium soloist Fletcher Mitchell was also part of the 2024 music camp, working with students as a guest conductor and tutor to help the young musicians develop a big ensemble sound, while string orchestra conductor Emily Ashton was instrumental in fine-tuning the skills of strings performers.

Chance to perform

Music program hits the right note

“It’s also about team building and group building, because I think one of the most important things is having a close-knit social circle,” Nathan says.

“We spend so much time together it’s important to connect as a team.”

Nathan says the students also benefit from performing the pieces they finesse in rehearsals for an audience.

“We have some kind of event every week in term two, including our Reddy Showcase – it’s a great opportunity to perform in front of an audience.”

Hitting the road

Every second year Redcliffe State High School students go on tour, and have visited places including Sydney and Rockhampton, Canberra and Harvey Bay.

Nathan says the popular Music Program of Excellence increases engagement, with the goal of having students play right through to Year 12.

Last year 50 students auditioned in a bid to secure one of 25 places on offer.

“We want to increase retention we want them to enjoy playing,” Nathan says.

He says the school is also proud of its performers’ success in competitions such as that of the strings ensemble, which placed second in their division at last year’s Queensland Youth Music Awards.

"We're usually one of the only state schools that competes," Nathan says.

Find out more here.

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