Instrumental Music News

Staff and Student duets

On Monday 10 October, the School held the annual Staff-Student Duet competition. It was a fun-filled, talent-packed event that displayed the awesome power the Arts have in drawing together the School body. Some may not be aware that our amazing Instrumental Music Administration Officer is a fabulous singer. Mrs Talluah Harper sang Adele’s Chasing Pavements with Scarlett McLellan (12H). Their performance was met with rapturous applause. We congratulate Mrs Harper and Scarlett and all the participants on the day for their incredible performances.

MSG News

Our AGM is approaching on 10 November, and we are looking for a few more people to join our committee for 2023. Being on the MSG committee is a great way for parents to get involved with the Music Department, as we work closely with the staff to assist them in whatever way we can. Your commitment will be two meetings per term, along with representing the MSG at events when you are able to. While most of our committee is continuing next year, we are specifically seeking a Treasurer. This role is not an onerous one, as our accounts are managed by the School. If you are interested in any MSG role, please contact us via email at

As we will be providing wine and cheese at the AGM, please register your attendance via this link.

We are looking forward to several Term 4 events, including:

  • Spring Concerts on 31 October (Band) and 8 November (Strings)—we will need a number of volunteers to cater for these large events, and sign-up links will be sent with the event memos shortly
  • AGM—10 November at 6 pm
  • Carols—28 November.

Our wonderful MSG volunteers staffing the barbeque

Talent search

We are looking for talented students who may have an interest in playing, or finding out more about, one of the more important and rare instruments. We are specifically looking for students who may be interested in discovering more about the Tuba, Double Bass, Viola, or Euphonium. Maybe you are currently playing another instrument and want to accelerate your way through our ensemble structure by playing one of these rarer instruments. Perhaps you’re a Trumpet player with braces and would like a similar instrument that is less taxing on the embouchure. Or maybe you just want to be like the cool kids and play an instrument that few others can.

Whatever your reasoning, we would love to meet you to talk through it all. Please see Ms Porter, Mr Zorzetto, or Mr Johnston to find out more.

Jessica Allinson (7B) performing on the Euphonium

Dorothy Rae (10G) with Mrs Kerry Nian rehearsing on the Tuba

Year 12 farewell

Each year, we say thank you and bid a fond farewell to our Year 12 Instrumental Music students in a special evening celebration at BGGS. On Tuesday this week, we had the opportunity to extend our deep gratitude and best wishes to our wonderful 2022 Year 12 girls. It is a bitter-sweet moment when we look across the room at all the students who have made such a long and lasting commitment to their music education at BGGS. The evening was full of reflection, pride, and deep gratitude. Our 2022 Music Captains paid respect to their teachers, supporters, families, and student peers. We hope that all our Year 12 students and their families enjoyed the evening of reflection and celebration. We thank our Music Support Group (MSG) for their support of this event and hope you enjoy some of the photos from the evening.

Big Band and Chamber Singers under the careful direction of Ms Ashleigh Porter

Chamber Singers singing ‘Lean on Me’, arranged and directed by Ms Clare Finlayson

Big Band and Chamber Singers performing ‘Moon River’

Maxine Gamer (12G) singing solo with Chamber Singers

Director of Instrumental Music, Mrs Laurinda Davidson, delivering her thoughts and reflections at the Year 12 Music Farewell

Music Captains, Sally Grice (12E), Maddy Khoo (12E), and Pascal Green (12G), cutting the Year 12 music cake

The graduating class of Year 12 Instrumental Music students for 2022

From the teaching studio

Earlier in the week, we encountered one of Mrs Helen Sharp’s Chamber Music lessons with Ellen Baek (10E), Carol Chen (10O), and Stephanie Bird (10H). We spoke with the students about their involvement in the Chamber Music program at BGGS.

It is wonderful hearing this combination of instruments. Tell us what is so unique about Chamber Music for you.

Ellen—‘Chamber Music is unique in that you have the opportunity to play with different instruments. Usually, in orchestra, I only play with other string instruments and some band instruments in Symphony Orchestra. Aside from playing with an accompanist, I rarely have the opportunity to play with a pianist at school, especially in a small group setting, which makes playing in my quartet more enjoyable and it’s a great way to meet new people.’

Carol—‘I believe Chamber Music opens up an expansive variety of wonderful repertoire to study in smaller but diverse groups. It is certainly a passion shared between musicians where different musical personalities are showcased. All in all, Chamber Music is a fantastic way to enjoy music while spending time with friends!’

Stephanie—‘I find Chamber Music to be an amazing experience being in a small group of people who have the same interest as me. It is really special to me because it’s a way to connect with my peers while also improving my musicality. Having a piano in our group also makes us really unique’.

What skills do you feel you improve in Chamber Music that contribute to your overall musicianship?

Ellen—‘Chamber Music groups are very small, with about three or four (or sometimes only two) people in a group. It’s naturally more challenging to play in tune with a smaller group of people since it’s really obvious when someone is out of tune, so I have naturally adapted and learned how to match my pitch with my group members.’

Carol—‘Playing Chamber Music encourages me to contribute fully as a musician. It requires me to come to lessons with a thorough understanding of repertoire as well as a strong sense of musicality. Collaboration, leadership, and responsibility are a few skills that I have continued to develop in this program’.

Stephanie—‘I have definitely improved my ability to connect with others while I play. This has helped me a lot when playing in an orchestra because it builds the habit of being aware of other players around me’.

What do you enjoy most about performing with your friends in a music ensemble?

Ellen—‘It’s always rewarding to be able to perform, but performing with my friends is more enjoyable for me since I’m not alone and can rely on my group members for support when I’m feeling nervous. Also, Chamber Music groups play at some School functions. My quartet performed at this year’s Mother and Daughter Dinner, and it felt like we had been hired like a professional music group to play at an event. Being able to experience this was truly a gift’.

Carol—‘I enjoy hearing the union of instruments: Violin; Cello; Double Bass; and Piano. In addition, performing in a music ensemble has helped strengthen my relationship with my friends as we share the same passion—music!’

Stephanie—‘Being able to build a connection with the people that I play with, even if it is once a week, is something that I am very grateful for. It creates memories that I will hold on to and value forever’.

Mrs Sharp also kindly offered us some of her thoughts about the Instrumental Music program and what it means to her.

In your time teaching at BGGS, what is the most positive evolution of the Instrumental Music program that you have witnessed?

Mrs Sharp—‘The Co-curricular Music program at BGGS is a dynamic and growing program. It is exciting to see how our school embraces music and acknowledges the importance of co-curricular music in education’.

What do you find the most enjoyable aspect of your teaching/conducting role at BGGS?

Mrs Sharp—‘Personally, the Chamber Music program is a real treasure, something few other schools have the opportunity to experience. If you think of Instrumental Music learning as a triangle, one side is small group/individual lessons, mostly consisting of single-line music. The second side of the triangle, students join together to play multi harmonies in orchestral and band, extending our aural training. The third side of the triangle, the side that holds hands with the other two, forming a strong bond of learning, is Chamber Music. Chamber Music develops independence, as there is only one player per part, unlike orchestra where there can be 10 or more players. Chamber Music encourages students to take previous learning and apply it to new music. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas on performance interpretation, and together as a group, create new and exciting presentations. This is higher-order thinking. The girls arrive at BGGS, sometimes as shy, new music students, and develop into deep thinkers, creative thinkers, and even more exciting, exceptional composers and musicians. Walking beside and guiding our students on their musical journey is rewarding.

‘Our incredible CLC building was also a dynamic lift to the music program—how amazing to have such a wonderful place to learn, create and perform music’.

If you could impart one enduring piece of musical advice to all of your students who participate in the Strings program at BGGS, what would it be?

Mrs Sharp—‘Embrace the musical experiences our School has to offer. In years to come, you will look back and remember with fondness the rich learning opportunities you were given at BGGS—our School is quite remarkable’.

Mrs Helen Sharp warming-up with Ellen Baek (10E), Carol Chen (10O), and Stephanie Bird (10H)

Looking Ahead

  • BGS Sing and Swing—Sunday 16 October
  • New Year 7 Auditions—Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October
  • Band Spring Concerts—Monday 31 October
  • Band Performance Weeks (Auditions)—Week 5 and Week 6
  • Strings Spring Concert—Tuesday 8 November
  • Music Support Group AGM—Thursday 10 November