Music Programs

The Music Program at Fitzroy High School offers access to a broad spectrum of musical conventions and experiences. From Music Theory and the study of classical forms within the western music tradition, to improvisational explorations of jazz, funk and soul; from the crafted and considered aesthetics of pop & rock to the exciting electronic & digital innovations of 21st Century music technology.

There are a number of streams within the music program at Fitzroy High School. All students take part in classroom music sessions in Years 7-9. Students are also able to be involved in the instrumental music program. At present over one third of the students in the school are enrolled in this program. Students are also able to extend their music skills during Excel sessions. This may also include composition using computer software programs. Year 10 students are currently enrolled in the Music Industry Vocational Education and Training (VET) program. These streams in the younger years are pathways to VCE Music Performance and Music Styles and Composition that are currently offered.

At Fitzroy High School, the unique, diverse and dynamic student body is encouraged with inspiration and opportunity from a fantastically versatile and accomplished faculty of music educators. The Music Program faculty boasts staff that each in turn occupy a notable presence as recording & performing artists in their own right. The Instrumental Music teachers and Ensemble facilitators at Fitzroy High School are professional music practitioners with national & international touring credits who are able to communicate tangible and exciting artistic and performance opportunities to the student body by example.

The Faculty of Music is committed to musical growth and development via a succession of performance opportunities, both within the school (at Open Days, Assemblies, Graduations and Exhibition Evenings) and a Concert programme at established Music Venues in the local inner city vicinity. In recent years the Concert Programme has included concerts at venues such as The Spotted Mallard, The Melba Spiegeltent, 75 on Reid St and The Night Cat. These events are enormously popular with the school community and invariably sell out quickly.

The Music Program also offers access to accreditation from external examination bodies such as the AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) and the UK based ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music). These accreditations are recognised by universities nationally and internationally. Fitzroy High School has a fine record of successfully guiding candidates through the preparation and examination processes. Music Theory classes are offered independently of Instrumental lessons. These classes can incorporate enrolment in external theory examinations via AMEB and ABRSM. These classes are highly recommended for students in early and middle years considering doing VCE/VET Music Performance.

The Instrumental Program

The study of Music is far from limited to the singular trajectory of a career overtly targeting music creation and performance. There is an emerging & ever-increasing body of empirical evidence documenting the links between the study and practice of Music and cognitive, emotional and social development. Such research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music increases neural connections in the regions of the brain associated with creativity, decision making and complex memory, language and executive function, and may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once.

The study of Music offers avenues to improved focus and concentration, empathy and abstract thought, and the ability to stand behind one’s statements with confidence and conviction: benefits that the Music Faculty both acknowledge and endorse.

A wide range of contemporary and classical instruments available for tuition include:

Bass – [Double Bass, Electric Bass Guitar]

Brass – [Trumpet & Trombone]

Guitar – [Acoustic & Electric]

Keyboard – [Piano, Electric Keyboard, Piano Accordion]

Percussion – [Drum kit, Percussion]

Voice

Strings – [Cello, Violin, Mandolin, and Ukulele]

Woodwind – [Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone]


The Ensemble Program

In a very similar way to a successful sports team, Ensembles depend upon the continued contribution of all parts for the whole to operate at its highest capacity. All parts – even small parts – are vital to the performance apparatus as a whole. Students therefore are obligated to commit to participation in an Ensemble on a semester basis. All ensembles prepare repertoire that is a mix of material selected by students and facilitators alike.

Ensembles active & offered in 2019 include:

The Falconer St Band (Facilitator – Andy Williamson)

The Falconer St Band is a rollicking, rampaging juggernaut of bellicose big band blaring and street band strut. From ska & rocksteady to smouldering soul jazz, the Falconer St Band is home to many of Fitzroy High School’s woodwind and brass students.

Filharmonico (Facilitator – Esther Henderson)

Filharmonico takes the ensemble’s favourite tunes – from Josh Pyke to The Zombies to Studio Gibli repertoire – and arranges them to suit their musical needs. Learning new tunes by reading music and by ear, the Filharmonica write out charts of new tunes as a group. Students learn about pop song form (verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, double chorus, outro, fade out etc. etc.). Students own ideas are highly encouraged!

Guitar Ensemble (Facilitator – Nathan Slater)

Facilitator Nathan Slater brings his experience as one of Melbourne’s leading Flamenco guitar practitioners to the six string slingers of the Guitar Ensemble. From Baroque excursions to Broken Social Scene, the Guitar Ensemble ranges from Tangos to Toto, and is home to many of Fitzroy High School’s pickers and strummers. Windmill and kneeslide instruction available as an optional supplementary study.

Keyboard Ensemble aka the Casionovatone Cyborchestra Corporation fka Cats in Space (Facilitator – Matthew Hovell)

Keyboard Ensemble has historically been the location of many of the
Fitzroy High School Ensemble programme’s more mind bending and bewildering repertoire selections. A breathtaking balance of the bodacious and absurd, the Keyboard Ensemble repertoire span includes Lounge music from the Atomic Age, disco, power ballads, pop anthems and film & game themes, and is testament to the notion that the spectre of the 1980’s is never far from the shadowy recesses of the collective subconscious…

Percussion Ensemble (Facilitator – Julian Goyma)

The Percussion Ensemble has been a wildly exciting fixture of the Fitzroy High School Concert Programme for several years running. Facilitated by Julian Goyma, and exploring primarily the rich & dynamic heritage of the Brazilian Drumming tradition, the Percussion Ensemble consistently delivers show stopping performances. Headbands optional.

String Ensemble (Facilitator – Esther Henderson)

String ensemble takes favourite folk, jazz and pop songs, along with a few classical hits, and works out how best to make them work in the context of a small string ensemble. This means playing melody lines as well as bass lines, learning to read easy jazz charts, reading classical pieces, as well as listening to pop songs and figuring out parts as a group. Much fun is to be had!!

Vocal Group aka The Singing Nettles aka Local Vocals  (Facilitator – Emily Bennett)

The Fitzroy High School Vocal Group, affectionately known as the “Local Vocals,” is an ensemble dedicated the exploring the nuance and exhilarating power of the human voice through music as diverse as pop, rock, folk, RnB, Motown, soul and Gospel.

For all further enquiries, please contact the Music Coordinator at music@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au