If you’re at Northside Christian College one lunchtime you might hear some cool jazz or big band tunes drifting across the playground.
That’s because with around 100 students at Northside currently learning an instrument and many of them in ensembles, the rehearsal rooms are always buzzing.
Victor has been playing piano since Prep, but he picked up the trumpet this year as part of the Northside Year 6 Band Program. He’s now playing in the Primary School Band and a Jazz extension group.
“It’s fun to make music. I like jazz music, but it’s also about having fun with my friends and you can learn lots of different types of music, like concert band music is different to jazz music,” he explains.
Why is music at the heart of learning at Northside Christian College and why are we investing in our music programs into the future?
Music is a powerful way for students to express themselves and use their gifts and worship the Lord, but we also know there are also numerous academic, social and emotional benefits to playing an instrument.
Studies in neuroscience show that playing music, singing or simply listening to music can form new neural connections in growing brains, and enhance many other aspects of children’s lives and learning including:
Andrew Horneman, Music Co-ordinator at Northside Christian College says studies have also shown playing music in a group particularly boosts students’ social and emotional learning.
“To perform in a music group requires discipline, listening and a lot of ‘soft skills’, like collaboration and teamwork. These are skills that then flow over into other academic subjects. It also has a really positive effect on the brain, particularly for young learners.”
It’s why at Northside Chrisitan College we have a compulsory String Program in Year 3 and in Year 6 students must choose an instrument to learn and perform in a band.
These experiences help students to learn it’s okay to make mistakes, to develop resilience and share failures and successes with one another.
Mr Horneman says being in an ensemble is like a microcosm of existing in society: you play your part and you learn to give and take, to reflect, to grow, to work towards a goal and to support one another.
“Being in an ensemble also means students have a place where they can belong at school.”
Music is a hugely important part of the curriculum at Northside Christian College, and we’re always looking for ways to integrate music into school life. From our compulsory strings program in Year 3 to our Year 6 Band program where students enjoy the opportunity to learn an instrument and perform as a group, we’ve deliberately strengthened our instrumental music program over the years.
Year 10 student Sarah had never learned an instrument before she started learning the Alto Sax as part of the Northside Year 6 Band program.
“I was really excited. I hadn’t been exposed to sheet music before. It was a journey learning to read it and mastering the fingering.”
Sarah found playing the saxophone was a great way to spend time during the pandemic when she was in lockdown doing home learning.
“I really picked up practising over lockdown because I had more time. I got to practise during the day and I have an older brother who I could practise with. It’s been an outlet for me.”
Sarah is part of the Secondary School jazz band, and says she’s looking forward to continuing playing alto saxophone into the future.
“The music program is fun and I enjoy getting to play with other people and hearing the song coming together as a group.”
We look forward to expanding music as an elective next year for Year 9 and 10 students, and continuing to grow the music program at Northside Christian College.
Northside Christian College
31 McLeans Rd, Bundoora VIC 3083, Australia
Phone: 03 9467 2499